Dane Weatherman

Imagination, Blindness & Experience: Revolutionary ways to harm yourself

How do literature and visual culture signify each other, how do they experience each other? How does a ransacking of your empirical identity constitute a possibly vital political art? And what is the nature of experience? This paper will examine these questions with focus on William Blake, Hélène Cixous, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe as well as using the myth of Echo and Narcissus as an overarching narrative tool. It will argue that one of the most enigmatic tendencies in art and literature is a tendency towards self-harm (Oedipus, Hieronymo, Van Gogh etcetera etcetera), and that this is part of certain wider historical relations to empiricism and epistemology, with art as a tool of counter-rupture. It will take as a starting point Blake’s Innocence and Experience, and will frame the idea of experience as deeply connected with the concept of poetry (as Lacoue-Labarthe demonstrates). It will try to demonstrate the incredibly revolutionary potential of Cixous’ feminist writing, and will suggest that any kind of art with such tendencies as outlined in the paper, and any art that is brought directly into praxis through the body can be an extraordinarily revolutionary force.