Les Immatériaux: A Conversation with Jean-François Lyotard and Bernard Blistène


View of “Les Immatériaux,” Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1985.

Art Agenda has posted an excellent 1985 interview with Jean-François Lyotard, conducted by Bernard Blistène, on the subject of ‘the immaterial’ and/or ‘non-material.’ Based on the 1985 exhibition “Les Immatériaux” organized by Lyotard, the central question in play is:  “Do ‘immaterials’ leave the relationship between human beings and material unaltered or not?”

In the following interview Lyotard and Blistène touch upon aesthetics, postmodernism, materialism, etc. in a manner, we think, that has clear bearing on contemporary ecopolitical debate.

Interview excerpt:

BB: Could we say that you’re attempting to establish a relationship between scientific and artistic modes of thought?

JFL: Undoubtedly. The idea of artistic creation is a notion that comes from the aesthetics of romanticism, the aesthetics of the idea of genius. And I’m sure you’ll agree that the idea of the artist as “creator” is, to say the least, of strictly limited utility in our world today. That’s no longer where we really are. We’re no longer concerned with the philosophy of subjective genius and all the “aura” that goes along with it. With Duchamp, we already find ourselves in an area that has an aspect of bricolage, there’s that side where you think of him as an “inventeur du temps gratuit.”

You can find the interview here.