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Vesper No. 2 | Author-Matter | Spring-Summer 2020



Mieke Bal

Challenging and Saving the Author


Starting from a discussion about the notion of authorship as conceived by Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault, the author proposes a re-examination of the authorial instance and its redefinition through an example from her own artistic production: the video installation Don Quijote. Sad Countenances (2019). The artwork highlights crucial aspects of a multiple authorship that is exposed to anachronic (or, in the author’s terms, ‘pre-posterous’) regimes of temporality. Indeed, the work involves a plurality of authors in its conception, realization and curating, and at the same time it highlights the bond between the originating authorial instance and the present. The interweaving between Cervantes’ Quijote and the traumatic events of his biography finds a link with the present time through the forms and materiality of the installation. The short circuit between the original author and a later resumption of his work by a collective authorship leads to the proposal of some identity features for a general rethinking of authorship.





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