(poetics and politics of art) aims to provide a meeting ground
for theorists interrogating the links between art, language
and society, and convinced of the necessity of such an interrogation
in any conceptualisation of life.
Art as problem
In this perspective, art – which includes
literature – is considered as a problem. This implies
that the activity within Polart is a critical activity, aimed
therefore towards the identification of the issues at stake.
This point of view refuses the precondition of a definition
of art as object, but conversely it requires the consideration
of definitions of art, as symptoms of these issues.
In this sense, considering art as a problem does not mean
that art is defined as a problem, but that it is
taken as a problem. The question is not to define
an object, but a status.
A poetics of art
Elaborating a poetics of art presupposes
that language is the primary concern when taking on the question
of art. The starting point here is Émile Benveniste’s idea
that language, in its discursive activity – in its historical
activity therefore – is the interprétant of society.
And not only of society, but of any human activity. This position,
which affirms the anthropological primacy of language, considers
necessarily that a poetics of art constructs a théorie
d’ensemble : an integral problematics which holds together
the full range of the questions that constitute the human
But the term “poetics”, crucially, implies a relationship
to literature. This relationship is critical, in the sense
that in literature (or in what is designated as literature),
language is not the vehicle of a thought content, but an activity
which makes the linguistic, the ethical and the political
planes inseparable from each other. More precisely, we can
talk of “literature” – or of the “poem”, in Henri Meschonnic’s
sense of the word – when, in a discourse, language is
Art – a test question for the
A poetics of art therefore necessarily calls
into question the status of language in the human and social
sciences, and observes what becomes of the issue of literature
and of art within these discourses, as they generate not only
theoretical problems but also problems about epistemological
legitimacy in the critical field. (Ethnology, literary criticism,
psychoanalysis, sociology, history of religions, etc.)
This makes art a major testing ground for the human sciences
and the social sciences, in particular when it comes to thinking
about the relationship between the individual and the social.
It implies a diagnosis of the questions which these discursive
fields are currently asking, by looking at their relationship
to art and literature, from the point of view of language.
This will have the effect of clearly situating the discourses
which try to impose their hegemony in the field of the anthropological,
and of constituting a critical force in opposition to the
current consensus on the general crisis of knowledges today.
Polart – critical project
On this basis, Polart’s objective is to
constitute a common theoretical reference which every member
will bring to bear within their various disciplinary fields.
The discussion with theorists from other positions, or those
holding views that differ from those of Polart, is necessary
to the common critical project : it will be conducted in the
form of specific seminars or collaborations. Open dialogue
is a necessity for Polart’s critical project. Polart is not
a closed, unified space ; it is not a power base. In its collective
vocation, it is first and foremost a utopian space,
open to the necessity of displacement.
The critique of critique
Insofar as Polart aims to engage with the
present, its theoretical activity has to include a critical
involvement with current critical thinking. The idea is to
take the opportunity of current events (new publications,
media campaigns, public debates, political decisions, etc.)
to build a response to the discourses that wield the knowledges
they produce to exercise power.
Journal et forum
All news concerning Polart will be posted on the weblog Polart – poétique
et politique de l’art. This will include announcements about :
- new publications (whether by Polart or other authors)
- courses and seminars (by Polart or other scholars)
- academic, intellectual or artistic events
- topical periodical articles or special issues, radio or TV programmes, websites…
- and the forum