The Art of Interview: Toward a Queer Performance of Philosophy
« Everyone should partner up with the questioning other whose smile one cannot entirely decipher. » — Avital Ronell
In « What is a Dispositif? » Gilles Deleuze makes an important, yet little discussed, observation that « [t]he complete work of Foucault… cannot separate off the books which have made such an impression on all of us from the interviews which lead us towards a future, towards a becoming: the underlying strata of the present day. » As in the French context, the philosophical interview has become a key mode of engagement among Anglo-American theorists and philosophers whose work introduces innovative forms of performance philosophy.
Engaging the interview—itself an American invention—as a philosophical performance entails rethinking the performativity of the genre. Each interview is at once constituted by and constitutive of a performative structure of relations—a mode of interdiscursivity—wherein neither the individual nor the discourse may be composed as a discrete or complete entity—the one is always perforated by the other, the other by the one. Drawing on the work of Avital Ronell, Judith Butler, and Athena Athanasiou, I delineate a dedication to philosophical responsiveness that is always already imbricated in a shared commitment to performance neither as a metaphor, nor an object, but rather as a form—a queer method—of philosophical inquiry and intervention. This artfully queer movement of interview simultaneously redefines the perceived parameters of performance and opens up what Ronell herself identifies as « the philosophical venue. » Thus, the interview is always already a philosophical performance. As a mode of address that is essentially responsive, the interlocutory scene of interview offers a frame—indeed a stage—through which the corporeal dynamics of relatedness as a commitment to futurity may emerge.
Magnolia Pauker is an educator, writer, and interviewer based in Vancouver, Canada. With a strong focus on decolonial feminisms, Magnolia is invested in emergent forms of thinking and being. Often working at the edges of philosophy and cultural studies, she is committed to labouring in response to contemporary political and aesthetic events. Publications include catalogue essays as well as commissioned interviews with contemporary artists, philosophers, and writers. Magnolia Pauker is PhD (ABD) at the European Graduate School and a PhD student at the University of British Columbia in the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.