In contemporary debates within philosophy, as much as in the arts, it seems impossible not to con rm the assumption that art is political. Art is one of the contemporary battle elds or resources, media, or whatever term one privileges for political action or articulation. One might even go as far as noting that art as a speci c material form of practice often intervenes in the social and political sphere. One attributes to art a sovereignty of re ection, distortion, impact that no other practice—including politics—is ever able to attain. Art seems to be the better form of political action, simply because it is politics without what is problematic in politics (questions of hierarchy, power, exclusion, violence, etc.). Such descriptions often function as a kind of plea for an artistic politics against a "political politics," and they often, if not always, are constructed from what seems to be evident, namely that art is political. Yet, one can raise the question as to whether the very evidence of the art's political dimension is not rather an expression of a problem. For evidences are, as one knows at least since Plato, never simple and pure evidences. Rather it is precisely that which seems evident that one should investigate, as it can be the very reason why the true problem does not come into sight. In this very sense, the evidence of art's inherent politicality might also be conceived of as being an ideological expression, as something like a cover up, for what is really at stake. One might, as some have argued, need to again free art from politics to be able to articulate their respective contemporary relevance, speci city, and modalities. Yet, this might be seen as just another ideological gesture, as a gesture of ideologically struggling on the eld, neither only of art nor only of politics, but precisely of their relation. What the articles by Robert Pfaller, Ray Brassier, Frank Ruda, Michaela Wünsch, and Oxana Timofeeva, gathered here, in one way or the other, do, is to seek to redefine the relation of politics and art, either by addressing both or by addressing one of these terms, as part of an ideological struggle for clarity.
This issue continues the discussion between Slavoj Žižek, Alenka Zupancic, Mladen Dolar, Keti Chukhrov, Aaron Schuster, and Oxana Timofeeva, which took place in Ljubljana in May 2014. The idea for this discussion was inspired by the short essay “The Anti-Sexus,” written by Andrey Platonov in 1926. In contemporary capitalism, the economy of sex has again become a problem, but the stakes are different. They vary from a wide movement of sexual liberation on the level of private and individual freedoms in Western countries, to puritanism or growing restrictions and prohibitions in countries like Russia; from the widespread commodification of pleasure (the “society of enjoyment”) to asexuality as an identity or individual choice. New moral dilemmas appear when one prefers to masturbate rather than encounter another human being in a potentially destructive (non-)relation. Can or should sexuality be liberated? Can sexuality liberate? Can or should one liberate oneself from sexuality? Why should sexuality be conceived as a uniquely troublesome point of human existence? From our historical experience, relating to the sexual heritage of revolutionary struggles of the past century, and in light of contemporary forms of solitude and libidinal malaise, we raise and discuss these questions.
This issue of STASIS deals with the topic of “political theology.” Although the term has a wide range of meanings, the articles presented here deal with the more radical forms of both politics and religion. The catch that emerges is that such radicalism may be either reactionary, seeking to restore a lost and mythical Golden, or it may seek a progressive and revolutionary overthrowing of the current situation. This tension within radicalism pertains not merely to politics, but very much to religion itself. So, how does one assess such a tension? The articles in this issue do so by means of either theoretical interventions or case studies.