For an Effective Aesthetics- Includes an original essay by Jean-Luc Nancy
Edited By Lorna Collins and Elizabeth Rush
Part 2 Manifestos 49
PART 2 Manifestos CHRISTOPHER WATKIN Making Ethical Sense My intention for the short chapter is that it be a collaborative venture. I will brief ly stake out a position on sense and ethics in relation to Jean-Luc Nancy, and then pose a set of questions to which I do not have the answer, in the hope that I can generate the beginnings of a discussion. The position I want to stake out is this: that Nancean sense-making brings with it an ineluctable ethical dimension. And the question I want to pose to you is: what implica- tions might this have for an artist, sculptor, or filmmaker who is seeking to take Nancy’s thinking into account? Does Art have a Justification? What is the ‘justification’ of art? If there is such a thing, is it ‘ethical’? No doubt this question will raise conf licting responses. Some may hold a position like the following: art can only be free if there is no ethics of art production! Ethical or political art soon becomes propaganda; the spectacle of the literary trial is obnoxious, and trying to shoehorn artistic production into an ethical matrix is as dangerous as it is futile. Others, perhaps, would say: art without any ethical import is speaking in a vacuum! It is decadent, self-indulgent, self-deluded, self-defeating. But in the ‘Ouverture’ in La Déclosion, Nancy splits the horns of this dilemma: Ce n’est pas un hasard si celui-ci [l’art] ne se trouve plus aujourd’hui, le plus souvent, d’autre l...
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