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Making Sense

For an Effective Aesthetics- Includes an original essay by Jean-Luc Nancy


Edited By Lorna Collins and Elizabeth Rush

This volume of texts and images has evolved from papers given at the inaugural Making Sense colloquium, which was held at the University of Cambridge in September 2009. The chapters collected here reflect the multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary sense made at this event, which became something of an artistic installation in itself. The essay ‘Making Sense’ by Jean-Luc Nancy provided the grand finale for the colloquium and is also the culmination of the volume. The collection also includes articles that expound and critique Nancean theory, as well as those that provide challenging manifestos or question the divide between artist and artisan. The volume contrasts works that use texts to make sense of the world with performance pieces that question the sense of theory and seek to make sense through craft, plastic art or painting. By juxtaposing works of pure theory with pieces that incorporate poetry, prose and performance, the book presents the reader with a distillation of the creative act.


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Acknowledgements ix


Acknowledgements The editors are honoured and delighted to be able to host Jean-Luc Nancy’s previously unpublished essay, ‘Making Sense’, within this book. Nancy’s work is an openhanded endowment to the project of exploring sense across the full spectrum of its significations. His thought calls upon academics and artists to re-envision – creatively, and collaboratively – the systems of mean- ing and range of experiences that inform our notions of community. The contributors to this book have risen to Nancy’s challenge. We thank them for refusing the identity politics of schism, for speaking together, rather than as two camps, and for agreeing to share the fruits of their discussion with a wider public. In ref lecting on how to properly acknowledge the work of so many individuals towards the material production of this book, it has become clear to us that it has generated its own set of – to borrow from a Deleuzian view of sense mobilized in some of the essays – ‘rhizomatic’ con- nections. Emma Wilson championed our colloquium within the Department of French at the University of Cambridge, and made it possible for us to host it there. Her contribution resonates, however, in both the background and the foreground of this book; we cannot thank her enough for her lucid and beautiful translation of Nancy’s essay, which is included in this volume. Bill Burgwinkle, Head of the Department of French and fellow at King’s College, Cambridge, supported our petition for funding through both channels. We are deeply grateful to him for...

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