Burgin Chapter 10

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V.B. Maybe it's just to move on debatable ground, but I think it's problematic to say that "most people" (shows quotation marks with his fingers) would consider that the practice of philosophy and the writing, the philosophical text, is a rational affair –  by definition. Therefore, if I were to say, "I read this philosophical text, I was deeply moved" I think I might give rise to some doubt as to the nature of that text. It clearly was a failure of the text if I felt moved in reading it. But I think that that is a product again of a kind of rationalist ideology. Certainly, ... some texts leave me cold and others move me. To say " I'm moved " is not to say »I'm deeply moved«, certainly not moved to tears or to tearing my hair, to beating my breast –  but it's an affective dimension to reading the work of some »intellectuals« and not always. .... the result of the quality of the writing and the result of style, there is a poetic dimension which carries that affect, it becomes the semiotic chora in Kristeva's definition. There is a poetic dimension to a text ... but I am speaking quite simply structurally of the inescapably poetic dimension of language ... that they enter into relations that are formal, that one practice of writing differs greatly from another. But there is this inescapable and often unadmitted dimension of poetry in the most rationalist writing. So, when I said "art is a way of thinking for me«, that is what I value about a practise it's not to say and it's also a frame for the deployment of affect – this is not to distinguish it on that ground from other practices, other practices of thought, which I think it has been one of the ideological basics of at least popular notions of art: that's the side of emotion, that's philosophy, that's the side of reason, but, again: these are ideological distinctions. I can't quite remember why we started out on that one, but perhaps we could come back on the position of art as way of thinking.

S.R. I asked for your paradigms // V.B. ... of conceptualism?//

V.B. If I could intervene there, I think we are all critics when we look on a work of art so I don't practise criticism as such in the sense that I don't write about art. I like to say that on tape because I'm not being frequently asked to do so, I don't to write about the work of other artists but nevertheless when we look on art we are all in a role of art critics and I find very often ... to be honest ... after a long time in the art world, you find it harder to find works that are really engaging, really interesting, but the ones which do engage me and the ones which interest me are often the ones where I believe I can see a process of thinking that's persuasive and coherent, and the ones of which I become disinterested very quickly are precisely the ones where the thinking seems to be so sloppy. Everything is conceptual art today – but so often the conceptual aspect, in a strictly literal sense not I'm speaking now of art history, the thinking, the quality of the thought seems to be very poor. I haven't seen art criticism who speaks about that but then I have to admit that I don't read art critism. ...


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