Thomas Hirschhorn (CH)
Solo exhibition at Arndt & Partner, Berlin
THOMAS HIRSCHHORN DOUBLE GARAGE
On the integrated texts by Marcus Steinweg:
I will write at least ten texts each of which can be read on its own. At the same time there is a thematic cohesion to the texts consisting in the common presence of Nietzschean motifs. Each of these texts is closed within itself and intact. They are texts which have been made available to Thomas Hirschhorn as material for his Double arage. The texts will be integrated into the work, either magnified or reduced in size, as required. Just as my contribution to the Bataille monument in Cassel represents the attempt to go beyond Bataille to the thinking of the present, these texts too are not supposed to be texts about Nietzsche. They are texts beyond Nietzsche. It is a matter of appropriating the problems of Nietzsche’s thinking – with Nietzsche and without him –, to demonstrate and to re-activate the continuity and pertinence of his motifs for today’s political philosophy. The critique of Christianity and its anti-life doctrine will be examined with respect to the extent to which the birth of economic liberalism (capitalism) out of the spirit of resentment and revenge (that is, from that ideology which Nietzsche links to an essential unfreedom) opens up the question concerning the possibility of a second birth of freedom, a freedom which eludes the economy of rights and its politics of compensatory justice.
From here a revision or revaluationf all the concepts and categories of moral philosophy results. An altered concept of action, politics and practical reason becomes necessary which with the re-erection of the philosophical category of the subject extends the subject’s responsibility into infinity in order to withdraw it from the (postmodern or late capitalist) protectorate of its constitutive impotence. Seen in this way, Nietzsche would be not so much the thinker of perspectival illusionism or relativism, but rather the philosopher of irreducible, unsharable and ungroundable responsibility, a responsibility which is also a name for freedom insofar as Nietzschean discourse, in struggling against Christianity, also struggles against the entanglement of the Christian subject inguilt, pangs of conscience and resentful cowardice. To declare war on Christianity means for Nietzsche at first (and that is the point where he touches on Spinoza and Deleuzian Spinozism) to vitalize the subject within the horizon of a responsibility which isolates it and to redefine it through the body and its sensuous capabilities. “To annihilate the passions and desires simply in order to prevent their stupidity seems to us today to be itself merely an acute form ofstupidity. We no longer admire the dentists who extract teeth so that they can no longer cause pain…” (Götzen-Dämmerung, KSA 6, p. 82) The subject of responsibility is a sensuous subject, not a sentimental one. It is sensible without being
sensitive, narcissistic or whingeing. It does not avoid every act of cruelty in order to be responsible vis-à-vis the real which in itself is a kind of violence and cruelty, a kind of brutal asymmetry. And Nietzsche does not tire from evoking this cruelty with diverse names, citing and recapitulating it, so to speak, in order not to share with those whom
he calls his enemies the displeasure, credulity, naivety and fearfulness which are supposed to protect against life and becoming as such. The praise of cruelty unfolds as a recognition of the multiplicities and irreducibility of the contradictions and differences and their conflict. “The decisive feature in a Dionysian philosophy, saying yes to contradictions and war, to becoming…” (Ecce Homo KSA 6, p. 313). The grand politics which nature expects of himself and Nietzscheanism is a politics of difference, of instability and permanent development, a politics of affirmation of the open and the undecided, i.e. of the undecidability of every difference. It is neither a politics of heteronomous, totalitarian, dictatorial and always negative, disempowering incapacitation, nor does it correspond to the anticipative, a priori weakened morality of the levelling of every form of difference and otherness (at
present it is above all Slavoj Zizek who speaks up against this always insincere morality of capitalist multiculturalism and its repressive and, one must add, resentful tolerance, thoroughly in the sense in which Nietzsche appraises as an invention of Goethe, “the tolerant human, not out of weakness but out of strength,” Götzen-Dämmerung, KSA 5, p. 151). The tasks which arisefor reactivating and affirmativelytaking up Nietzsche’s olitical ontology must first reject these two errors, the two figures of “false relatedness”, a relatedness which, as Deleuze says, “can be found inthe train of every ‘cursed thinker’ (penseur maudit)”: . The assimilation of this thinking into Nazism and anti-Semitism promoted by Nietzsche’s sister, Elizabeth Nietzsche, whose obvious falseness and absurdity happily seems to be generally recognized today and 2. The other also scarcely acceptable
reduction of Nietzsche to his (undoubtedly imposing and affirmable) Europeanism and cosmopolitanism, etc., that is, the reduction of Nietzsche to the good Nietzsche which makes itself guilty of a further censorial defusing of his work. (One should take Nietzsche seriously even where it hurts!) To open Nietzsche up to the presentmeans rhaps first of all – and that would be an act of political and not just philological responsibility – to deal responsibly with his texts even there where they are not closed to the experience of a cruelty which is today lmost taboo, but to mobilize this cruelty which by definition represents an excessive demand for any thinking, as an excessive demand on one’s own thinking instead of enclosing oneself in the phantasma of a future which is spared cruelty. Non-liberalist freedom therefore represents the condition of possibility of the most extreme responsibility (which is always also responsibility towards what is most extreme, towards cruelty and the absolute otherness of the other) as well as its highest degree of endangering. I will try to show that Nietzsche’s insight into the equiprimordiality of ethicity which is not morality and the violence which threatens it steers all his movements in thinking and that the denial and negation of this equiprimordiality is part of the conscious or unconscious hypothesis of all ideological systems, whether they be primarily political, economic, social, religious or ontological dispositives, whose concrete cruelties are witnessed by history in general. If to think with Nietzsche means to think dangerously in a certain sense, then this also means that a strong and uncompromising concept of responsibility, of communication, ethicity, justice and decision is necessary, the redefinition of freedom as the responsibility to freedom and the freedom to responsibility in order to withdraw the subject from the control of morality, the imperative of conscience, history, society and its opinions (doxa) and its pathos of self-righteousness. Subjectivity can only be thought as this continual conflict. Marcus Steinweg Marcus Steinweg, born in 1971, author of hilosophical and literary texts, lives in Berlin. His latest publications are: „Krieg der différance“ and „Autofahren mit acan“ (both Koblenz 2001) and „Der Ozeanomat. Ereignis und Immanenz“ Cologne 2002). Coming soon: „Bataille Maschine“ (Merve Verlag, Berlin 2003). Translated from the German by Michael Eldred, artefact text & translation, Cologne .