matter, but by focusing on the very
materiality of the historical event and its after effects, they in turn
produce and create new intersections among time, space and matter’.45
She reminds us of JacquesRancière’s notion of ‘a suitable political
work of art’, one that works by ‘disrupting the relationship between
the visible, the sayable, and the thinkable’.46 The film, then, doesn’t
just show us evidence and present information, as other forms of
documentary do. Instead, it induces new ways of seeing, and as such,
can be seen as a politics, in Rancière’s terms.
in art theory or in the philosophy of art. Instead, I interpret aesthetics in a broader sense, one first proposed by JacquesRancière,
as ‘a specific regime for identifying and reflecting on the arts: a mode of
articulation between ways of doing and making, their corresponding modes
of visibility, and possible ways of thinking about their relationships’.3 This
new aesthetics came to replace the Stalinist regime of arts, which, following Rancière, can be deemed representative, that is, it adhered to a hierarchy of genres and subject matter and privileged speech over
: Persons and Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 2011.
15 Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Charles Lam
Markmann. London: Pluto, 1986: 109.
16 Stultification is JacquesRancière’s term: JacquesRancière, The Ignorant
Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Translated by
Kristin Ross. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.
EDKINS 9781526119032 PRINT.indd 11
remind us that, for moral perfectionism, the act of interpreting is
prioritized over the interpretation. By, then, reading this claim
alongside the work of JacquesRancière, I will emphasize his
claim that spectators are always already engaged in such
interpretation, but too often do not trust the legitimacy or
authority of their own interpretation over that of others
. Although the immediate focus
of the essay is M. Cavell, the larger target is the general
Enlightenment position, revived today in more than one quarter
(e.g., William Connolly, Richard Rorty, Robert Pippin, JacquesRancière) that popular film can serve to instruct us in
democracy. Indeed, perhaps here is the place to re-emphasize that I
criticize Cavell not because I think he is the
be, in the face of attempts to interpellate her as
a coherent ‘subject’. She refuses to misrecognise herself as ‘like’ the
other woman, but she shows up at the party anyway.
Interpellation is the process of ‘hailing’ whereby ‘concrete individuals’ are transformed into subjects. Louis Althusser’s famous example
is the ‘Hey, you there!’ uttered by a policeman.30 When we recognise
ourselves in the officer’s call and turn round, we are interpellated into
a particular subject position: we become subjects of the police order,
in JacquesRancière’s terms.31 Interpellation
members themselves. I ask that we, as readers–
spectators of the argument, become more attentive to the dancing bodies
that have interrupted and transfigured our symbolic frameworks across
Dance and politics
space and time. I have constructed my conceptual framework from a
choreographic, critical reading of JacquesRancière’s concept of dissensus. Rancière sees the essence of politics ‘as the manifestation of dissensus as the presence of two worlds in one’ (Rancière 2010: 37). Dissensus is
the collision of two worlds, one intervening in the other and
turning on collective mentalities and anonymous forces in the unfolding
of the past. Yet such readings ignore Michelet’s actual
procedures of research and writing, which arguably recast both
“hermeneutic” and “scientific” methods in
order to create a genuinely “modernist” historical
scholarship. Michelet’s history writing, JacquesRancière
has argued, brought to the fore the salient but repressed
Giraud, Le murmure des plantes, web, https://fr.ulule.
com/murmure/ (created December 2012, last accessed November 2017).
9 The nature of that participation varies from one practice to the next, and
the politics of participation are (of course) contested. See Bishop, Artificial
Hells; Claire Bishop, ed., Participation (London: Whitechapel Gallery,
2006); Grant Kester, The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative
Art in a Global Context (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011);
JacquesRancière, The Emancipated Spectator (London: Verso, 2011); and
that an aesthetics of care can be a demonstration, a showing of caring, but, more significantly, it can be the actual moment of building a more just distribution of caring and increase participants’ capacity to care and be cared for.
The understanding of aesthetics here is, on the one hand broad, signalling aesthetic in the sense of the appreciation of something crafted, artistic or beautiful. However, on the other hand, I am also using it in a more particular sense borrowed from the work of JacquesRancière and his framework of the ‘distribution of the sensible