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ART OF HYPNOSIS

2015Video Piece
7:36 minutes


The art of hypnosis is a video piece. It features Francis Fukuyama at the peak of his academic career after he published what would become his world wide best seller called The End of History and the Last Man (1992).

The black and white video shows the figure of this theoretician in slow motion. Con you explain this editing choice?

The movements of his hands and the expression in his eyes – showed at a very slow pace – result in a kind of hypnotic act. Fukuyama is enchanting us with his big story of the end of the century, telling us how we are moving towards democracy and capitalism. The piece is a strong reflection on how stories hypnotise people and on the bewitchment power of theory. This hypnotic power acts on minds creating a sort of mental space where the body is partially controlled and is trying to fit into this mental framework.

Would you extend this critic to those theories that try to free the individual from ideologies and inequalities?

By considering those theories that are trying to deal with the theme of emancipation, of dis-alienation, of empowerment, we are confronted with a strong paradox. These theories that can be defined as emancipatory theories, are using the means of language and discourse to create mental spaces where one can stand in-between genders, in-between cultures and languages. In the speech one is empowered to fight some kind of hegemony – heterosexual hegemony, capitalist hegemony – but he/she is at the same time captured by these discourses; theories create a bubble in which he/she can live in. This is the very mechanism of ideology. It is a bewitchment through a rational speech; it is the part of hypnosis that is in rationality.

How can one avoid remaining in the bubble?

By asking this, you are pointing out a structure of thought that is in a way “not correct” because you are not getting rid of the target. The target in emancipatory theory is emancipation. If you are concerned with emancipation, you are kind of foreseeing a point where you are going to be “more yourself” or you are going to be “more free”. You are reducing the movement, the struggle to the target. I don’t think this is the case. The big change from moving from Marxism to new way of formulating the question of emancipation is to affirm that there is no point where you are free. You are moving from one bewitchment to another. There is no moment when you are “out of the bubble”. Movement, transformation allowing forms of existence, it is an “end” in itself. The speech is part of the movement but also the experiment is part of the movement, all is connected and exist as such. By acknowledging that the meaning is in the movement, one can avoid the point of deception, the point of melancholy where after all those bewitchment one finds out that he/she is still not free.

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