Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Miro Brada, Discontinuity, the new Artform

This film was presented during an exhibition in Holland Park, UK between 18.Oct-3.Nov 2013:

It is partially based on the philosophy of Michel Foucault…

The interview I was doing with Miroslav Marcelli (a student of Foucault) about Foucault philosophy is here:

You can also find this interview with visual material at philpapers

Excerpt from the interview (Discontinuity and exclusion):

MB Did Foucault’s criticism of universal concepts deny differences (in charm, intellect, morality)?

MM Foucault does not deny differences, only questions conditions of their possibility. The differences transfer in our responses to judgements whose basis is however neither natural nor stable. It emerged in certain historical moment whose circumstances reveal interest to exclude those who differ.

MB Fools?

MM There were times when the higher truth notifying the future was revealed through a mouth of a fool. How happened, that since Enlightenment a fool had been classified as a folly and got into enclosed institution? This question lead to the Foucault’s first great book: History of Madness (1961). He will ask such questions during whole of his life. Why is an idea once a deep knowledge, marked as a blunder?

MB Is historical, social, cultural, science evolution illusionary?

MM Foucault doubted the progress of Western society that should be guaranteed by acquired privileges as scientific advance, humanistic base of law, progressive education. He was not the first critique. Psychologist Jean Piaget noticed similarity between Foucault’s The words and the things (1966) and Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962).

MB What was Foucault’s contribution?

MM He particularized steps and processes of preconditions. Episteme, the principle of power structure, notifies in an indefinite form, and then transforms itself to theory. The norm to supervise and punish had only gradually resembled a prison or school. These motions don’t need to be overlapped by a story of unstoppable progress of modern society.

MB What’s a message of Foucault’s book This is not a pipe with a pipe’s image?

MM Foucault thought that Magritte’s painting of a pipe entitled This is not a pipe, deviated from imitation that long dominated western art. Plato called such images – without predetermined pattern, simulacra and condemned their creators as producers of delusions. Simulacra can explain many phenomena of our contemporary visual culture.

MB According to Foucault, the power defines the “author” and its role, while the invention is secondary, irrelevant or an obstacle (e.g. Galileo). How was Foucault as an “author” defined?

MM Foucault challenged the idea of „author”, as a source of hidden abilities and inspirations. Likewise Russian formalists or art historian Wölfflin thought that creator’s great secret was an illusion. So Foucault’s position belongs here too.

MB What was Foucault’s contribution?

MM He was dismantling this illusion being a challenge for a thorough historical analysis of assumptions. The author should be decomposed and reconstructed according to different social orders, by relevant archived texts. As we see the result of study in archives, we can see Foucault closer.

MB He – himself authority – viewed the authority a power tool. Isn’t it a paradox?

MM Foucault taught us that history of thought of 19 century can be written without emphasis on the most recognized philosophers: Hegel, Marx. He didn’t claim that power only represses us, and so we must release ourselves. He rejected the concept of punitive power, and understood its function to repress as well as create us. He just refused its innocent appearance. Power affects relation of teacher-student, which does not imply to remove the teacher. Understanding history of such relations transfers their character.

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Peut-on critiquer Foucault ? Entretien avec Daniel Zamora, Par Ballast – 3 décembre 2014

See earlier post on Critiquer Foucault

See also a translation of this interview into English by Seth Ackerman on the Jacobin magazine site. (With thanks to Leonardo Goi for this link)

Le titre est provocateur, soit. Mais à voir sa canonisation et son omniprésence dans le monde universitaire ainsi que dans bien des cercles de la gauche radicale, la question est en droit de gratter. D’autant que nous aimons, à Ballast,  faire la part belle aux débats, aux échanges de vues — discordantes et contradictoires, de préférence — et aux démêlées qui agitent le vaste champ socialiste. Un essai collectif, titré Critiquer Foucault, vient de paraître aux éditions Aden. « Loin de mener une lutte intellectuelle résolue contre la doxa du libre marché, Michel Foucault semble, sur bien des points, y adhérer », assure-t-il tout de go. Pour en discuter, nous avons rencontré l’instigateur dudit essai, le sociologue belge Daniel Zamora.

Link to interview on Ballast site

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Foucault’s legacy: an interview with Frédéric Gros 14 July 2014, Verso Blog. Translation.

Frédéric Gros is the editor of Michel Foucault’s lectures at the Collège de France and the author of Michel Foucault (1996) and Foucault et la folie (1997). Having taught in prison for many years, he devoted a book to the philosophical fundaments of the right to punish (Et ce sera justice, 2001), as well as other texts such as States of Violence: An essay on the end of war (2010) and Le Principe sécurité (2012). Nicolas Truong from Le Monde recently interviewed Gros about the legacy of Michel Foucault.
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Read the original French interview here.

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Originally posted on synthetic_zero:

Paul Rabinow on Foucault & the Contemporary


– the host is a bit lacking but Rabinow is probably the most important intellectual of our time…

Paul Rabinow is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California (Berkeley), Director of the Anthropology of the Contemporary Research Collaboratory (ARC), and former Director of Human Practices for the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC). He is perhaps most famous for his widely influential commentary and expertise on the French philosopher Michel Foucault. He was a close interlocutor of Michel Foucault, and has edited and interpreted Foucault’s work as well as ramifying it in new directions.

Rabinow is known for his development of an “anthropology of reason”. If anthropology is understood as being composed of anthropos + logos, then anthropology can be taken up as a practice of studying how the mutually productive relations of knowledge, thought, and care are given form within…

View original 110 more words

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Michelle Murphy, The economization of life, parts 1 and 2 (2014)
Conversation recorded with Michelle Murphy in Toronto on June 21, 2014

Link to audio and further info

This conversation with Michelle Murphy is divided into two parts:

BIOPOLITICAL FEMINISM: The first part introduces Foucault’s concept of biopolitics and applies it to forms of economization of life particularly in relation to female bodies. Paraphrasing Foucault, Michelle affirms that governmental capitalism needs for “some must not to be born so that future others will live more consumptibly, productively in the logic of macro-economy .” She thus unfolds the political history of regulation and ‘marketing’ of reproduction and contraception that organizes such an economization of life at a scale of a population. Further, we discuss of Michelle’s concept, “The Girl” as the problematic current vessel of financial investment in the context of imperial humanitarianism.

CHEMICAL INFRASTRUCTURES: The second part considers the body as topological, blurring the limits between inside and outside and, following Peter Sloterdijk think of it as a “being-in-the-breathable.” Michelle has been working on the elaboration of the concept of “chemical infrastructures” to think of our era as the Anthropocene: a time when all atmospheres are fundamentally manufactured (deliberately or not) by human activity. Following Spinoza and his approach of the Genesis’s apple, we talk of our ignorance, as humans, of what ecologies really are, and how we can start thinking of them as ethical systems rather than moralistic ones.

Michelle Murphy is a Professor in the History Department and Women and Gender Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, with graduate appointments in Science and Technology Studies at York University and the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at U of T. She is an organizer of the Toronto Technoscience Salon. I am also coordinator of the Technoscience Research Unit. She is the author of Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Entanglements of Feminism, Health, and Technoscience (Duke UP, 2012) and Sick Building Syndrome and the Problem of Uncertainty: Environmental Politics, Technoscience, and Women Workers (Duke UP, 2006), as well as the co-editor of Landscapes of Exposure: Knowledge and Exposure in Modern Environments, Osiris v. 19 (University of Chicago Press, 2004).

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Foucault’s freedom, Johanna Oksala interviewed by Richard Marshall, 3:AM Magazine, Friday, August 1st, 2014.


Johanna Oksala is a political philosopher who broods on Foucault, thinks that its time people stopped thinking in terms of continental vs analytic, thinks about Foucault and freedom, on Foucault, politics and violence, on Chantal Mouffe’s compelling ideas,on state violence, on why neoliberal rationality must be resisted, and on political spirituality. She’s out there making windows where there were once walls…

3:AM: What made you become a philosopher?

Johanna Oksala: I initially started to study philosophy because it seemed like an easy subject that wouldn’t consume too much of my precious time – I was young so my primary interest at the time was to study life! I was involved in various forms of anarchist politics such as squatting and organizing illegal parties and events in different European cities. While that was exciting and eye opening in many ways, it also taught me that genuine political change requires that people fundamentally alter the way they think. I believe that good philosophy can sometimes do that: it can make possible completely new ways of seeing the world around us. (I have also discovered since that philosophy is not easy at all and nowadays it consumes practically all my time!)

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A brief genealogy of governmentality studies: the Foucault effect and its developments. An interview with Colin Gordon by Fabiana Jardim, Educação e Pesquisa, vol.39 no.4 São Paulo Oct./Dec. 2013

Full text available from this link

This interview approaches the intellectual context within the areas of philosophy and social sciences, in the 1970s United Kingdom, and also looks back to Colin Gordon’s work as a translator and editor of Michel Foucault’s researches on power and politics into English. Finally, it attempts to assess the developments of this strange notion of governmentality within the English-Speaking intellectual world and its relations to present times. The interview has taken place during Colin Gordon’s visit to Brazil for the “International Seminar Max Weber and Michel Foucault: possible convergences” (May, 2013). It aims to revisit the context in which the governmentality studies have appeared as a specific field of interest and research, in order to put in perspective the progressive spread of this field since the appearance, in 2004, of both Foucault’s lectures at Collége de France (Security, Territory, Population and The Birth of Biopolitics) where the notion is introduced. The possibility to know Colin Gordon’s ideas about these themes seemed timely not only because of the range of governmentality studies in education in Brazil (something that can be testified by the number of articles, thematic issues and books that are appearing since the 1990s), but also because of the manner in which the notion of governmentality has been taken by the post-colonial studies. In this sense, the notion still seems to be a very useful tool to confront the task of understanding the problems and problematizations that constitute the specificity of our Brazilian modernity.

Keywords: Governmentality – Governmentality studies – Michel Foucault – Political culture.

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