Conclusion: Code Unknown — A Bastard Theory for a Bastard Art

  • John Mullarkey


It is in his Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life that Allan Kaprow writes of the process of ‘un-arting’ or the taking of ‘art out of art’, which he describes as that ‘act or thought whose identity as art must forever remain unknown’. Art’s identity comes through not being self-identical. What will be the great dramatic work of tomorrow, for instance? This work, according to Bergson, is ‘not yet possible’, but it ‘will have been possible’ in the future anterior where such things exist.2 Such things are unforeseeable, unrecognizable. The becoming of being again. Can’t we say the same for philosophy? To dephilosophize or unphilosophize, to embrace the insult of being ‘unphilosophical’ as one’s own, because the alternative of being recognized as ‘proper’ comes at the cost of also being a cliché. This is not to romanticize a reflex negation of all philosophy following Wittgenstein or Rorty, but the necessary change of orientation that is the only way to enact a new philosophy. According to Alain Badiou, there are no events in philosophy, not real ones anyway — but there are. Just as a political event redefines what we mean by the political (a view he shares with Jacques Rancière), so too a philosophical event will redraw the map of non- philosophy and philosophy.3 Socratic unknowing, or the methodological agnosticism practised in Laruelle’s non-philosophy, is not about weaving exotic mysteries just for the sake of failing, for the sheer lack of it, but to create something new in the name of what could become ‘philosophy’.4


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Copyright information

© John Mullarkey 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Mullarkey
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DundeeScotland

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