10/11/2016

Jacques Rancière: Dissensus (Bloomsbury 2015)

Side 149:

Within any given framework, artists are those whose strategies aim to change the aim, speeds and scales according to which we perceive the visible, and combine it with a specific invisible element and a specific meaning. Such strategies are intended to make the invisible visible or to question the self-evidence of the visible; to rupture given relations  between things and meanings and, inversely, to invent novel relations between things and meanings that were precisely unrelated. This might be called the labor of fiction, which, in my view, is a word  we need to re-conceive. 'Fiction', as re-framed by the aesthetic regime of art, means far more than the construction of an imaginary world, and even far more than its Aristotelian sense as 'arrangement of actions'. It is not a term that designates the imaginary as opposed to the real;  it involves the re-framing of the real, or the framing of a dissensus. Fiction is a way of changing existing modes of sensory presentations and forms of enunciation; of varying frames, scales and rhythms; and of building new relationships between reality and appearance, the individual and the collective.

Side 156:

There is no 'real world' that functions as the outside of art. Instead, there is a multiplicity of folds in the sensory fabric of the common, folds in which inside and outside take on a multiplicity of shifting forms, in which the topography of what is 'in' and what is 'out' are continually criss-crossed and displaced by the aesthetics of politics and the politics of aesthetics. There is no 'real world'. Instead, there are definite configurations of what is given as our real, as the object of our perceptions and the field of our interventions. The real always is a matter of construction, a matter of 'fiction', in the sense that I tried to define above. What characterizes the mainstream fiction of the police order is that it passes itself off as the real, that it feigns to cut a clear-cut line between what belongs to the self-evidence of the real and what belongs to the field of appearances, representations, opinions and utopias. Consensus means precisely that the sensory is given as univocal. Political and artistic fictions introduce dissensus by hollowing out that 'real' and multiplying it in a polemical way. The practice of fiction undoes, and then re-articulates the connections between signs and images, images and times, and signs and spaces, framing a given sense of reality, a given 'commonsense'. It is a practice that invents new trajectories between what can be seen, what can be said and what can be done.