Virno: The Dismeasure of Art

9 Jun 2017

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Free, please book your place.

Tropics Café, Grow Elephant

Bristol, United Kingdom


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In June we’re reading The Dismeasure of Art, an interview with Paolo Virno (2009). This discussion will be chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez.


Paolo Virno suggests that the common ground of society and art is about exploring new structures, new rules where the political and the aesthetic meet. He thinks that ‘general’ (or ‘common’) is a concept frequently confused with ‘universal’ in the fields of both art and philosophy. It would be very interesting to find out whether the common ground between art and politics could be understood here as a matter purely about form or whether it is also about content.

Virno explains on the one hand, that avant-garde art forms escape any proportional measure in the same way that the mass-production of goods in neo-capitalism. They both here have their own ungraspable grammar. On the other hand, the ‘common’ is not only something that occurs only “in between” two individuals but it is previous to the individual (as well). He asserts that the individual is a result of a movement that comes from the general under the jurisdiction of an ‘individuation principle’. The model for the ‘common’ that Paolo Virno uses is ‘language’, “which only exists within a community and that cannot exist apart from the community”. When language is the main tool for organizing, everything becomes aesthetic. The boundaries between aesthetics and policy are blurred because both are related with two forms of organization: the institutional and the police order.

[SYMPOSIUM] is a monthly free and open-access reading group for artists, curators, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone can propose a text and chair the reading group. Please visit the website to book a place and download the shared document.


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