Headless Research

This is an extract from a collaborative text I worked on, published in the June 2011 issue of Texte Zur Kunst :

The animal of research, being nourished from its root, springs up from the dirt of discourse, the direction of growth pandering to a supposed head. “Humans see the world through language, but do not see language.” 1 What exactly do the bees mean when they pollinate the blossom?

For art meaning tends to be expressed through images: copies long since removed in mimesis. “[W]ith man, life has led to a living being that is never completely in the right place…” 2 The capacity to expose or profane (to practice as one experiences) must then be removed from the intentions of the speaker, the writer or the artist. Meaning forms as much in the stutter, the slip-of-the-tongue, the teleological glitch and out-of-sync, as it does in the head. The mindless zombie cannot help but plod, gurgle and feast on living flesh. Its misdeeds constitute the normalcy to which its behaviour must be attributed. Foucault exclaims, “Life–and this is its radical feature–is that which is capable of error.” 3 The zombie cannot intend, but it is its inability to err that signifies it as headless.


[1] Agamben, G. ‘The Idea of Language’ in: Heller Roazen, D. (Trans/Ed): Potentialities, Stanford Uni Press, 1999 pg. 40

[2] Foucault, M., ‘Life: Experience and Science’ in: Faubion, J.D. (ed.), Michel Foucault: Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology (The Essential Works, volume 2, 1954-1984), Allen Lane: The Penguin Press pg. 476

[3] Ibid

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