La Furia Umana
  • I’m not like evereybody else
    The Kinks
  • E che, sono forse al mondo per realizzare delle idee?
    Max Stirner
  • (No ideas but in things)
    W.C. Williams
Intersectionality and peace

Intersectionality and peace

W.J.T. Mitchell is one of the leading experts on visual culture. His method is transdisciplinary. The “science of images” that he helped to found was born from the convergence of multiple disciplines, from the intersection of visual arts, philosophy and literature and so on. In two essays of his book Image Science (2015), addresses the question of borders. There is a linear and narrative, Platonic-Hegelian logic that holds the boundaries. Even the boundaries between disciplines (humanities, hard sciences, etc.). We could also talk about the boundaries between avant-garde and kitsch, political action like assembly and politcs like delegation/representation. Cultural politics, cultural battle also means fighting against these walls, to which physical and material ones are connected.

“Trans”, observes Mitchell, is the moment of contact, of crossing, of the meeting between disciplines, nations, men. But convergence cannot be absorption, assimilation, fusion of entities. The conflict between Israel and Palestine is also the result of a division which, in this case, derives from the Second World War, the Cold War and decolonization. After 1945 the UN, sadly, confirmed to Great Britain the mandate already assigned by the League of Nations in 1920, to govern Palestine pro tempore. In 1947 the UN established the division of Palestine and the establishment of two states. In 1948, colonialist Great Britain, due to its interests and because it was incapable of managing the tensions in the area, decided to abandon Palestine so as not to find itself embroiled in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. After all, this is what he did shortly before in India, which had long been brutally colonized by the British.

Mitchell recalls that Gaza is not independent, and that it has been facing Israel for years. It is under the military control of Israel. Gaza and Israel are places of war for procurement, of geopolitcal transactions between the great powers. The peace process has been going on for decades without results. The only result, Mitchell observes, is the progressive degradation of Palestinian lives and the construction of the “defensive barrier”, as the Israelis call it, or apartheid, as Amnesty International claims. That’s out of doubt.

Certainly on the poisoned terrain of this daily degradation, the terrorist, Islamist and right-wing organization of Hamas can easily gather consensus and, like this, favor the other right of Likud, whose first leaders, Begin and Shamir, were ex-terrorists.

Palestinians live in their own country as if they were irregular, encountering the humiliations of checkpoints and border crossings, always risking arrest or in any case being detained, searched, harassed. Palestinians live as if they were in the border area. This is what Achille Mbembe calls “necropolitics”. In the Palestinian territories occupied by the state of Israel, for too long, “the most complete contemporary example of the power of death” has been achieved. The Israeli colonialist state, Mbembe observes, bases its colonialist violence on both theological and secular discourses: divine right and Zionist nationalism. It is the violence of the discourse of identity, of the border, of the wall, of exclusivity. A discourse that comes true in bulldozing, in the daily war that demolishes infrastructures, strangling the Palestinians’ ability to access the most basic services, from water to school. There are not only visible killings – even if those of the Palestinians, for the Western media, are not killings but deaths only – but also invisible ones.

Mitchell underlines that it was Lessing in his Laocoon (1766) who overturned the hierarchy between poetry and painting, previously rigidly confined and separated. The German philosopher spoke of “mutual tolerance” at borders, which is peaceful compensation for both sides. Lessing recognizes that boundaries can exist but they must be metaphorical and playful, not physical limits. Time and space, sight and hearing, etc. The border, then, desubstantialises, becomes a zone of indeterminacy, intersection, and intimacy too. Many philosophers, artists and filmmakers have worked within this zone of indeterminacy between visible and legible: Gilles Deleuze, Paul Virilio, Isabelle Stengers, Gayatry Spivak, Donna Haraway, René Magritte, Robert Morris, Sol LeWitt, Ed Ruscha, Paul Sharits, Michael Snow, Jean-Luc Godard.

The stupid rigidity of borders causes conflict, war. It’s an identitarian discourse and discrimination.

La Furia Umana, a journal of interference that (from the beginning) overcrosses boundaries, aims, on the contrary, to promote intersectionality and peace.

Toni D’Angela

Editor-in-chief and founder of La Furia Umana