Introducing

Exemplary Readings applies the practice of the Department of Reading to Giorgio Agambenís writings and thus brings together a specific mode of reading with a texture that demands such an approach. Though dedicated to topics such as that of the gesture, for instance, this series pays particular attention to the inner movements of Agambenís writings, those lines that draw the reader from one essay into the ones aside to it, as much as Exemplary Readings follows the very braces with other writers. Within a playful gesture Exemplary Readings suggests a common use of text that allows the indirectness of reading to coincide with the machinic aspects of technology and their different temporalities. Exemplary Readings thus aims to actualise a space of and within communication that is not limited to the production of discourse, but allows for other forms of intervention and encounter.

Agamben defines his own method in reference to the paradigm, that is the exemplary exposition of a singular historical phenomenon. Other than unfolding into the category of universality the paradigmatic relation, following Agamben, advances from singularity to singularity. Its register is that of analogy. But the paradigm is never given as such. Only in exposing itself, only due to suspending its actual reference, due to a semantic emptiness and thus being situated adjacent, does a singularity appear as an example that can be called paradigmatic. According to Agamben the example in exposing its belonging to a class always already excludes itself from this class. Thus the fold of the example is an adjacent space that remains empty.

But how can Agambenís writings be addressed and summarised within such a fold? Again, Agambenís essays themselves offer a figure that seems to be in relation to this adjacent and empty space. This figure is the helper.

Although incessantly active, as Agamben notes with regard to Kafkaís novels, the helpers cannot follow any of their intentions through. They are incapable of completion and thus they remain without a work. But exactly this circumstance constitutes their proximity to Agambenís writings. Without a work the helpers are in relation with an unwritten work that Agamben comes to mention in the preface of the German edition of Infancy & History. Illegible as such this ďinexistent textĒ nevertheless seems to occupy a crucial place in his writings. Following Agamben it forms the empty space at their centre and comprises nothing less than the ethics inherent to his philosophy of language Ė a philosophy that itself doesnít get tired of insisting on the experience of an empty space within language. The helpers are in correspondence with this experience. In fact Agamben conceives of their activities as an incessant act of revelation, a kind of translation that takes place in gestures. Akin to each other the helpers furthermore prefigure a faint collective. Their appearance brings the question of belonging about. It thus seems as if these helpers, who remain without a work and assemble within similitude, offer an access to Agambenís unwritten work, the empty space that it forms and that it seems to address.

Anything that enters the class of the example belongs to the realm of the helpers(Ė it is in this respect that Exemplary Readings aims to develop its practice of reading in order to address Agambenís writings themselves. It will have to take place in reference to the notion of playing. Since) both the adjacent space as well as the figure
(of the helper in Agambenís writings are related to childís habit. Thus Exemplary Readings is in its last stance nothing else but a matter of playing, matter of its inimitable precision and dispersion.)




What is this specific approach towards texture in Agamben? How would we describe it and how does it relate to the textural approach of the Department of Reading, close reading in this case?


movements within writings
gesture, series, sides, lines, sidelines, braces
braces | gesture | series | braces
other writers









This whole passage will need extension.












The figure of the helper though asks to be directly connected or questionned in relation to our own actions as such. Are we the unasked for, unwanted helpers to the texts we let appear, to Agambens texture? Aren't we the ones who always act within the realm of seriousness and nonsense at the same time? Never realizing a finished work, always remaining within the frame of the gesture. An unclear point actually in the writing of the helpers - he speaks of the unvollendete geste/unfinished gesture (?) of the helpers (p.24) While the idea of the gesture in Agamben ususally suggests to deny an aim, an ending by definition, always remains suspended in between potentiality and act.























What is the relation between space, figure and practice alike?












Place of the guest?