Oxana Timofeeva

Oxana Timofeeva | This Is Not That: Soldiers And Prostitutes

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Moscow. Kursky railway station. Summer 2015. In the waiting room a vending machine attracts my attention. It looks like many other vending machines, which usually sell water or coffee. But this is painted in camouflage, green and gray, and it sells Russian dog tags. That’s how military identification tags are informally called in English, because of their resemblance to actual dog tags. Today Russian soldiers wear metal, oval dog tags which contain the title ВС РОССИИ (“Armed Forces of Russia”) and an alphanumeric individual number. The machine advertises this object as a fancy and cool accessory. One can buy it for 400 roubles, together with a chain, to wear as a decoration, or with a ring, to use for one’s keys. If you wear this tag, you will be like a real Russian soldier. Every real soldier must have a tag. With his tag, his dead body will be identified.

In the past the train running from St. Petersburg to Donetsk stopped at this station. Now this unpopular destination has been cancelled. But in the fall 2014 I once took this train from St. Petersburg to Kursky station in Moscow. It was the cheapest second-class sleeping car, 900 rubles, no privacy whatsoever, but pretty ok beds. It was a day-long journey, during which, according to the old good Soviet tradition, one is supposed to engage in nice, warm conversation with a fellow traveler, without introducing yourself. Next to me there was a guy from Rostov. As is customary, we were drinking strong black tea with sugar, and the guy shared some sunflower seeds with me. He told me that he had moved to St. Petersburg and settled down, working as a sales manager. He was thinking of bringing the rest of his family over time, because, although, in general, life was still pretty safe around Rostov, there were some shootings now and then.

At some point, a small group of soldiers passed through the carriage. For some unknown reason, everyone, including myself, pretended not to notice them. My fellow traveler also kept talking. But I caught something in his eyes, like a very brief shift in focus, which I did not bother to interpret. These guys were so young, and the clothes they wore looked somehow excessively heavy. The thoughts that come to mind at the sight of soldiers in thick camouflage on the train to the Donbass in the fall of 2014, must be immediately repressed. One cannot dare to think these thoughts. No, this cannot be that. This might be mere Army conscripts going back home from their service, or something else. Anything but that. The soldiers had already disappeared towards a platform, slipping away like phantoms, and only a strange recollection remained, like the subtle smell of earth. Real solders with real dog tags, which they get for free.

Some touch of both anxiety and curiosity, raised by the sudden appearance of military personnel among civilians, feels somewhat embarrassing. It resembles this feeling when, sometimes, you see prostitutes from Russia or Ukraine, who are about to take flight to some rich Western countries for their work. One could say that they are the same as all other passengers, standing in the same line for the check-in desk, but there is something in their appearance – maybe their high heels, or their hair, or their make-up, or some details of their dress – and it gives away their involvement in another, unknown, dangerous world, the world of having sex with strangers for money. We cast our eyes down: no, this is not that, real prostitutes are somewhere else, where no one sees them, – and this is just some random aberration, someone is just dressed up too sexy.

Soldiers are the prostitutes of war. Just like prostitutes, they belong to another, sacred world. This world is based on the violation of a prohibition, be it the prohibition of sex or of murder. Just like the body of the prostitute, the body of the soldier is obscene and exposed to violence. Just like a prostitute, a soldier dwells in the area where average people do not go of their own accord. He is always somewhere else – in a zone of a military conflict, a flash point. The violence of war and sex is not meant for human eyes, – that’s what we think. If this is a spectacle, then it is sublime and can only be observed from a safe distance. The sublime is, according to Schelling, related to the uncanny, unheimlich: that which ought to remain secret, but which has come to light. The sublime uncanniness of war and sex violence. To be more precise, in modern times this domain is not called sacred, but unconscious, as if what previously was external and social has now become internal and individual, and it gives itself away through the language of symptoms. As Georges Bataille used to say – and he was right – in modern times the unconscious replaces the archaic sacred, or rather interiorizes it. In this way, forbidden areas, previously reserved for the sacred, do not disappear – instead, now the sublime uncanniness of the brothel and war has its internal agent within us, transforming the memory of our heart into a monstrous phantasm.

The function of mediation between this and that world – between an average man and a prostitute or a soldier – is taken by porn, which, as a privileged medium, gives us updates from the front of forbidden violence. Prostitutes are being raped in sex porn, and soldiers are being killed in so-called war porn. The visual evidence of war consists of dismembered bodies and dis-bodied members, spread legs and hands, breasts, open mouths without faces – in a word, what in psychoanalysis are called partial objects. War porn provides the mold for other forms of porn involved in the capitalist production and consumption of pleasures. A permanent condition of our life is the capitalist economy, which paradoxically finds its balance through an endless imperialist war roaming about the world – from Vietnam to Afghanistan, from Iraq to Palestine, from Ukraine to Syria. War in capitalism is a production line which provides partial objects for a great deal of porn. It is in that world of forbidden violence that the encounter between the soldier and the prostitute takes place.

But what is the difference, one would ask, between the archaic sacred and the modern unconscious? The difference is that the place of the archaic sacred is always somewhere else, beyond the border of prohibition, whereas the unconscious is always right here, without even “having a place” – what is forbidden and untouchable is at the same time the closest, the most intimate. What is the most frightening and alien is some truth about ourselves. With this impossible truth, we establish a relation of negation, repression, or rejection: this is not that. Anything but that.

“You ask who this person in the dream can be. It’s not my mother,” says the patient. To this, Freud adds: “So it is his mother.” [1] There are things which, according to Freud, can come to the light of consciousness only in negative form: “Thus the content of a repressed image or idea can make its way into consciousness, on condition that it is negated. Negation is a way of taking cognizance of what is repressed <…>. The outcome of this is a kind of intellectual acceptance of the repressed, while at the same time what is essential to the repression persists.”[2] In the dream-like language of the unconscious “no” simply means “yes.”

“This is not war”, – was said, when the situation between Russia and Ukraine was formally discussed, not only by Russian propaganda in the mass media, but by all interested sides, such as European and American officials. From the ATO to permanent breaches of the peace agreement signed in September 2014, in Minsk, for more than one year, this was called anything but war. “With whom is Ukraine at war?” This was the question a journalist asked Maria Gaidar, hired as deputy chair of the state government of Odessa. It was not easy to answer this question. Officially there were no Russian troops in Ukraine. With whom was Ukraine at war? With itself? With no one? The truth of the war is like the navel of a dream, which reveals itself through negation, by this repeated “this is not that”.

When they say, “this is not war”, it is not a lie (we are trapped in a self-referential paradox, also known as the liar paradox – but that’s what happens when we try to bring anything to light by means of language, since it is language which, by lying, speaks the truth). So, this is not a lie, it is negation in the Freudian sense – an attempt by the unconscious to say, yes, this is that. Thus, through the lie of media, we get a kind of inverted access to the truth of the social repressed. “No” is a paradoxical “yes” of the undeclared war, its peculiar evidence, together with other evidence, like groups of armed soldiers found in the territory of another state, or fresh anonymous or mass graves, or dead corpses with or without their dog tags, or negative evidence of those who have gone and never came back.

Another form of evidence is refugees. As the war goes on, it produces tectonic movements of people. Civilians run away from the places where combatants come. Those who can run, run, taking along with them what they can take. What or whom they cannot take, they leave – there are always those who do not want to leave their land, or those with whom running and crossing borders would be impossible or too difficult. Soldiers enter the cities and take selfies with abandoned cats, whose owners disappeared, escaped, or died. Prostitution is a privileged form of employment in territories invaded by soldiers. When factories, schools, hospitals and shops are closing, there is no great choice of potential workplaces. It also gets cheaper. Sex workers in war zones are ready to provide more services for less money. But they are also trying to escape to neighboring places.

As an unknown pimp reported, the Moscow black market for sex enjoyed very good times because of the invasion of people from Ukrainian cities and villages. He suggested that, for a sex worker, it is nicer to be from Donetsk or Lugansk than from Western Ukraine, because costumers feel much more compassionate towards them, whereas sex workers from the west are massively abused. One could probably explain this not only through nationalism but also through the idea of an alleged difference between refugees and economic migrants – those from the east seem to be fleeing war, whereas those from the west are simply fleeing poverty.

In Europe now, there are great attempts to apply this formal, abstract difference to real people running from the south. “Are these people really trying to escape from war, or they are just travelling in search of a better life?” That’s what they ask, addressing one and the same crowd of huddled masses, half of whom will be grabbed and sent back to their devastated homelands to try once more to live there, and the other half, the lucky ones, will get the appropriate status and join the growing army of cheap labor, whose basic, paradigmatic case is prostitution. In Russia now people from Lugansk and Donetsk are cleaning houses, doing laundry, renovating flats, etc. The supply of labor is huge; the prices are ridiculously low in this highly competitive market. No, there are no Russian troops and there never were any on their land. This is not war, this is just business.

In a way, our day to day reality is itself this negation, this horrified “no” to what is really happening. We think we live our lives as the civilian population of peaceful territories, whereas the war is somewhere outside. It is not here, not in Russia, not in St. Petersburg, but somewhere far away, in Donetsk or in Damascus, beyond the border. This border between the outside and the inside coincides with the imaginary border of the sacred, beyond which anything can happen. But in the non-place of the unconscious the inside and the outside coincide, and the territories of alleged peace, like my city, St. Petersburg, turn out to be nothing but a symptom of the war that is negated. We say: anything but war, and try to stick to this anything, which is just the negative of war. This is not a peaceful territory, but the home front. The war has been negated, pushed outside and repressed, in order to be found again as our deep interior.

The home front of our everyday life is a distorted mirror of that undeclared front where soldiers are being lost and prostitutes are being found. In St. Petersburg, I live next door to the Artillery Academy. From early morning till evening, big groups of conscripts, two by two, pass up and down my street. Every day I see them out my window. They are very young and dressed in uniforms. Recently I was cleaning my window, and they were looking at me, smiling and waving at me. I laughed and waved back – I’ve gotten used to them now. But a year ago, when I had just moved there from Berlin, these armed boys in uniforms walking up and down the street made me think that this might be a rehearsal for war, or maybe the beginning of war. No, this was not a rehearsal, or, rather, to say “this is a rehearsal” is just another way of saying: “this is not war”.

In the Russian language, for “rehearsal” we say “repetition”. Yes, sometimes language has these strange effects. A rehearsal rehearses something for the future, whereas a repetition repeats something from the past. The dialectic of rehearsal and repetition is thus to be found in translation. Recently I saw how they coincide – it was a parade of military technology in St. Petersburg on Victory Day, the 9th of May, 2015. Huge crowds, thousands of people, were on the streets – entire families with their babies, saluting the tanks with happy tears of patriotism, and with slogans: “We will repeat, if there is need!” Glamorous girls with bronze legs and plastic lips taking selfies, sitting on the knees of soldiers dressed in uniforms of the Soviet Army from the period of WWII. Civilians were both rehearsing and repeating a phantasmatic scenario corresponding to a universal death drive – a desire for a world where all men are soldiers and all women are prostitutes. This phantasmatic scenario of war points either to the past or to the future, or it points somewhere else, in order to mask the fact that “this is it”, here and now.

I have a big glass mirror, which is more than 100 years old. People say that old, silver-based mirrors keep on their inner surface a sort of record of what was happening in front of them. I ask this big, silent piece of furniture: What have you seen, mirror? I imagine it saw a lot. It might even have seen the worst, the blockade of 1941-1944, human beings losing their minds, eating other human beings, falling dead from hunger. I am living in the city which survived, in any way it could, a full military blockade. Some people are still alive and remember these 872 days in Leningrad. These people never throw out food. One of them was Rauza Galimova, 81 years old. On the 3rd of February, 2015, she was taken by the security guards of a small supermarket. A cashier suspected her of stealing 3 packs of dairy butter. She was brought to the police station, where she was treated badly and immediately died of a heart attack. 3 packs of butter, 50 roubles each. The price of a dog tag at Kursky railway station is almost 10 times higher. No, this is not that.

When one mirror is placed in front of the other, these two mirrors produce the effect of a corridor of infinity. That’s how our military unconscious is structured, as it mirrors the Real of the war. Each war repeats and rehearses some other war; wars reflect one another – thus, an obsessive repetition of the Afghan scenario in a Donetsk mode turns out to be a repetition before the Damascus premiere. And we stand in between these mirrors, as if caught in an infinite loop. We, peaceful inhabitants of the home front.


[1] Sigmund Freud, “Negation,” in On Metapsychology, The Pelican Freud Library, vol. 11 (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1977), 437.

[2] Ibid., p. 437-438.

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In the initial formulation of the notion of Revolutionary Situation (in his article Mayovka of the Revolutionary Proletariat) Lenin describes two conditions for a Revolutionary Situation, which were later summarized as “the bottoms don’t want and the tops cannot live in the old way”. Later, Lenin adds one more condition: the readiness of masses for revolutionary action. In his text Left-Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder he even claims that for the victory of Revolution it is necessary that the majority of workers are ready to meet death in their struggle. The greatest of Lenin’s achievements was to proclaim, at some point, that the revolutionary situation is now and not somewhere in the future.

Let’s forget for a moment about the tops and the bottoms, and concentrate on these verbs: “don’t want”, “cannot”, “are ready” (to act, to meet death). Here, we deal with unwillingness, impossibility, and mobilization. Living in the old way is not desirable any more, and it is not possible, so that one is ready for everything. That’s what I call despair.

The border between hope and despair is very subtle. There can be a moment where they are almost indiscernible, but right after this moment – when THIS is not only undesirable, but impossible, and absolutely unbearable, – in brief, when hope slips away, or rather leaps into despair – there is a point of no return. Only those who are desperate are ready to die in this struggle – not because they hope for a better future, but because they cannot stay in the present. Desperation simply means that things cannot stay like this. And here is the difference – until there is no hope, true revolutionary action is postponed.

There are three types of hope:

  • That things will get better (and therefore we should either patiently wait and do nothing, or even support the status quo – to prevent changes which can bring about a bad outcome);
  • That things will get better if we struggle (that is, we can make the world better, improve it);
  • That things will get worse (they are not so bad now, the future will produce more trouble, a revolutionary situation will follow, we must prepare ourselves for it, etc.);

The first kind of hope is conservative and reactionary, the second progressively reformist (and functions effectively, making а perfect balance between capitalism and social-democratic struggles), and the third one – messianic. Thus, operaists or accelerationists are convinced that capitalism inevitably leads to a catastrophe, that things will finally get so bad that it will provoke a revolutionary situation, giving us a chance: capitalism will destroy itself, and we must either wait for this moment of self-destruction, or else hurry it along. The moment of the greatest catastrophe and the greatest danger is in the future (which means that while our present might look not so nice, it is still, somehow, tolerablе – in comparison to, say, an ecological catastrophe which will happen in the very near future, as was shown in the recent film Interstellar by Christopher Nolan, and other Hollywood movies).

Catastrophic communism rejects all three kinds of hope. No, this situation will not miraculously get better, and we cannot improve it and make it more tolerable, since capitalism is fundamentally wrong (little improvements in the condition of the working class in Sweden are balanced by hyper-exploitation in India, etc.), and it cannot really get worse because it is already the worst, there is no salvation. This is the situation of despair, or a revolutionary situation, when one cannot, does not want, and is ready for everything. Forget about the future, you are fighting not because you hope to improve your condition, but because this condition cannot be tolerated. You act out of impossibility. A desperate person can move mountains – it’s not hope which gives her this force, but anger, solitude, hunger, extreme unhappiness, pain, the unbearableness of her desire or need.

One does not have hope, one is doomed, but this is so fundamentally and absolutely wrong and unjust, that one simply cannot stay in this hopeless and desperate situation, he is urged to act here and now, this cannot be postponed.

As soon as we consider ourselves as living beings, we always have reason to postpone acting – once one is alive, there is hope (at the very least a miracle can happen). In the contemporary vitalist biopolitical regime life is recognized as a sacred value, and Lenin’s idea of readiness for death for the revolutionary cause sounds almost criminal. Nothing, no political ideas and ideals can be as sacred as individual human life, they say: there are always alternative ways of life and forms of life which are to be praised.

But what if we are not alive? The zombie is the one who is dead, who therefore does not have any hope, but still has a desire, and consciousness, or bodily feeling, or even a kind of instinct or inertia related to the fact that the extreme injustice of his situation cannot be tolerated – this is the ultimate despair. As already dead, he just cannot live, and that is what, paradoxically, makes him undead, or a living dead. His decomposing body is not individual any more, it does not belong to any person. А zombie does not have an individual life, nothing to take care of, and yet he does not consent to rest, he still desires, and his impersonal body acts.

When we think about the zombie apocalypse, we tend to identify with the survivors (forgetting, for example, that in capitalism one survives at the expense of the other – isn’t this fact already absolutely unbearable?), but what if we are not among those happy survivors? What if we are already on the other side? Forget hope: revolution starts in hell.


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Texts // Oxana Timofeeva

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Slavoj Zizek in a dialogue with Oxana Timopheeva: DON’T WORRY, THE CATASTROPHY WILL ARRIVE

Кто сказал «Сакральное», Published here: https://xz.gif.ru/numbers/71-72/who-said/view_print/ 


Безработная негативность (Опыт политической онтологии искусства), Published here: https://xz.gif.ru/numbers/67-68/opyt-politicheskoy/

Политика против ритуала


 From the “Inoperative Community” to the “Workgroup”


What do we have in common? A Fictional Panel Discussion


Химера суверенности: между Шмиттом и Батаем


Революция как открытый проект


Капитализм как религия левых?


“Animals” and “animalities”: an outline of history


L’art contemporain : entre croyance religieuse et politique


Кони в законе


Белое биополитическое бессознательное


Communisms’ afterlife


Мысль как точка перехода: Хайдеггер в мире философов

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Мысль как точка перехода: Хайдеггер в мире

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Возможность редукции философской мысли к политическому содержанию – разоблачают ли ее, или, напротив, «берут на щит» — вселяет тревогу, как если бы некий первородный грех заставлял нас делать сложный выбор между ответственностью и виной. Так, Жорж Батай, понимая, что мысль – если она свободна и не знает ограничений – это риск, и что она может завести нас куда угодно, даже туда, куда бы нам совсем не хотелось, загодя принимал «вину» (и, однако, не сделался от этого «фашистом»). Хайдеггер, осознавая те же риски, брал на себя ответственность едва ли не за само бытие в его истине – а в итоге оказался «виновным». Его «вина» является предметом нескончаемой и крайне запутанной дискуссии о политических импликациях философского дискурса, в которой на стороне «защиты» оказываются отнюдь не только приверженцы национал-социалистической идеологии, но и те, кто, признавая право этой неудобной фигуры занимать важное место в истории западноевропейской мысли, пытаются примирить Хайдеггера и демократию как нормативный идеал наших дней.

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Oxana Timofeeva // Communisms’ afterlife

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The ghost of communism wandering across post-Soviet Russia in the dress of contemporary art engenders heated discussions on the role of an artist in society. And in the manner of a brief introduction, I would like to provide a hint of this local discussion in order to give you some insight into the context we are dealing with. First of all I have to say that I’m a member of the group Chto Delat, which aims to combine art practice and theory with political activism. As soon as our group appeared and made itself known on the Russian art scene, we were immediately blamed by the milieu for openly supporting a leftist political discourse and program. Thinking about our experience of survival in that jungle has led me to prepare some considerations related to the question of how to understand the afterlife of communism. In characterizing the relationship between art and life, we have to avoid two extremes – on the one hand, high-flying idea about the development of art according to its own inner laws and its own immanent logic, regardless of the context, and, on the other hand, explanations of all the facts of artistic life by its unilateral dependence on a social conjuncture. With the development of capitalism in Russia these two extremes stand out as two directions and two general intentions within the reflexive quarters of the field of contemporary art.

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Oxana Timofeeva // L’art contemporain : entre croyance religieuse et politique

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La popularité des raisonnements très subtils sur l’actualité du Christianisme, de l’Islam, du monothéisme, bref des croyances religieuses, dans les discours contemporains de l’Art, de la philosophie, de la théorie politique, est si évidente, qu’on ne peut s’empêcher de croire que ces raisonnements ne sont pas dépourvus de raison. L’ensemble des opinions compétentes atteint sa masse critique et forme une sorte de continuité discursive favorisant une rencontre entre la pensée progressiste et l’idéologie conservatrice, où la pathétique affirmation religieuse représentée comme politique va sans dire.

Ainsi, le communisme peut être légèrement comparé au christianisme antique, le marxisme au messianisme judaïque, le mouvement altermondialiste à l’islamisme de gauche. Mais il est trop facile d’identifier pratiques religieuses et politiques, et de les réduire l’une à l’autre. J’avoue que je ne partage pas cet état d’esprit, restant fidèle au mot de Marx, selon lequel la religion est l’opium du peuple.

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Oxana Timofeeva // “Animals” and “animalities”: an outline of history

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I would like to propose a kind of brief introduction to the historical analysis of different modes of theoretical representation of the animal. A critical genealogy of the discourse of animality in its philosophical, aesthetic and political aspects reprises the metaphysical tradition, which is based on the humanist model of subjectivity. The hidden figure of the animal occupies a truly strange place in the shadow of this tradition from antiquity to modernity.

To tell the truth, I came to this subject matter recently and in a roundabout way – when I was working on my PHD thesis and then afterwards on my book on eroticism in George Bataille. Trying to answer the question, ‘what does the word eroticism mean for Bataille?’, I noticed that he constantly repeats one formula: eroticism is something that distinguishes a human being from an animal.

Bataille is original in this point: as a rule, philosophers have always considered rational thought, language or, for example, consciousness of death as the criterion for such a distinction. But I should say straight away that I’m not involved in a search for the true criterion of distinction between humans and animals. What is much more interesting for me is how this borderline is produced in one or another discursive system.

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Oxana Timofeeva // From the “Inoperative Community” to the “Workgroup”

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Недостаточно, и с каждым днем мы понимаем это все лучше, стигматизировать заблуждения, ложь и преступления «реальных социализмов» как «национал-социализмов». Моральное и политическое проклятие – то, которое прежде всего репрезентирует уверенное и требовательное осознание «прав человека», всегда рискует маскировать под своей неоспоримой легитимностью эту другую легитимность, которая была и остается легитимностью нередуцируемого требования: чтобы мы могли говорить «мы», чтобы мы могли говорить нам мы (говорить это самим себе и говорить это друг другу), начиная с того момента, когда ни царь, ни Бог нам этого не говорят.

Жан-Люк Нанси. Бытие единичное множественное

The phenomenon of the “tusovka”[1] as a local form of being for the artistic and intellectual community may seem unique, but it appears exceptionally limited in the context of its epoch, especially if one understands “epoch” as the specific disposition of significance or significances whose sharing makes A and B into contemporaries. In reality, each “epoch” gives rise to its own models of communication, its own models for socializing creative labor, using the failures that discredit the experiences of the past as its point of departure.

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Капитализм как религия левых?

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Позволю себе начать словами, которые часто приходят мне на ум, когда речь заходит о религии (а речь о ней заходит все чаще):

Религиозное убожество есть в одно и то же время выражение действительного убожества и протест против этого действительного убожества. Религия – это вздох угнетенной твари, сердце бессердечного мира, подобно тому, как она – дух бездушных порядков. Религия есть опиум народа.

Сегодня мы можем сказать вслед за Марксом: религия капитализма – это сердце бессердечного мира капитализма. Бессердечного мира, в котором мы вынуждены жить и в котором не можем жить без того, чтобы верить в капитализм.
Вера – это не просто. Она не сводится лишь к иллюзии, или к заблуждению, или даже к идеологии, которая может меняться с достаточной быстротой. Разум не столько прибегает к вере, чтобы оправдать противоречия реальной жизни, сколько черпает из иррациональности веры свою рациональность. Вера для него – все равно, что капитал: ее также можно инвестировать во вполне реальные проекты.

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Революция как открытый проект

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Рецензия на книгу Магун А. Отрицательная революция: к деконструкции политического субъекта. СПб.: Издательство Европейского университета в Санкт-Петербурге, 2008.

Слово «революция» обладает почти непреодолимой валоризирующей силой. Оно часто используется как имя для того, что хотят наделить более или менее высокой ценностью, исторической и не только. Если же, напротив, желают редуцировать событие, отказать ему в признании, то лишают его этого громкого имени (и тогда пренебрежительно говорят, например, о «большевистском перевороте»). Действие силы слова «революция» распространяется как на тех, кого приводит в восторг ожидание перемен, так и на тех, кто слышит в нем угрозу кровавой бойни: называющие революцию абсолютным злом только поддерживают свойственную всякой сакрализации терминологическую горячность.

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Кони в законе

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Набросок к философии животного[1]

У этих зверей какая-то бессмысленная надежда; дураки они, самые настоящие дураки.

В книге девятой трактата «История животных» Аристотель описывает нравы зверей. Подчинение порядку репрезентации взрывоопасного буйства жизни требует терпеливого внимания к деталям, даже если они кажутся незначительными или неправдоподобными. Источниками знания о повадках тех или иных существ философу служат, помимо наблюдений, легенды, слухи, истории, рассказанные очевидцами и прочими знающими людьми. Имеющийся в изобилии и крайне разнородный эмпирический материал заслуживает бережного к себе отношения. Необходимо в первую очередь зафиксировать и учесть его, не упуская подробностей, не поддаваясь соблазну легкой редукции и не спеша с теоретическими обобщениями. Вот почему принципы классификации здесь еще не слишком жестки. Однако они есть. И один из таких принципов впоследствии будет назван антропным.

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What do we have in common? A Fictional Panel Discussion*

Posted in David Riff, Dmitry Vilensky, Artemy Magun, Oxana Timofeeva | 0 comments

A banner in the background announces the panel’s theme: “Creative Commons.” David is moderating. He is flanked by Artiom and Oxana on his right and Dmitry and Alexei on his left.


DAVID: What do we have in common? How can we redefine the common without falling back on commonplaces? Or are commonplaces the path to understanding how to free the common, to think the common freely? What would you say, Artiom?

ARTIOM: The common belongs to no one. It is a res nullius. Take the many empty lots in post-Soviet space. They are totally this-sided and profane, but as “zones” apart, they appear strangely sacral. The sacrality of the profane – isn’t this the true formula of democracy? The real common, the common beyond exchange, the common without the universal, lies beneath our feet at the exact place where it belongs to no one. The real question is actually how to keep this common from being taken over by bureaucracy or capitalism, and on the other hand, how to preserve the relationship to it: after all, once they are deeply involved in their private lives, people hardly notice the common void that chases all their particular little worlds away. In order to answer the question of how we can realize and maintain the existence of the common, we need to act in common. This action will not only realize the communal-mimetic potential that we have accumulated, but will be the first step taken toward a free common, owned by none.

DAVID: So how would you describe this communal-mimetic potential? Oxana?

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Белое биополитическое бессознательное

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Существуют две «генеральные линии» русского ультраправого дискурса. Первая, экзотическая – линия имперского национализма, антизападничества, евразийства – направлена в сторону мифического Востока; вторая, классическая – линия «арийства» и белого расизма – обращена на Запад. Если евразийцы и близкие им люди мыслят геополитически, в терминах захвата, поглощения и бесконечного разрастания государства (с большими оговорками, но часто вполне даже искренне желая видеть его мультиэтничным, мультикультурным и мультиконфессиональным), то «арийцы», сторонники расовой чистоты и здоровья нации, наиболее открыто ассоциируют свои идеи с фашизмом или расизмом и говорят друг с другом на языке биополитики. Оговорюсь, что слово «биополитика» я употребляю здесь не в том – вернее, не совсем в том – смысле, в каком употреблял его М. Фуко и употребляет Дж. Агамбен, но гораздо более узко и прямолинейно: как обозначение фундирования политики биологией (политика «крови»). В этом обзоре я сосредоточусь на сообществах и группах второго типа. Слово «расисты», пожалуй, является для них наиболее подходящим – оставляя за скобками неизбежную путаницу в терминах, порождаемую внутренними различиями между «фашистами», «неофашистами», «ксенофобами», «националистами» и другими представителями ультраправого радикализма, я буду говорить, в основном, о тех, кто по цвету (или по другим похожим характеристикам) делит людей на людей и не людей, или не вполне людей.

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