"Project for a film on Saint Paul"1 is the sub-title for the late work published as "Saint Paul" by Pier Paolo Pasolini, setting an agenda for philosopher Alain Badiou's own treatise "Saint Paul"2 . Both Pasolini and Badiou, as atheists, [although it is uncertain as to Pasolini's Christian conviction, other than his severe criticism of the Church] follow a line of enquiry previously articulated by Hegel, Auguste Comte, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Freud, and in our own time, Jean-Francois Lyotard, of re-reading and breaking down interpretation into certain extreme and contradictory dispositions that organise their own speculative discourses. In the case of Pasolini it is Paul the militant, and for Badiou it is the militancy itself, falling outside identity, knowledge and the law, yet remaining faithful to an indiscernible event, one that is singularly capable of vaporising an episteme that will not and cannot support it. The last work of Pier Paolo Pasolini anticipates the work of Badiou in the sense of advancing the militancy ingrained in any process of truth. In Pasolini's script the death of Paul in the United States is contemporaneous with that of Martin Luther King.
Annie Ratti and Peter Lewis have collaborated to produce a configuration of literary forms as essentially incomplete, to be completed as the discourse of the subject, deriving both from Pasolini's own poetics and his method in poetry, writing for cinema, drawing and deposition of objects in 'mise-en-scene', and filmmaking itself as 'dispositif' setting out of ideas; and from Alain Badiou's concept of an indiscernible event, which, he argues, precedes any new process of thought by the fidelity to its subjective gesture. The only 'proof' lies precisely in the declaration of the subject alone.
The artists have usurped a universal cliché from religious texts, "40 days and 40 Nights", the prescribed length of time of meditation in the desert, where the metaphor of wilderness signifying risk, is experienced in a poetic vividness that situates its intensity through prolonged introspection. "40 Days and 40 Nights" is at the same time the title of a song by Muddy Waters3 , derived from Gospel music, and secularised as the conditional disclosure of the everyday undramatic experiences in the common man's political, emotional, sexual, and domestic situations encountered. Recorded at a time, the 1950s, when black music, blues, jazz, and soul was universalised and adopted by 'white kids', the title, whilst blasphemous in the religious sense also declares itself as a subtraction of the political 'real', both in terms of the birth of a civil rights movement that asserts itself outside the communitarian power of the state, and in the foundation of a new universalism.
Lewis has collected daily newspapers which he will layer to make 'paper' in order to 'draw' exegesis from Pasolini's text. [Pasolini had apparently made drawings on his own handmade paper]. The newspaper is to be glued in large sections to rough beams of weathered wood, the same wood used structurally to provide walls in the (r)edux space. In the last week of a 40 day period of collecting, the 'drawing' will be performed by reading directly from the text and visualising certain passages non-discursively, so that the days and nights appear in temporal disorder from the original sequences.
Ratti has installed a domestic stove, in the middle of the space, staging a situation between 'home' and 'desert', where something is firstly threatening and subsequently rescued and re-invented out of human need of sustainance. Here is a chance encounter between binary oppositions: inside/outside, domestic/desert, safety/danger, that precipitates thought. A photograph has been mounted on a wall that records an event as 'just' an image but an image of Martin Luther King's motel, location at time of his assassination. What is true or just, (they are, in this case, the same) cannot be reduced to any objective aggregate, either as cause or destination. Without the coordinates of recognition that motivate and delineate Pasolini's project for a film, this dislocation is correspondent within Badiou's theory of an intraphilosophical work that carries its own indiscernible truth process. Ratti and Lewis alert our attention to something that is, after all this time, in fact still happening. By providing the conceptual frameworks for an inaesthetic4 variation on Pasolini's script they insinuate that the configuration at this finite point in time is its own truth, that belongs to an infinite thought.
The work "Project for a film on Saint Paul" preceded Pasolini's own murder only a short time later. Can this be read in the scenario as a premonition of evil? These mythological absurdities, a 'divine' mimesis, are the evental subject of Ratti and Lewis' collaboration, as they incorporate their incomplete forms from both inside and outside existing categories and systems of cognition.
A selection of jazz and blues and other recordings both from that period, will be played during the event, against classical works by J.S. Bach. a sound-work made in collaboration with Marie-Anne Souloumiac reading from the Pasolini "Project for a film on Saint Paul". Simultaneously in the space a projected video by Annie Ratti appears in the low light, as if written on water, that an end is yet a beginning, as the heat turns up.
"San Paolo" 1977 publ. Giulio Einaudi
"Saint Paul: La Fondation de l'universalisme" 1997 publ. Presses Universitaires de France
"40 Days and 40 Nights" Muddy Waters (B. Roth) 1956, Chess Records
"...by 'inaesthetics' I understand a relation of philosophy to art, maintaining that art is itself a producer of truths, makes no claim to turn art into an object for philosophy. Against aesthetic speculation, inaesthetics describes the strictly intraphilosophical effects produced by the independent existence of some works of art." April 1998, Alain Badiou