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ISSN 0869-5377
Author: Weibel Peter

Weibel Peter

Austrian artist, curator and theorist, Director of the Institute for New Media (Frankfurt am Main) and the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) Karlsruhe. Address: 19 Lorenzstraße, 76135 Karlsruhe, Germany. E-mail:


Theories on Violence: Benjamin, Freud, Schmitt, Derrida, Adorno / Logos. 2018. № 1 (122). P. 261-279
annotation:  Peter Weibel’s conception of violence is based on the intellectual canon of the 20th century that absorbed both Freud’s psychoanalysis as well as the critical philosophy of The Frankfurt School. However, the historical context for his critique of violence is rooted in the contemporary era of terrorism. Weibel’s distinctive critique of the positive definition of violence as a pure tool offered by Walter Benjamin in his Critique of Violence (Zur Kritik der Gewalt, 1921) (and interpreted numerous times by, for example, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben, etc.) is focused on the connections between violence and language, its reflection and conceptions of freedom, fair play, and law. He argues that Freud—who was not familiar with Benjamin’s texts—had similar ideas during the pre-war years, particularly in conceiving law as the consequence of acts of violence. Nevertheless, psychoanalysis cannot resolve the contradiction between culture and violence. Analyzing the thought of Carl Schmitt, the author formulates the principles of inclusion-exclusion dialectics, to which state-monopolized violence is subordinated: violence survives in any state and culture, turning into law. It is not directed against members of its own group, but against strangers. Yet it is equally capable, in extreme cases, of targeting the so-called “enemy within.” In conclusion, the author polemically contrasts the central conceptual figure of Adorno’s non-identity to Agamben’s subject understood as biomass. Weibel sees in such a dramatic approach traces of psychologisms and psychoanalysis, proposing to define the subject as a legal construct independent of instincts or desires, needs and other limitations characteristic of a person’s biological existence. Considering the subject as an object of law rather than anthropological knowledge, Weibel hopes to make it the basis of a new constitutional law which can only be disputed on lawful grounds. The law itself thus constructs a subject that is able to rewrite the laws of the death camps, to overcome them.
Keywords:  violence; inclusive-exclusive dialectic; bio-mass; subject; concentration camps; nonidentity
Media Art. From Simulation to Stimulation / Logos. 2015. № 4 (106). P. 135-162
annotation:  The article describes three trends in contemporary art. Firstly, the art of the 20th century can be squeezed not only into the binary oppositions of figurative and abstract, material and non-material, representational and non-representational, but also into that of illusion and anti-illusion, in which the avant-garde defined itself as anti-illusionary. The younger generation of media artists of the 1990s no longer placed themselves in the anti-illusionary tradition of the media avant-garde, because they saw in this tradition the cause of the avant-garde’s failure, but rather in that of mainstream illusion, for example of Hollywood films or music videos, which these artists deconstructed with the techniques which they took from the media avant-garde of the 1960s and 1970s. Through the mixture of practices of narration and illusion, a new practice has arisen—“allusion.” Every viewer already has a library of visual experiences, fed by the mass media from films to billboards, stored in his head. The artists need only briefly suggest topics, places, subjects, and the viewer knows what is being spoken of. Secondly, this post-media condition is defined by two phases: (а) the equivalence of the media—old technological media (photography and film), new technological media (video and computers) and old nontechnological media (the arts of painting and sculpture); (b) the mixing of the media (sculpture can consist of a photo or a video tape; an event captured in a photograph can be a sculpture, a text or a picture; the behaviour of an object and of a person captured on a video or in a photograph can be a sculpture; language can be a sculpture, etc.). Lastly, through participatory practices, various art movements transformed the beholder into a user actively involved in the construction of the artwork, its design, content, and behavior. Artists no longer have a monopoly on creativity. With the help of the internet, the museum can develop to a communicative platform of creativity for all.
Keywords:  media avant-garde; anti-illusion; allusion; post-media; equivalence of the media; participatory practices
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