DIONYSUS: EMBLEMATIC FIGURE OF POSTMODERNISM
Michel MAFFESOLI is Professor of sociology at the Sorbonne and member of the University Institute of France. Director of the Centre for Research on the Imaginary (CRI) at the House of the Human Sciences (France), of the Centre for Studies on the Current and the Daily (CEAQ), of the review Societies and of the – European – Cahiers of the Imaginary that he created with Gilbert Durand in 1988, Vice-President of the International Institute of Sociology, CNRS administrator, he has been visiting professor in several countries of the world and has published numerous works including « Logic of domination ».PUF, 1976; « The contemplation of the world », Pocket book Ed., 1996, « Eloge de la raison sensible », « The re-enchantment of the world », Roundtable Ed., 1996, 2004; « Iconologies. Our postmodern idol@tries », Albin Michel Ed., 2008 or « Shadow of Dionysus, contribution to a sociology of the orgy » published in paperback in 1991 and reissued by CNRS editions in 2010. It is precisely about this subject that he speaks to us here. A subject perfectly summarizing the Michel Maffesoli’s approach which goes to the heart of postmodernism within the Dionysian symbolism, which directly enters in the mysteries of the present, which finally opens us to the tribal languages, the cultures structural instabilities and sociological diversity. And indeed, all in the emblematic figure of Dionysus is that movement: movement of the body, imaginary movement, apocalyptic movement, mystical movement. Everything brings back us to the central issue of the « rhythm of life », its original pulse, to its course, its nonchalance, to a saving « ecosophical » mutation to the sensitive world, a human mutation not refuting more our anima, issuing a real « social erotism » in the footsteps of Neurosciences with emotions, finally going to an assumption of “animal like” affects which can mimick paganism and its criminal effects or be confined to the ultimate… Thus, the frame of Dionysus Maffesoli launched there more than 30 years ago is on the front of the stage. In fact, this frame never left him, because it is eminently post-modern, it enrolled in a passionate continuity of the present time and to live, of the full time of enjoyment and of the time lost « of the social pact ». « We understand what happens only if weknow what is maiden »: thus begins the paper of the author, setting the tone for what will follow: the role of orgos (the Insider), the orgé (passion) and the orgy in societies. Soon, entering the heart of the matter, a incisor critique of the consumerism as done by Jean Baudrillard, of social violence, irreparable destruction it engenders, and the solution he advocated: « Make his life a work of art ». It’s nothing less than a mythology of modern times. A mythology to live, like Scholastics and the Renaissance do it, to the particular intention of hedonists and the young generations: “Prometheus gives way to Dionysus”. And it is to us that Michel Maffesoli addresses, so that such a transmutation occurs, so that the ego cogito gradually lets place to the ego affectus. We are his grateful witnesses.
SOME WRTITINGS OF YVES BONNEFOY IN THE MIRROR OF PSYCHOANALYSIS
Claude BERNIOLLES is poet and philosopher. Graduated in law, he followed assiduously courses and seminars of the College de France given by Yves Bonnefoy and Jacques Bouveresse that he distilled in his work of literary research, and especially for our journal since 2010. After have delivered us his thoughts about Wittgenstein (PLASTIR n° 20, 23 & 25), he speaks here of Bonnefoy from an original perspective: his relations with the unconscious and the arts – painting in particular – or, as the author says it, « his wild psychoanalysis ». In fact, the work of Yves Bonnefoy is since L’Arrière-Pays haunted by the spectre of Poussin, Pierro della Francesca or Giacometti. It is feeding and propelling him. It does go still further in the injunction, in the analysis, in his poetic quest of places and of « invisible objects. » And the author to precisely show that to us through his Italy travel notes: sublimation of the eternal life, semiotics of the exchange between the painting and the place, between « Knowledge refused or returned which from tables be lighted [sometimes] », left indices or freudians terms decryption on the relationship between the dream and the reality. This is according to Starobinski of a waking dream in question, an image of desire, not specifically Freudian, but linked to a form of renunciation (of the place, in this case Capraia). Thus, throughout the text, we are transformed into bloodhounds, sometimes identifying archetypes, fears, taboos, or such « oedipian component », sometimes transformed into very quick images, subliminal messages that appeal to our unconscious, which derive from the poetics of Bonnefoy to win « the writing of the object… » in its most symbolic expression with Isis, Madonna or the Virgin and the child. Linking point announced by the author: the mirror. Mirror of Isis, mirror of psychoanalysis, omnipresent in historical and geographical Bonnefoy route. He is found everywhere in The stories in a dream as in the various identifications of the poet, and especially in the monumental work of art that Bonnefoy devoted to Giacometti. The desires of the young Alberto, his stories – the black stone -, photos, birth and « death » of his statutory works when he almost destroy The invisible object (phobic, in this case) are so many wrenching testimony. It is the merit of Claude Berniolles to initiate us in this erotic of creativity, this initiatory journey of the Oedipus which shows how the subject feeds from the work of art and vice versa, how the relation to the place and the other are registered in the history of the self.
SEMANTIC MUTATIONS OF THE DIFFERENT DESIGNATIONS OF THE PLASTIC ART OF BLACK AFRICA: FROM NIGGER ART TO CONTEMPORARY ART
Babacar Mbaye DIOP is a teacher and researcher in the Department of philosophy of the University of Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar. He has co-edited a book tratinf of « The African historical consciousness » at Harmattan Ed. in 2008 and has recently published « Critique of the concept of African art », Connaissances & Savoirs Ed., Paris, 2012. His work is focused on the arts of Black Africa, the plurality of African cultures, the concept of negritude, and aesthetics of negro-africain art. More specifically, his approach is part of a « crossed lines » as which leads to observe and then to describe with great acuity semantic mutations in African arts, their roots and future. It is this double reading adopted by the author in this article: rigorous definitions of what is and what is not « African art », of what is and what is not « the nigger art » become « primitive art » and then « first art », that underlying foundations, of traditions, mercantilism, of colonialism, of exchanges and reappropriation these fundamentals. Without forgetting the key role of European artists as Matisse, Derain, shines and Vlaminck in their interrogations of the African plastic art – we can thaught by analogy to the work of Giacometti to the Etruscans -, but also of many anthropologists such as Lewis or Fagg who proposed the concept of tribal in place of primitive art, thus distinguishing the specificity of each social group. Babacar Mbaye Diop critics these border tribal too, showing important dispersal of certain tribes and the mixture of peoples that contributes to African cultural diversity. Thus, the peuls which are found both in Niger and Guinea, Sudan or in Chad. Pushing more prior to analysis, he decrypts contemporary African art, its vocation to be seen contrary to traditional art, the questionable movement that gave him the Western anthropology after independence. First Art: in time or in his bigotry? The author gives many examples of authentic artists as the sculptor Sow, or rather of multilingual, multipurpose, Westernized artists, not hesitating to mix African cultures sometimes or to do what is called « tourist-art ». However, if the names change the strength of African art lies in its plurality, in his unique testimony on human plasticity, in its diversity of expression, rather than in a noun related to color, geography and ethnicity, words by nature too focal or restrictive, or denaturing. It is this aesthetic purpose which is the basis of all art, and the fruitful evidence of the depth of Black Africa.
RENE THOM: CRITICISM ABOUT COGNITIVE SCIENCES
Abdelkader BACHTA is an epistemologist and Professor of philosophy at the University of Tunis. He has written several books on scientific rationality, Les lumières or the Kantian idealism (PLASTIR n° 26). In his previous paper, he has acutely analyzed the consequences of the change of paradigm introduced by Kuhn. Here, he discusses about the the relationships of our friend René Thom with cognitive sciences. Critical relationships in the context of the 1970s and the birth of the “theory of the disasters”. Relations in perspective with the boom of systemics, of artificial intelligence (AI) and cybernetics. Common element in all these approaches, the theory of the information that is described to us on two levels of the cognitive sciences and the thomian also. By consequence, the concepts of « cybernèmes » brought by Danko to echo the theory established by Shannon and the affirmation of the quantitative vocation of cognitive sciences in front of that of information, and on the other side the thomian semantics as opposed to the cognitivists « in a non-quantifiing… geometric position ». ». Indeed, « Thom geometrize the relationships between the applicant and the donor », dixit Bachta, doing a morphogenetic analysis of the nature of the informational content. He stressed the lack of rationality and realism in the mathematical sense of systemics at cognitivists contrarily to the mathematical and biophysical approach of the term. And Thom to propose a resolution in the spatial location of any real system, in other words its morphology. Cybernetics shall not escape this reasoning. Thus, contrary to the emerging science of cognition, space extension and morphodynamics of the system in interaction are for Thom what defines it the best. This complements its essential regulation introduced by Weiner in any organo-mechanical couple. And here, too, Thom, violently opposes the dichotomous or Cartesian view of an human-machine analogosas stated in – Language and disasters – and the famous feedback of biological regulation. Idem for any logical formalism: Thom, supported by Couffignal, Bonnet and Danko designed the relevance of AI or cognitive science, but expressed reservations about distance in terms of size (first or umpteenth order), and nature (black box, explanatory vs descriptive knowledge). Thom go further by refusing the basis of this formalism, namely the universal feature of Leibniz. For him, it’s all grammar and semantics, typology and emerging meanings. That’s all what opposed it him with the logico-cognitivist prospect of this period. A logic that tends to focus on the relationship between the human mind and the symbol, without identify concrete meanings. What Thom, convinced Aristotelian, attaches to do through « a set of qualitative discontinuities… ». « , in other words, of a interconnected topological and semiotic representation, doing case of the singularities.