This Body of Art: The Singular Plural of the Feminine

Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology 36 (3):277-292 (2005)
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I explore the possibility that the feminine, like art, can be thought in terms of Jean-Luc Nancy’s concept of the singular plural. In Les Muses, Nancy claims that art provides for the rethinking of a technë not ruled by instrumentality. Specifically, in rethinking aesthetics in terms of the debates laid out by Kant, Hegel and Heidegger, he resituates the ontological in terms of the specificity of the techniques of each particular artwork; each artwork establishes relations particular to its world or worlds. What is at stake in the singular plural is the multiplicity of relations that are lost in the unifying gestures that arise out of radical oppositions. I rethink the singular plural through a phenomenological encounter with Barb Hunt’s artwork, Antipersonnel, a collection of hand-knitted replicas of antipersonnel landmines.

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Helen A. Fielding
University of Western Ontario


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