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Rapping Philosophy: Foucault, Sontag, Butler, Mbembe, 2016

Live performances/concerts, videos
Performances/concerts presented live on 13 May and 3 June 2016 at Galería Elba Benítez in Madrid and on 15 October 2016 at Centre Pompidou in Malaga

There are many ways of interrogating a text, not only through careful reading. Essay texts, those that analyse and reflect on our contexts and the effects of these on the construction of subjectivities, do not escape the pressure of their own rhythms. Rapping Philosophy: Foucault, Sontag, Butler, Mbembe explores the search for internal rhythms in theoretical writing and the way these rhythms affect the meanings it conveys to us. For this purpose we decided to deconstruct traditional modes of reading, performativising a selection of essays on this occasion through the cadences conferred on them by a rap performance of their words. In an experimental performance/concert the texts are fragmented, appropriated, reconstructed, set to music, incorporated and presented as musical discourse recited by three MCs from Madrid (Hábil Harry, Starr and Meya).
For this concert we selected four texts by four authors concerned with how institutional power uses violence to control human behaviour. Through the essays of these theorists we take a rapid trip from the seventies to the present. From the emergence of the concept of biopolitics, coined by Michel Foucault to refer to the technologies of power used by the model state that arose from the eighteenth century in its need to control populations, technologies that came to be added to —and in some cases to replace— disciplinary technologies, to the concept of necropolitics, heir to biopolitics, articulated by Achille Mbembe to refer to current systems of government that use devastation and murder as political tools to destroy the other, creating death worlds and applying the technologies of destruction to reduce the population to the status of living dead, as has happened in Palestine, Kosovo and some African states. Susan Sontag, a committed thinker, deeply conscious of the effects of war in former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda, reorientated her previous book On Photography, and in Regarding the Pain of Others she reflected on the use of photography to establish a record of the horrors of war, in the way Goya established a record in his paintings and prints, overcoming the aetheticisation of death and torture, of pain. For her part, Judith Butler, a philosopher well known for introducing the concept of gender performativity and for putting queer theories at the centre of political philosophy, reflects in Precarious Life on the need to apprehend suffering and violence through images and on the need to interrogate the way those images are used, on how the face of the other, of that other life we have before us, questions us and makes us reflect on the environment of violence.
Over various musical backings designed by the OKP Music team of DJs, accompanied by the voices of the thinkers, the MCs make the words, the syllables, the phonemes their own, exploring the rhythms that both the formal manifestation of language and the meanings inherent in the text offer us, turning a selection of fragments of the chosen texts into a musical score. The texts have their own rhythms, all you have to do is find them; sometimes it is the rhythms themselves that spark off ideas and govern concepts and not the other way round.

Rapear Filosofía: Foucault, Sontag, Butler, Mbembe

Fragment from the concert/performance at Elba Benítez gallery

Link to COMPLETE VERSION of the CONCERT/PERFORMANCE at Elba Benítez Gallery, Madrid, 13 May 2016.


Rapping Philosophy: Foucault, Sontag, Butler, Mbembe
Installation views at Elba Benítez, Madrid, 2016


Rapping Philosophy: Foucault, Sontag, Butler, Mbembe, 2016-ongoing
Scores details (Foucault and Mbembe)


Rapping Philosophy: Foucault, Sontag, Butler, Mbembe
Performance/concert at Elba Benítez gallery, Madrid, mayo 2016

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