[artinfo] A Conversation with Sylvere Lotringer

Art&Education edu-news at mailer.e-flux.com
Sun Nov 1 10:29:11 CET 2015

"Resisting No Matter What."

Philosopher Sylvere Lotringer talks with Jason 
Hoelscher about networks of networks, art worlds, 
meaning, and whether resistance is still possible.

Sylvere Lotringer is Professor Emeritus at 
Columbia University, and Professor of 
Ethico-Aesthetics at the Institute for Doctoral 
Studies in the Visual Arts. Founder of 
Semiotext(e) and organizer of the seminal 
Schizo-Culture Conference that introduced French 
theory to the United States, Lotringer divides 
his time between Baja California and New York 

Jason Hoelscher: Over the last few days, I've 
been looking over some of your writings, and a 
thought stuck out that I'd like to get some more 
input on. Paraphrasing, you stated that 
contemporary culture is a capitalist Möbius 
strip. There is no longer another side to it. To 
start off, I was wondering if you could elaborate 
on that idea.

Sylvere Lotringer: We live in a world in which 
everything is constantly evolving and revolving, 
everything circulating through networks which 
instantly communicate with myriads of other 
networks. So it is very important to understand 
how the entire system works, and how it 
represents itself. Outwardly, it appears as a 
decentralized system, a global rhizome moving 
with near speed of light, a complex semiosphere 
without inside or outside, which keeps reversing 
itself seamlessly. This system is all the more 
imperceptible as it circulates everywhere. It 
blocks the horizon, and we don't have enough 
distance to identify it for what it is. And yet, 
looking at it from closer up, we may perceive the 
main structures of this dizzying technological 
maze. It is powered by banks and international 
corporations that operate with near autonomy, 
according to some quasi-automatic strategies. So 
the image of the rhizome appears overall 
adequate, but the intricate systems of command 
are still prevalent, and it just takes something 
unexpected-a financial crash, terrorist attack-to 
reveal the way they operate and what they really 
are about.



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