Image, Desire, Apocalypse

eds. Louis Armand, Jane Lewty, Andrew Mitchell
ISBN 970-80-7308-291-8 (paperback) 272pp
Publication date: December 2008

Price: € 6.00 (not including postage)

Bodily existence is an existence lived in constant fascination with a world beyond one's reach. Embodiment, desire, metaphor. To exist on the verge of nonexistence. In the headlong pursuit of the real, of the other. Of the base materiality of the world, of religious hypothesis, of absolute relativity. Every utopia is a pornography, a recrudescence and pathological disillusionment, a lure into the vortex--paradoxical annulment of pure reason, compulsion, repetition, consumption.

A fact of bodily existence is to know that the body is our most complex and multi-faceted machine in a world of incessant technological progress. The body is a marvel of engineering; it is the outward face of primal nature; it is a disgusting vessel in which to house the soul; it is a primitive device, fragile and disposable. Bodies are re-produced, experimented upon to the limits of their tolerance, dissected and debated to every last cell, mended, prosthetically enhanced, moralised, abused and adored. The interface with the world we live in means that the body is always laid open to scrutiny without ever simply constituting some thing within our grasp: it is the site where violence and metaphysics interchange, technicity and catatonia, the sublime and the grotesque.

The body cannot be neutral or indifferent. Its design is such that it must respond to both exterior challenge and interior impulse. Our means of survival, the sex act, galvanizes the body into a unique state of existence, which, though transient, becomes the essence of being; the concentration of an idea, the heightening of sense, the ultimate dissolution.

How to write this purposeful transformation? How to write this instantaneous, ephemeral shattering of perception? This is the task of pornography. Our project will present the body in its most extreme of forms and behaviour, all of which demonstrate the human attempt to satisfy, and solve, the oft-inchoate needs of our psychology and physicality. We seek papers which deal with pornography as condition, symptom, addiction, spectacle, product, simulacrum. Above all as a fundamentalism embedded in the very structures of representation, knowledge, non-knowledge and the unpresentable.

Contributors include Georges Bataille, Johannes Birringer, Karmen MacKendrick, Benjamin H. Bratton, Lara Portela, Louis Armand, Stewart Home, Jane Lewty, Thierry Tillier, Ruark Lewis, Malwina Zaremba, Darren Tofts, Bonita Rhoads, Stuart Kendall, Ian Haig, Jena Jolissaint, Pierre Daguin, Vadim Erent, Florian Cramer, Beth Lazroe, Andar Nunes.


Louis Armand is director of the Centre for Critical & Cultural Theory in the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University, Prague. His books include Literate Technologies (2006); Event States (2007); and Incendiary Devices: Discourses of the Other (2006).

Jane Lewty has lectured at University College, London, and the University of Northern Iowa. She is currently working as a freelance writer.

Andrew Mitchell is assistant professor of Philosophy at Emory University specializing in the work of Martin Heidegger, Friedrich Nietzsche, and the continental philosophical tradition. He has published on the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, and Bataille, as well as on the work of James Joyce and the films of Fassbinder.

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