Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

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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