Biopolitics as event.

Lately I had been reading the book “Common Wealth” by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt . I am interested in how they explain the concept of “biopolitcs as event” and  specially, how they distinguish it from the concept of “event” in Alan Badiou.

The explanation of “biopolitics as event” connects to the work with “The Half”. It touches the idea that the performer is using his “body” movement to find a way to produce an” eventfull” presence in front of the audience. Eventful presence means that is an activity that needs to emerge it time anew and that therefore is linked to the forces of chance and indeterminacy.

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri find the term “biopolitic” in the writings of Michel Foucault. They  distinguish the term “biopower” from the term “biopolitic”. This is the way they express biopolitic:

None of these interpretations captures what for us is most important in Foucault’s notion of biopolitics. Our reading not only identifies biopolitics with the localized productive powers of life – that is, the production of affects and languages through social cooperation and the interaction of bodies and desires, the invention of new forms of the relation to the self and others, and so forth- but also affirms biopolitics as the creation of new subjectivities that are presented at once as resistance and de-subjectification.

The biopolitical event comes from the outside insofar as it ruptures the continuity of history and the existing order, but it should be understood not only negatively, as rupture, but also as innovation, which emerges , so to speak, from the inside.

Later on Hardt and Negri compares the notion of “event” in Badiou and Foucault.

In Badiou an event …acquires value and meaning primarily after it takes place. He thus concentrates on the intervention that retrospectively gives meaning to the event and the fidelity and generic procedures that continually refer to it. Foucault, in contrast, emphasizes the production and productivity of the event, which requires a forward – rather than backward – looking gaze. The event is to speak inside existence and the strategies that transverse it.

What I rescue from those excerpts is the idea that the event is  internal  to the subject/performer . The subject/performer will activate an event and not just recognize himself inside of a predetermined one. The performer is actively producing his manner of appearing.

How? Opening, throwing out, persistently the movement vocabulary (gestures, postures, and , energies)  stored in his body. By the same activity  he will be re inventing his unfolding movement habits.

For the activity of “unfolding movement habits”, the performer navigates between a  “visceral” and mind “attentiveness”. This awareness  feels the body changes, understands the way the body is being represented in front of the audience and re starts the awareness operation one more time, again and again.

I hope to find a way for audience to navigate the same type of “visceral and mind” attention. If that happens, the perception of audience will add to an overall movement of actualization of the event. Then audience may feel the power to actively re schuffle the performance perception and thus, feel that they can re invent it together with performers on stage.




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