Fictioneering Rogues, or The End of the Artist


The thesis establishes a sovereign artist figure, which operates through fictionalisation. It is suggested that the figure of the artist is free to be anything in tenor with the movement of emancipation in modern art. This sovereignty is mapped on to the concept of sovereignty – particularly Bataille’s concept of sovereign subjectivity – and read against his notion of a restricted economy of purpose and a general economy of excess. The double movement is explored via Derrida to suggest a self-ruinous, sovereign subjectivity. This subject is then relocated in terms of political sovereignty to suggest a privileged artistic subject of decision, whose transgression is similar in structure to that of the political sovereign. The sovereignty of the artist is thought of in terms of Bataillean ‘useless self-expenditure’ as a ‘counter-sovereign sovereignty’. Laughter is seen as a key attribute. The self-ruin, implied in Derrida’s concept of ‘autoimmunity’, is conceived as a falling sovereignty, which implicates the world in a contagious comedy. This comedy unfolds in a materialism of literature as a Bataillean ‘sovereign operation’. From Derrida’s understanding of the sovereign phantasm as a speech-act, it is suggested that the political sovereignty of power operates within the same materialism. Power is understood to unfold as spectacle on the same order as the shenanigans of the artist comedian. Ultimately, the contagion of laughter is seen as the true counter-sovereign operation. This comedy of falling is borne out in the supplement. The papers document how the researcher lost consecutive court cases while writing. In the first, against an author and his publishing house, he lost ownership of his identity. In the second he was taken to court as he refused to be held accountable for actions attributed to that identity. The posturing in the court cases is revealed as a comedy, but with real consequences

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    This paper was published in Goldsmiths Research Online.

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