[ #ReFi96 matters of fact, matters of concern ]

0 Posted by - November 5, 2014 - Tracks

AIME: Matters of fact, matters of concern:

- 1 – These phrases – written in English in the French inquiry – are used as a reminder that we are not talking about an ontological region distinct from others, but about a particularly strange institution, typical of the first empiricism and which is a complex amalgam of politics, economics, the history of art, perspective drawing, still life painting and an entire aesthetics of distance and lighting where objects stand out against a background, in front of a subject, in order to present themselves to the judgements of knowledge.

- 2 – The term of “matters of fact” is rendered technical in aime to describe what happens to beings when their trajectories are erroneously merged with their immutable mobiles, grasped in [ref] form. The most common case, and it is far from unique, is when we mistakenly assume that the repetition of [rep] beings should resemble the spatio-temporal continuity of the inscriptions necessary for the deployment of scientific networks; this confusion, at the root of the bifurcation of nature, has had cascading consequences that aime attempts to highlight.

- 3 – Talking of “matters of concern” does not mean that we give up one aspect of “matters of fact”, namely the – crucial – distinction between fact and artifact. Verification – “it is not an artifact” – does not, however, lead to a suspension of subsequent discussions. This is where the concept of a fact as distinct from an artifact turns into something else entirely: facts silence.

- 4 – The expression “Matters of concern” emphasizes the “material” character that is forgotten when we use the phrase “matter of fact”. Each existent can define itself in the first place as a [net], which is to say a network, then as a “thing” (a case, cause or controversy, “an issue”), and finally as a “public thing” which requires a particular type of assembly. Matters of fact are a particular sub-set of matters of concern because even when we manage to define that which is not open – or is no longer open – to discussion, we maintain the position of interlocution inside which the appeal to facts is always stated.

- 5 – As Austin noted so masterfully (Austin, 1970), the constative, so important in epistemological politics, is, on the contrary, a powerful enunciative vector by which we take position to be an unquestionable and obstinate presence. That obstinacy and unquestionability is violently assumed by discourse which is always a reaction to an implied opponent. This is why there is little sense in opposing performatives and constatives: the illocutionary force of the latter is just as powerful.

- 6 – What explains, in part, without justifying, the invention of matters of fact is that [rep] traces a vector that comes out of nowhere – reproduced without leaving a trace – going nowhere – without prediction or anticipation. The vectorized nature of [rep] beings can easily be avoided, therefore, and confused with an eternal present, a “simply there” – whence the appetite for “still life” that feeds the fantasy of matters of facts via a detour through the history of art and painting in particular.

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