Friday, May 13, 2016

Pier Paolo Pasolini & Deconstruction (or archi-writing and irreducible speech)

Mamma Roma (Italy, 1962);
Pasolini and Ezra Pound;
L'évangile d'après Salò;
Le passé pur & le temps hors de ses gondes (A/Z);
Pleif Mapa I (A/Z, for more see here);
Wikipedia: A Tool For the Ruling Elite (Helen Buyniski);

"It's often said that in Italy 1968 never ended. Unlike in other countries, that year's political unrest didn't subside but continued spasmodically through the end of the seventies, with wildcat strikes and industrial sabotage... All this insurgency was aimed as much against Italy's established political Left (at its peak, Italy's Communist Party controlled many major cities in the industrial North) as it was against conservatives. In early 1977, Bologna's Communist mayor lost control of the city to a riotous coalition of autonomists and counterculture radicals. This 'Bloc' of squatters, feminists, gays, students, nonunionized workers, and the semiemployed developed an ad hoc form of postpolitical politics. Self-organized and carnivalesque, il Movimento—as it was dubbed—aimed not to seize power but to smash it altogether, leaving everybody and nobody in charge..."
Simon Reynolds (Rip It Up)

The bookish [livresque] character of "Italian" as a supposedly national language—actually a literary language which was not national—till the 1960s, enabled Pasolini to understand that the classical (occidental) conception of the relation between speech and writing (that is, ultimately phoneticism) is entirely fallacious—a thesis which is the core of Derrida's grammatological "program" (since La voix et le phénomène): 
"Noi italiani viviamo concretamente la tendenza di una struttura a essere un'altra struttura... la 'struttura reale' della nostra fonazione è sempre quella di una koinè dialettizzata: il mio 'tutto solidale fonetico' prevede 'roza' 'tempo' 'tè', tra le mie 'opposizioni funzionali' non c'è 's' sonora tra due vocali... tuttavia io vivo la tendenza di questa mia 'struttura reale' a conformarsi ad altre 'strutture reali' (per esempio, dato che sono residente a Roma, a certe abitudini della fonazione romana), oppure e soprattutto a uniformarsi a una possibile instituzione linguistica nazionale — il famigerato fiorentino colto. La mia lingua non consiste dunque in una struttura stabile, ma vive la inquietudine motoria, il bisogno di metamorfosi di una struttura che vuol essere altra struttura... contraddizione in atto, violenta, sostanziale... tra lingua orale e lingua grafica... tra lingua orale e lingua grafica ci sia l'urto che c´è tra due strutture diverse e in opposizione..." (Empirismo eretico 60-61).
From the perspectives of either irreducible speech or (archi-)writing, one is left with nothing but traces (Ninetto's rhythmical dance with the snow, Empirismo 73). In Pasolini there are also gridi suffocati però convulsi (which I suppose can be understood as traces). There are several moments, however, in which Pasolini gives way to a Sartrean phenomenology and adopts a naive, poor, and merely traditional conception of writing (Empirismo 210, 215-16).
***One should note that the idea of a "structure becoming another structure" is post-structural not anti-structural (it is not incompatible with a structuralist approach). When Pasolini, for instance, speaks about a diachronic revolution, this is not "against" the system but "inside the system" (Empirismo 69, cf. 75-81, 206-207). Derrida also was of course not anti-structural but post-structural. 
****About Dante, Pasolini says the following (also interesting from a deconstructive point of view): “Un po’ come la coesistenza della natura umana e della natura divina in Cristo... Il contrasto delle due serie di principii che presiedono l’operazione linguistica dantesca, non consentirebbe nessuna unità linguistica possible... L’unità poética della Comedia... há qualcosa di terribile e forse, nel suo fascino sublime, di inconsumabile e di nemico, si presenta come un tutto irrelato” (Empirismo 115).

*****What is this ludicrous interview some young (I suppose Italian) woman (who indeed doesn't seem to know a whole lot about cinema) did with Terence Stamp about his acting in Pasolini's Teorema? It is unbelievably stupid, prejudiced, and even offensive. One can find it in the DVD released in Brazil (by Alpha Midia). One should consider that theorem doesn't necessary mean a logical demonstration. In the case of Pasolini's film it means rather a hypothesis, a way of considering something. It is not to be taken literally. If Terence Stamp's acting in Teorema was exquisite, his opinions about the movie (as displayed in this interview) are simply gross.
Pasolini is frequently discredited for being a “communist” and a “Marxist.” But he explicitly criticized Marxism and he wrote fondly about American democracy (see for instance “Guerra Civile” in Empirismo 150-57). He was to a considerable extent an admirer of the industrial bourgeoisie of the North of Italy, and also of the bourgeoisie of countries such as France and England (see for instance “Nuove Questioni Linguistiche” in Empirismo 5-24). What seduced him mostly in Marxism was perhaps that Marxism brought with it a powerful antidote to the prejudices (and racism) of the petty bourgeoisie. But Pasolini explicitly ascertained that Marxism is itself a petty bourgeois ideology that can be quite prejudiced: “Ill facchino muto, pura immagine, che cos’è? È l’idea estetica che di un facchino ha un borghese che con quel facchino non ha niente da spartire. Il facchino che invece parla di dialettica [facchino marxista] è apocrifo e pretestuale: anch’esso è al servigio di un borghese [marxista] che con lui ha ben poco da spartire” (Empirismo 262).
Because of all that, one feels entitled to align Pasolini also with the "later" Derrida of Politiques de l'Amitié, who propposes a perhaps "new" kind of deconstructive procedure which "concernerait la confiance, le crédit, la croyance, la dôxa ou l'eudoxîa, l'opinion ou la bonne opinion, l'approbation accordée à la filiation, à la naissance et à l'origine, à la génération, à la familiarité de la famille, à la proximité du prochain, à ce que des axiomes inscrivent trop vite sous ces mots. Non pas pour leur faire la guerre et y voir le mal, mais pour penser et vivre une politique, une amitié, une justice qui commencent par rompre avec leur naturalité ou leur homogénéité, avec leur lieu d'origine allégué. Qui commencent donc là où le commencement (se) divise et diffère. Qui commencent par marquer une hétérogénéité « originaire » qui est déjà venue et qui peut seule venir, à l'avenir, les ouvrir."

See also: 

And also:
- Favorite quotes from Detlev Claussen's Theodor W. Adorno;
- Sur les premiers chapitres d’Esthétique et théorie du roman;
- Umberto Eco about Nietzsche (& deconstruction);