The problem of evil; a politics of the aesthetic?

Peter Lewis

Artistic practices, the forms of visibility that disclose their subject, the place they occupy,[the ways of making and doing that may intervene in a general community's distribution], exist now at a time of permanent war and its media representation. The emancipatory relationships art maintains to modes of being and forms of visibility are at stake, in the time of postmodern 'post-politics' and iconophilic excess. Accompanied by the feverish fascination with 'evil', what has opened up is a new field involving an even stronger negation of a political truth in the name of 'humanitarian' ethics.

What are the implications of the quotations below for suggesting the intelligibility and/or questionability of the politics of aesthetic practices?

'Along with 'the just war' predictably comes the allied concept of 'evil', posing the enemy and the struggle against it as absolute and thus outside politics; evil is the enemy of humanity (the category of a crime against humanity which has in effect been transformed from an element from the Geneva Convention into a global penal code is perhaps the legal concept that most clearly makes concrete this notion of evil). Postmodern mystifications about justice and evil in war have very real effects.'

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, from 'Multitude'

'The Otherness excluded from the consensual domain of tolerant /rational /post-political negotiation and administration returns in the guise of inexplicable pure Evil.'

Slavoj Zizek, Afterword, from Jacques Ranciere, The Politics of Aesthetics

The whole ethical predication based upon recognition of the other must purely and simply be abandoned.

Alain Badiou, from '19 Responses'

'There is an 'aesthetics' at the core of politics that has nothing to do with Benjamin's discussion of the 'aesthetisation of politics' specific to the 'age of the masses'. This aesthetics should not be understood as the perverse commandeering of politics by a will to art.[...] Aesthetics can be understood [in the Kantian sense, re-examined perhaps by Foucault] as the system of a priori forms determining what presents itself to sense-experience. It is the delimitation of spaces and times, of the visible and invisible, of speech and noise, that simultaneously determines the place and the stakes of politics as a form of experience. Politics revolves around what is seen and what can be said about it. [..] Artistic practices are 'ways of doing and making'.

Jacques Ranciere, from 'The Politics of Aesthetics'

'The singularity of art enters into an interminable contradiction due to the fact that the aesthetic regime also calls into question the very distinction between art and other activities. Strictly speaking the egalitarian regime of the sensible can only isolate art's specificity at the expense of losing it.

Jacques Ranciere, from 'The Politics of Aesthetics'

Is it possible, from any given point, to try to reconstruct the conceptual network that makes it possible to conceive of a statement, that causes a painting, or a piece of music to make an impression, that causes reality to appear transformable or inalterable?