Ozren Pupovac

The Violence of Form

Philosophical Remarks on Mazen Kerbaj’s Sound Piece Starry Night
The article offers a philosophical reading of Mazen Kerbaj’s sound piece Starry Night. Recorded in 2006 during the bombing of Beirut by the Israeli Air Force, the piece stages an acoustic encounter between the improvised sounds of the trumpet and live bomb explosions. Arguing for a formal examination of the ways in which Kerbaj stages the problem of the genesis of musical order in the exchange between trumpet and bombs, the article draws parallels with explorations of the problems of the State and of political contradiction in the Marxist tradition. Three common points are identified: the contingency of the appearance of order, its inseparability from an excess of violence, and its spatializing function. The last part delineates parallels between Kerbaj’s subversive aesthetic strategies and Badiou’s elaboration of the concept of the subject as the interruption of a repetitive logic of placement.
Keywords: aesthetic form; Badiou, Alain; Kerbaj, Mazen; splace; state; violence
Title
The Violence of Form
Subtitle
Philosophical Remarks on Mazen Kerbaj’s Sound Piece Starry Night
Author(s)
Ozren Pupovac
Identifier
DOI Target
Description
The article offers a philosophical reading of Mazen Kerbaj’s sound piece Starry Night. Recorded in 2006 during the bombing of Beirut by the Israeli Air Force, the piece stages an acoustic encounter between the improvised sounds of the trumpet and live bomb explosions. Arguing for a formal examination of the ways in which Kerbaj stages the problem of the genesis of musical order in the exchange between trumpet and bombs, the article draws parallels with explorations of the problems of the State and of political contradiction in the Marxist tradition. Three common points are identified: the contingency of the appearance of order, its inseparability from an excess of violence, and its spatializing function. The last part delineates parallels between Kerbaj’s subversive aesthetic strategies and Badiou’s elaboration of the concept of the subject as the interruption of a repetitive logic of placement.
Is Part of
Place
Vienna
Publisher
Turia + Kant
Subject
aesthetic form
Badiou, Alain
Kerbaj, Mazen
splace
state
violence
Rights
© by the author(s)
This version is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Date Issued
2010
Language
en-GB
short title
Violence of Form
page start
251
page end
274
Source
Tension/​Spannung, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 1 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 251–74
Bibliographic Citation
Ozren Pupovac, ‘The Violence of Form: Philosophical Remarks on Mazen Kerbaj’s Sound Piece Starry Night’, in Tension/​Spannung, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 1 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 251–74 <https://doi.org/10.25620/ci-01_13>

References

  • Althusser, Louis, Lenin and Philosophy (London: Verso, 1971)
  • Althusser, Louis, Essays in Self-Criticism (London: Verso, 1976)
  • Althusser, Louis, Machiavelli and Us (London: Verso, 2000)
  • Attali, Jacques, Noise: The Political Economy of Music (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985)
  • Badiou, Alain, Theory of the Subject (London: Continuum, 2009)
  • Balibar, Étienne, On the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (London: New Left Books, 1977)
  • Benjamin, Walter, One Way Street and Other Writings (London: Verso, 1979)
  • Cardew, Cornelius, Treatise Handbook (London: Edition Peters, 1971)
  • Kant, Immanuel, The Critique of Practical Reason (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) <https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511809576>
  • Kant, Immanuel, The Critique of the Power of Judgment (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) <https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511804656>
  • Kerbaj, Mazen, Starry Night <http://muniak.com/mazenkerbaj.html>
  • Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich, Collected Works, 45 vols (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1960–70)
  • Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels, Collected Works, 50 vols (Moscow: Progress, 1975–2004)
  •  
     
Cite as: Ozren Pupovac, ‘The Violence of Form: Philosophical Remarks on Mazen Kerbaj’s Sound Piece Starry Night’, in Tension/​Spannung, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 1 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 251–74 <https://doi.org/10.25620/ci-01_13>
Ozren Pupovac, ‘The Violence of Form: Philosophical Remarks on Mazen Kerbaj’s Sound Piece Starry Night’, in Tension/​Spannung, ed. by Christoph F. E. Holzhey, Cultural Inquiry, 1 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 251-74 <https://doi.org/10.25620/ci-01_13>

Export