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To Be or Not To Be … Arthur Cravan: subject, surface and difference

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This essay addresses the question of the counter-appropriation of cultural pose, identity and persona, and its symbolic nature, around the instance of the protodada poet and boxer Arthur Cravan. The individual subject is read as an effect of the social system preceding it, and so it is the same system that gives the subject its identity. The subject comes into being as a signifier active within and identified by the system – the late twentieth century expansion on structural marxism that constructs a logic of consumption around the sign then charts our movement within the intricacy of relations between sometimes replaceable if not interchangeable signs, struggling with and problematising the systematicity of subject-object relations. Artistic engagement with and breakdown of the analytical truth of the object, the world and the social sphere, is exercised by deconstructing their appearances; deconstructive arrest then becomes the condition for reconfiguring the object, the world and the social sphere, to constitute in the process new "truths" in new appearances.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 15, 2006

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