Against Architecture: The Writings of Georges Bataille by Dennis Hollier

By Dennis Hollier

During the last 30 years the writings of Georges Bataille have had a profound impression on French highbrow suggestion, informing the paintings of Foucault, Derrida, and Barthes, between others. opposed to structure bargains the 1st severe interpretation of this tough philosopher, spelling out the profoundly unique and radical nature of Bataille's paintings.

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Asks Goethe. " Starting from this definition, one may say that the sacred as the aim of this union, and this union itself, constitute the first content of independent architecture. The most familiar example of this is in the legend of the Tower of Babel. In the distant valleys of the Euphrates, people con­ structed an enormous architectural work; all mankind worked on it in com­ mon, and this community was at the same time both the aim and the content of the work. 1 0 We would have to know more than we do about the composition of the text of the Aesthetics to draw any certain conclusions from this, but it is not beside the point to note that in "The Symbolic Form of Art" there was no mention of the Tower of Babel or any similar sort of building.

1 1 The death that, elsewhere, he called in some sense an imposture. " 12 Writing on is laboriously doing everything possible to grasp this reality. Writing on Bataille is thus intensifying death's imposture, first by not recognizing it, that is by taking it seriously (as if death, something -that does not allow of being considered an event, could put an end to the play of writing), then by profiting from it. Every one of Bataille's statements heralds the repetition that will erase it. From the moment of its formulation every statement is shaken by its disappearance.

Beginnings come before origins. At least for anyone who sticks to the traditional facts. Hegel will not do this, but will himself produce the origin of architecture, going to great lengths through a critique of this tradi­ tion to fix a beginning that would be, literally, original; that is, a be­ ginning whose attributes are the simplicity and immediacy implied by any inaugural or first position. Whereas, on the contrary, both house 7 The Tower of Babel and temple are constituted according to a complex structure of me­ diation.

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