On Friendship

To define friendship is to define an absolute sense of mourning. In the presence of the friend we mourn subjective autonomy and come to realization of its inherent impossibility (Derrida, 1996). But this is, paradoxically, the anti-thesis of a common idea of friendship. With friendship we associate joy, love and a sense of togetherness- not loss. I would like to explore such a contrary notion in the following essay and attempt to gleam some hope from such a primal loss. How can a friendship based on impossibility have ramifications for contemporary art or political life? In recent times the manufacture of friendship appears to form a highly visible stratum of contemporary art production. Relational practices and a plethora of artist-run spaces make this quite apparent. To what extent is this a friendship that resists unity, making manifest the impossibility that simultaneously enables and thwarts its own functionality? If “there is no friend” is this utterance a useful avenue to navigate within contemporary art? Or would the assumption that there is a friend (i.e. consensus) be better serving the purposes of artistic production?

Full Essay Here


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