Structures of allusion
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- authorship dispositif heterogeneity immanence montage sinuosity
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- May 2009
The context: Originally written in 1998 for the monograph “Guillaume Paris, selected works, 1988–1998”, ISBN 2-95141444-0-4, under the pseudonym J.D. Layton, the following essay was an attempt to define and theorize the notion of “dispositif”, a termed I venture to use in order to define a signifying strategy resolutely different from the historically determined notion of “installation”. The essay was written out of necessity, in order to create a critical context for the reception for my own work, which at the time, did not seem to exist. It is interesting to note that, ten years later, the term “dispositif” is very frequently used in the lexical field of both social sciences and art criticism in France. In that context, the notion is mostly derived from Michel Foucault's usage of the term. Although written in English, I maintained the French word in the text for its conceptual specificity, which I found impossible to translate. In order to establish key issues pertaining to notions of non-closure (an intentional critical positioning with regards to dialectical closure), I quoted freely from François Jullien's analysis of immanence and sinuosity in classical Chinese thought and culture. I found that it had a lot to do with the approach I was trying to define – which is, of course, what I have endeavored to implement in my own artistic practice. The method: The essay was written under a pseudonym (J.D. Layton being, we were told a “film-maker based in Amsterdam whose latest film Italics Mine will be released in the fall of the year 2000”) so as to re-enact within the text – and the catalogue – the sinuosity under discussion and at play within the work at large. The monograph in which it first appeared featured three other texts by fictitious authors, creating a heterogeneous chorus of non-converging voices, a textual analogy to the work's semantics and its unfolding in space.
Written by: J.D. Layton Guillaume Paris
Other articles in: JVAP Volume 8 Issue 1&2, Journal of Visual Art Practice