Unreal Nature

February 23, 2014

World

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:50 am

World is the name of a gathering or being-together that arises from an art — a teknē — and the sense of which is identical with the very exercise of this art

This is from the essay ‘Space: Confines’ found in The Sense of the World by Jean-Luc Nancy (1993):

… The “question of technology” is nothing other than the question of sense at the confines. Technology is quite precisely that which is neither theoria nor poiesis: that which assigns sense neither as knowledge nor as work. This is why, in addition, science can be called technoscience today without it being a matter of “degrading” its knowledge to the status of a “mere” instrumentality: science no longer designates, in a metaphysical manner, the virtually final punctuation of a knowledge of truth, but on the contrary — increasingly — the enchaining and entailing of truths along the edge of teknē, neither as knowledge nor as work, but as the incessant passage to the confines of phusis.

… The world of technology, that is, the “techonologized” world, is not nature delivered up to rape and pillage — although barbarity and madness are indeed unleashed there as much as rationality and culture, according to the scale of the technological gesture itself. It is the world becoming world, that is, neither “nature” nor “universe” nor “earth.” “Nature,” “universe,” and “earth” (and “sky”) are names of given sets or totalities, names of significations that have been surveyed, tamed, and appropriated. World is the name of a gathering or being-together that arises from an art — a teknē — and the sense of which is identical with the very exercise of this art (as when one speaks of the “world” of an artist, but also of “the world of the elite [grand monde]”). It is thus that a world is always a “creation”: a teknē with neither principle nor end nor material other than itself. And in this way, a world is always sense outside of knowledge, outside of the work, outside the habituation of presence, but the désoeuvrement of sense, sense in excess of all sense — one would like to say the artificial intelligence of sense, sense seized and sensed by art and as art, that is teknē, that which spaces out and defers phusis all the way to the confines of the world. There is no point in protesting — and it is even dangerous to protest — against the putting-to-work of technology on nature, or in wanting to subordinate technology to the ends of a mythical “nature” (as the “totalitarianisms” have done). But it is necessary to come to appreciate “technology” as the infinite of art that supplements a nature that never took place and will never take place. An ecology properly understood can be nothing other than a technology.

No doubt it is exact to say that the endlessness of technology contains within itself a terrible ambivalence, quite foreign to nature, the universe, or the earth (sky). The world, as such, has by definition the power to reduce itself to nothing just as it has the power to be infinitely its own sense, indecipherable outside of the praxis of its art.

But without this ambivalence, there would be no being-toward-the-world.

-Julie

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