As the title suggests, this article takes its motivation from Blanchot's phrase of “a right to disappear.” For Blanchot then, it was a question of a right of disappearing from biopolitics or the subjectivity of the human to a spatial regulation. That question cannot be more urgent for us today. This is so when one takes into account the technics of the global “War on Terror” as directed by the American political-economic-military complex. Through that, the world is seeing but the accelerated intensification and dissemination of military and civilian surveillance technologies. Everything in this world is gradually marked as an electronic signature, so that when any living being in this world at any moment turns imminently dangerous to the global peace and security, it will be located and destroyed swiftly. That is the irresistible twenty-first-century world-picture in which all lives are being regulated. We are made as if citizens of it. The figure of the citizen today, less than being a figure of the future of the human or of future freedom of the human, is more a figure of citizen-as-target. How does one begin to assert “a right to disappear” against this subjectivity then? This article argues, through a reading of Agamben's The Man Without Content, that such a potentiality – near impossible but nonetheless necessary – lies in life itself, when one re-cognizes living as poiesis.
Research Article|March 01 2006
Prolegomenon to a Right to Disappear
Cultural Politics (2006) 2 (1): 97-114.