Ça va pas?! #3
Stay in touch!
This third exchange in the series Ça va pas?! proposed by Marta Ponsa brings together the philosopher Catherine Malabou and the artist Patty Chang.
Stay in touch!
Our relationship to the world goes through our bodies. They allow us to meet others and to manifest our relationships by affirming our individuality.
What happens when our bodies are locked up? Our mouths are closed, our hands are gloved, touching the other is forbidden?
The pandemic changes our relationship to our bodies which must be protected, as well as our social relationships. If touch becomes a violation of the rules, how can a new subjectivity be built from a distance?
A presentation by the philosopher Catherine Malabou, entitled Sacralisation, profanation, contagion: what is touching? will focus on the notion of the untouchable echoing the biopolitical management of this pandemic. Patty Chang will present her recent artistic work, a performative approach to the notion of community through the body and the fears that bring us together and connect us.
Catherine Malabou is a professor of philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, at Kingston University, UK, and in the departments of Comparative Literature and European Languages and Studies at UC Irvine. Malabou’s research and writing covers a range of figures and issues, including the relationship between philosophy, neuroscience, and psychoanalysis, and concepts of essence and difference within feminism. Her last books include Before Tomorrow: Epigenesis and Rationality (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2016, trans. Carolyn Shread) Morphing Intelligence, From IQ to IA, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018,trans. Carolyn Shread), and Le Plaisir effacé, Clitoris et pensée, (Rivages, 2020).
Sacralization, profanation, contagion: What is touching ?
The relationship between the sacred and the profane has become a major issue in contemporary philosophy. In Roman law, sacred meant “untouchable”. To profane something or someone consisted in touching it or them. In our current epoch, biopolitics has restricted contagion to a mere biological fact. Gloves and corpse bags have replaced the profanating fingers. The contagious living being is separated, quarantined, isolated, but abandoned — and then paradoxically resacralized. How are the juridical and religious notions of the sacred and the profane secretly haunting the biopolitical management of the pandemic ? How is it possible to reinvent a concept of touching that would be liberated from the sacred/profane duality ?
Patty Chang is a Los Angeles based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation and narrative forms when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructural projects and impacted subjectivities. Her work has been exhibited internationally at such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, England; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Times Museum in Guangzhou, China; and Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. She has received a United States Artist Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant, a Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship in the Visual Arts at the American Academy in Berlin, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and an Anonymous Was a Woman Grant. She teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.