Issue 11: If X, then Y, A Pure Condition: Proposals and Rehearsals (re: construction, enactment, invention)
"Lenin felt obliged to write: 'Theory is all-powerful because it is true'.[...] But once again, this is merely the half of it. We must add, 'Theory is powerless because it is true'."
"What I'm trying to pick out with this term (dispositif) is, firstly, a thoroughly heterogenous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions–in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements."
"If X, then Y, where X is cause of Y"
A proposal is a mechanism that has no necessity of realisation beyond its point of view. A proposal is, however, 'good', or affirmative, and argued theoretically in the terms of its desire, purely as invention; describing an impossibility: an oblique, unfamiliar yet precise method of construction, and enactment, anticipating an imagined restitution or deferred state of arrival, nor one that unconditionally 'fills the void'. Something however does emerge from between what has been thought and unthought, said and unsaid. A poetic device or dispositif. The device is powerless, (undecideable and indiscernible), in that it disavows empirical demonstration of the object as thing; has no interest in the production of ascertainable scientific, aesthetic, or political outcomes outside of cold hypothesis. This non-relation itself subtracts a conditional politics, suggestive of Foucault's, distanced from the sophistry of relations, to the imperative of philosophy's 'void'; neither utopian wish, nor desire for the object of reflexive achievement (in satisfying a proof, vetting authorisation vis-a-vis authorship) to proclaim truth as 'the once and for all'); yet real as a true proposition of its singularity--- a new metaphor, cold and pure --- of which the 'unnameable' is its emblem.
(see Alain Badiou, Conditions, (Continuum, 2008), p.53).
Dispositif is a French word, meaning device. The three terms are analogous in the French to English translations of Foucault's work. Foucault uses the term in his 1977 The Confession of the Flesh (Les aveux de la chair) interview, where he answers the question, 'What is the meaning or methodological function for you of this term, apparatus (dispositif)?' thusly: 'What I'm trying to pick out with this term is, firstly, a thoroughly heterogenous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions–in short, the said as much as the unsaid. Such are the elements of the apparatus. The apparatus itself is the system of relations that can be established between these elements.' Delivered at the Collège de France between January and March 1980, the lectures entitled On the Government of the Living (Du gouvernement des vivants) seem to be the missing piece in the Foucauldian puzzle. Still unpublished, those eleven lectures were intended to set the theoretical foundation for the book announced as the fourth and last volume of the History of Sexuality, under the title Confessions of the Flesh (Les aveux de la chair). This book, however, was never published, despite the fact that his editor described it as the keystone for the entire History of Sexuality. German linguist Siegfried Jäger defines Foucault's dispositif as 'the interaction of discursive behavior (i. e. speech and thoughts based upon a shared knowledge pool), non-discursive behavior (i. e. acts based upon knowledge), and manifestations of knowledge by means of acts or behaviors [...]. Dispositifs can thus be imagined as a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk, the complexly interwoven and integrated dispositifs add up in their entirety to a dispositif of all society.' See also Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume 1: An Introduction. (New York: Vintage Books, 1990).
Extract taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dispositif