The Pantomime of Spirits
Here, this separation is explicitly removed. Klossowski’s entire œuvre revolved around the concept of the gaze. Rarely has the gaze been so radically interpreted – as an active, mobile, evanescent object that breaks down the connections between representation and the visible. How is one to see the invisible divinity? This question plagued Klossowski, and he displaced it onto pornographic rituals. The pantomime of spirits is the scene, fixed in silence, where bodies meet – a knotting of desiring body and dogmatic theology. A creator of simulacra, Klossowski attempted to exorcise the ‘obsessive constraint of the phantasm’ that subjugated him in all these scenes.
Translated from the French by Adrian Price in collaboration with Pamela King.
Body, Currency, Utopia
La Monnaie Vivante [Living Currency]1, published in December 1970, develops the principal theses put forward in the Art and Text article ‘The Phantasms of Perversion, Sade and Fourier’. The numerous commentaries on ‘the semiotics of impulses’, previously seen in Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, are here fully established, and shown to be implemented by the insane philosopher in both his physical and mental life. Along with this theoretical aspect, the work proposes the construction of a counter-utopia whose name becomes the book’s title. Living Currency is an invented (and ideal) society where the present-day economy of needs is replaced by a Brownian circulation of emotional impulses freed from their straightjacket, and ordered into diverse unities: the ego, rational and logical language, market structures, and so on. It would be naïve to give credence to this counter-utopia, as if it were something that could be brought about in a not so distant future. Living Currency uses irony, semblance, the as if, and provocation in a parody of the classic utopian text. In spite of this, it is not a vain text to be simply filed away as one of the author’s amusements. On the contrary, this essay, which is frequently cited though seldom commented on at the level of its demonstrations and conceptual articulations, is to be taken seriously – to the letter.
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From the moment it first appeared, the text produced a good many effects on some of its readers. Michel...
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