Tag Archives: Jean Luc Nancy

Love and Waves

“There was always a child left behind, or the face of a distant friend translated sonically into a call.”                                                                                                          —Avital Ronell

“But this reticence might signify that all, of  love, is possible and necessary, that all the loves possible are in fact the possibilities of love, its voices or its characteristics, which are impossible to confuse and yet ineluctably entangled: charity and pleasure, emotion and pornography, the neighbor and the infant, fraternal love and the love of art, the kiss, passion, friendship…to think love would thus demand a boundless generosity towards all these possibilities, and it is this generosity that would command reticence: the generosity not to privilege, not to hierarchize, not to exclude.”                                    —JL Nancy

They are the same thing, this love and this call from beyond.  Ronell discusses the telephone in relation to technology but always there is this maternal caring in her writing, this concern for this estrangement (not alienation) of and to technology, an always already something else in every relation we take.  Through the technology of the telephone (and its bastard, prolific children the computer, the internet, the social networking site, Google, the smart phone) we move—and must, are impelled to move— in many different times, and many different times move to us, move us, in a constant ebb and flow.  Knowledge, awareness become fluid, constantly undergoing a change, a call to change, whether we accept the call or not.

And this reticence of Nancy’s, this hesitation to define, to state, to categorize that which he understands to be a constant ebb and flow, this is an imperative for him, to have the temerity to stutter, to observe a hesitating, stammering silence in which all love is possible, in which all things are not only possible, but, and this is key, are.  Allowing all thing to be means that we can never state this is, because immediately when we say that this is, we also say then—automatically—that this isn’t. To see things from the standpoint of physics, that is from the standpoint of a wave, is to come close to this; define a single wave in the ocean, a solitary swell; where it begins, where it ends, what it is composed of.


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Chris Fynsk on Ferran Adrià

Chris Fynsk. Ferran Adrià, elBulli & l’Image en Cuisine. 2009

Chris Fynsk speaking to the European Graduate School (EGS) about the chef Ferran Adrià of the restaurant El Bulli in Catalonia, Spain and about how the cuisine relates to the thought of Jean Luc Nancy, Heidegger and the question of taste. Fynsk spoke about the Nancy’s idea of gastronomic affirmation as well as the concept of the image of art revealing itself through the distended time of the meal. Referencing Mallarme, Roland Barthes and others, Fynsk attempted to draw a sketch of the “coming forth” of food into a play of revelation and withdrawal. Public open lecture for the students and faculty of the European Graduate School (EGS).

Chris Fynsk has been the Director of the Centre for Modern Thought as well as the head of the School of Language and Literature at the University of Aberdeen since 2005. He also currently holds the Maurice Blanchot Chair for Continental Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Previously he taught at SUNY Binghamton where he was co-director and founder of the Philosophy, Literature and Theory of Criticism department.

Internationally recognized as a Heidegger scholar and literary theorist, Chris Fynsk has worked extensively with Philipe Lacou-labarthe and Jean Luc Nancy as well as others over the course of his career. In his book Heidegger; Thought and Historicity (1986), Fynsk examined Heidegger’s notions of human finitude and difference, especially through an examination of the role of mitsein in Being and Time. In later works, Fynsk has taken up the idea of language (that there is language) and its relation to being. His book Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin (2000) continues this engagement with language. A meditation on death and language using the texts of Jacques Lacan and Maurice Blanchot, as well as the images of Francis Bacon, Infant Figures describes “ an emergent figuration that attends a human subject’s birth to language.”

Amongst Chris Fynsk’s published works are Typography: Mimesis, Philosophy (1989), Heidegger: Thought and Historicity (1986), Politics Language and Relation: …that there is language (1996), Infant Figures: The Death of the Infans and Other Scenes of Origin (2000), The Claim of Language: A Case for the Humanities (2004).

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