Friday, May 7, 2010

Philosophy (Ontology) & Aesthetics

Artists are no less concerned with the 'real' than philosophers. The moment you concern yourself with artifice... you are ensnared in the problematics of the "real."

From Levi Bryant's post on Larval Subjects:

There is a constitutive difference in love making as it characterizes the one-night stand, prostitution, or pornography, and love-making among lovers. If there is something an-ontological in pornography, then this is because it seeks the reduction of the object of desire to sensuous objects and sensuous qualities. The pornographic seeks to abolish, eradicate, destroy the domain of the real, or the excess of real objects over all of their sensuous manifestations. It dreams of a world fully deployed before the gaze where there is no remainder, excess, or withdrawal beyond any recuperation in sensuous manifestations. The love-making of lovers, by contrast, is a sort of painful suffering of this split between sensuous manifestation and withdrawn real object.

It is not pleasure– the domain of the consumption of sensuous qualities –but rather jouissance, or the enjoyment of this split and the painful futility that senses this beyond of the real beloved yet is never able to grasp it. As the bodies of lovers desperately grasp one another, the desperation of their embrace is borne of this beyond, trying to reach this beyond of the real behind the sensuous, yet without ever being able to do so. This is why the love making of lovers oscillates between aggressivity where it is almost as if there is a desire to rip the other apart to find within them this withdrawn real object and the tender as if the real, due to its fragility, its perpetual precariousness of disappearing behind sensuous qualities and objects, must be delicately cared for to be sustained if only in its glance"

My question in a COMMENT to this post.

Please read the rest of this post--particularly on metaphor--the aesthetic undoing of the sensuous gaze...

Given the centrality of the problematics of mimesis in aesthetic theory going back to Plato –defining that difference would seem to be of more than incidental interest to both. Are not aesthetics and ontology pursuing the same questions... in a different register? Just look at the review that follows this post: The City Real and Imagined!


  1. Jacob,
    I would post this directly on Larval Subjects but I'd rather not risk another tawdry misunderstanding there. I don't even think Levi needs to hear what I'm about to say. It's more for his students that I think it would be of utility for someone (YOU) to leave a comment there advising him that this is some his most ardent and therefore accessible writing ever. He should line it up to his gonads whenever possible until further notice.

  2. I thought this a great post too...but how does one line something up to one's gonads?

  3. In this case maybe with a Bar Lev line?