Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben is one of the leading figures in Italian philosophy. He is the author of Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life; Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive; Profanations; The Signature of All Things: On Method (the last three published by Zone Books), and other books.

  • The Adventure

    The Adventure

    Giorgio Agamben

    Agamben charts a journey that ranges from poems of chivalry to philosophy, from Yvain to Hegel, from Beatrice to Heidegger.

    An ancient legend identifies Demon, Chance, Love, and Necessity as the four gods who preside over the birth of every human being. We must all pay tribute to these deities and should not try to elude or dupe them. To accept them, Giorgio Agamben suggests, is to live one's life as an adventure—not in the trivial sense of the term, with lightness and disenchantment, but with the understanding that adventure, as a specific way of being, is the most profound experience in our human existence. In this pithy, poetic, and compelling book, Agamben maps a journey from poems of chivalry to philosophy, from Yvain to Hegel, from Beatrice to Heidegger. The four gods of legend are joined at the end by a goddess, the most elusive and mysterious of all: Elpis, Hope. In Greek mythology, Hope remains in Pandora's box, not because it postpones its fulfillment to an invisible beyond but because somehow it has always been already satisfied. Here, Agamben presents Hope as the ultimate gift of the human adventure on Earth.

    • Hardcover $12.95

Contributor

  • Convention and Materialism

    Uniqueness without Aura

    Paolo Virno

    The first English translation of the book that established Paolo Virno as one of the most influential Italian thinkers of his generation.

    With the 1986 publication of this book in Italy, Paolo Virno established himself as one of the most influential Italian thinkers of his generation. Astonishingly, this crucial work has never before been published in an English translation. This MIT Press edition, translated by Italian philosopher and Insubordinations series editor Lorenzo Chiesa, is its first English-language version. Virno here engages, in an innovative and iconoclastic way, with some classical questions of philosophy, including experience, singularity, and the relation between ethics and language, while also offering a profoundly transformative political perspective that revolves around the Marxian notion of the “general intellect.”

    Virno reconsiders Walter Benjamin's idea of a “loss of the aura” (brought on, Benjamin argued, by technical reproducibility), and postulates instead the existence of a new experience of uniqueness that, although deprived of every metaphysical aura, resides in the very process of late-capitalist serial reproduction. Writing after the defeat of contemporary leftist revolutionary movements in the West, Virno argues for the possibility of a “good life” originating immanently from existential and political crises. With speculative detours through the thought of philosophers ranging from Aquinas and Berkeley to Heidegger and Wittgenstein, with a specific focus on Kant and Hegel, Virno shows how a renewed reflection on basic theoretical problems helps us to better grasp what is happening now. This edition features a preface written by Virno in 2011.

    • Hardcover $27.95
  • The Archive

    The Archive

    Charles Merewether

    The significance of the archive in modernity and in contemporary art; writings by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Hal Foster, and others, and essays on the archival practice of such artists as Gerhard Richter, Christian Boltanski, Renée Green, and The Atlas Group.

    In the modern era, the archive—official or personal—has become the most significant means by which historical knowledge and memory are collected, stored, and recovered. The archive has thus emerged as a key site of inquiry in such fields as anthropology, critical theory, history, and, especially, recent art. Traces and testimonies of such events as World War II and ensuing conflicts, the emergence of the postcolonial era, and the fall of communism have each provoked a reconsideration of the authority given the archive—no longer viewed as a neutral, transparent site of record but as a contested subject and medium in itself.

    This volume surveys the full diversity of our transformed theoretical and critical notions of the archive—as idea and as physical presence—from Freud's "mystic writing pad" to Derrida's "archive fever"; from Christian Boltanski's first autobiographical explorations of archival material in the 1960s to the practice of artists as various as Susan Hiller, Ilya Kabakov, Thomas Hirshhorn, Renée Green, and The Atlas Group in the present.

    Not for sale in the UK and Europe.

    • Paperback $24.95