CRITICAL PRACTICE AND VISUAL STUDIES,
COLLEGE FOR CREATIVE STUDIES
Negation, Disavowal, and the Ethics of Attention: Between Solange Faladé
and Stanley Cavell
M 22 February 2021 | 7:00pm ET via Zoom
Alan H Rider Distinguished Lecture
NEGATION, DISAVOWAL, AND THE ETHICS OF ATTENTION: BETWEEN SOLANGE FALADÉ AND STANLEY CAVELL Across art and culture – and the question of technology – there is an increasing preoccupation with questions of attention: its social phenomenology, its ethics, but also its politics. This preoccupation has become foregrounded in both ethical and political demands for attention (noticing and responsiveness) as a means of challenging erasure or the politics of (in)-visibility: in issues of Black Lives Matter, Environmentalism, class-based justice, the politics of identification, and more. In his presentation “Negation, Disavowal, and the Ethics of Attention: Between Solange Faladé and Stanley Cavell,” Michael Stone-Richards will draw upon the work of the Lacanian analyst Solange Faladé on the ethics of jouissance / pleasure and the work of Stanley Cavell on acknowledgment to address the challenges and aporias built into the very idea or practice of care and paying attention. This presentation will explore the way in which the demand to pay attention is an ethical demand that is also aporetic, a demand, that is, that cannot be met through knowledge or the simple recitation of history, but which may nevertheless be understood as part of a need for acknowledgment understood in part as a participation in shared time – and pleasure / jouissance – as means of possible reparation.
Not being infinite beings, the capacity to pay attention, to care for what is not-me, is finite and limited, but also shaped by implantation, that is, the symbolic structures that we inherit from our social setting. What are the implications of such a view for social recognition and the politics of attention, where attention is not only a capacity – to heed, to notice, to care – but a trigger for the unlocking of (finite) resources (at once affective and material)?
MICHAEL STONE-RICHARDS is Professor of Critical Practice and Visual Studies at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He is the author of Logics of Separation (2011) and numerous studies in English and French on the critical theory of avant-garde / practice as well as on the poetry of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, J.H. Prynne, Paul Celan, and the Negro Spirituals. His current book, Care of the City (forthcoming Sternberg Press / MIT), is a study of Social Practice / Socially Engaged Art through the lens of Care, broken socialities – ruination, abandonment, (in)-hospitality – and labor / work. He is also at work on new research bearing on questions of pedagogy and the collapse of transmission in the art + design school of the 21st century, blackness and biopolitics, and the language of moral perfectionism in the work of Guy Debord and John Berger. He has been a Visiting Fellow in Critical Studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art, a Fellow at the Centre canadien d’architecture in Montréal, and a Fellow at the Alice Berlin Kaplan Center for the Humanities, Northwestern University. He received a Warhol Foundation Grant for his work on Care of the City.