Media Intellectualism or Lived Catastrophe? Mediating and Suspending the A/political Act

  • Bogna M. Konior Lingnan University
Keywords: Piotr Szczęsny, Poland, self-immolation, protest, pain, non-philosophy, necropolitics

Abstract

Piotr Szczęsny set himself on fire in protest of the Polish government in October 2017. Charged with political orientation, his selfimmolation posed a challenge to the news media, forcing it deep into the gutter the suicide archive, where commentators debated appropriate aesthetics of protest in a country whose imagery imagery is predominately thanatic; in a nation-state that has been resurrected after its many occupations yet still remains within a sacrificial grave, with death as the cornerstone of community. In this article, I situate Szczęsny’s death within the nightmare-bound post-Soviet political scene through historically contextualizing the debate around his suicide, where the act itself was criticized on the basis of its inappropriate aesthetics of irrational selfharm. I argue that such binding of a/political catastrophe in a bundle of representations corresponds to what François Laruelle calls media intellectualism, a form of engaging suffering that relies on its mediation. Seeking an alternative discourse of engaging the a/political act, I look to Katerina Kolozova’s non-standard politics of pain and to Oxana Timofeeva’s work on “the catastrophe.” These positions, which I call stances of the unsubject, offer us different starting points for creating solidarity in spaces of void, pain and depression. For the unsubject, pain is the prerequisite for forming the political, albeit in a non-standard manner, where politics cannot oscillate around representations, ideologies or identities. Rather than mediate self immolation, I ask whether the way that we define “the political” could benefit from a subtraction of mediation, from a catastrophic thinking in parallel with the brutality of the real, rather than the repetition of (national) trauma.

Author(s): Bogna M. Konior:

Title (English): Media Intellectualism or Lived Catastrophe? Mediating and Suspending the A/political Act

Journal Reference: Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, Vol. 15, No. 1-2 (Summer 2018)

Publisher: Institute of Social Sciences and Humanities – Skopje 

Page Range: 166-185

Page Count: 20

Citation (English): Bogna M. Konior, “Media Intellectualism or Lived Catastrophe? Mediating and Suspending the A/political Act,” Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, Vol. 15, No. 1-2 (Summer 2018): 166-185.

Author Biography

Bogna M. Konior, Lingnan University

Bogna M. Konior is the Media and Technology editor at the Hong Kong Review of Books, editorial board member of Oraxiom: A Journal of Non-Philosophy, and the director of the Institute for Critical Animal Studies, Asia. She was recently a visiting researcher in Media and Culture at the ICON Center for the Humanities at the University of Utrecht, and is lecturer at the Department of Cultural Studies in Lingnan University. Her work in media cultures and the Anthropocene is published in Transformations: Journal of Media and Culture and forthcoming in PostMemes from Punctum Press. She hold a BA in Film Studies, a RMa in Media Studies, and a PhD in Cultural Analysis. Her collaborative work exploring theory in the Anthropocene has been exhibited internationally and can be viewed at www.bognamk.com.

Published
2018-06-01
How to Cite
Konior, B. (2018). Media Intellectualism or Lived Catastrophe? Mediating and Suspending the A/political Act. Identities: Journal for Politics, Gender and Culture, 15(1-2), 166-185. Retrieved from http://identitiesjournal.edu.mk/index.php/IJPGC/article/view/344