The event of interpellation
an aesth-ethic reading of Rilke
Keywords:Rilke, interpellation, event, ethics, alterity
Contrary to Levinas, the event of hospitality does not take place in the face of the other, but rather, in the work of art. Art should therefore not be viewed as provoking pleasure, but rather, as an event of hospitality of radical alterity possessing the power to shake the foundation of its viewers. This is what endows art with an ethical dimension, articulated in re-inscribing aesthetics as “aesth-ethics.” Rilke’s poem “Archaic Torso of Apollo” is as a perfect example of this claim. The statue is teeming with life and sexuality, from which a gaze bursts out, shaking the viewer’s existence by calling him to change his life. As Althusser’s analysis of interpellation shows, the subject is constituted from a call coming from the outside. However, in Rilke’s case, the call does not originate from the Big Other, regulating the order, but from radical alterity residing outside the order.
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