Joanna Linsley

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Impotence: An Exercise in Endurance

Joanna Linsley

Potentiality, Giorgio Agamben argues, can be thought as the potentiality to do specific things. The architect who can build, the poet who can write. This potentiality is not defined only in relation to a future actuality. It is a mode, and this mode is characterized also by the capacity to not-do things. ‘The architect is potential insofar as he has the potential to not-build’, Agamben writes, ‘the poet the potential to not-write poems’. Specific potentiality, Agamben tells us, ‘is a potentiality that is not simply the potentiality to do this or that thing but potential to not-do, potential not to pass into actuality’. If potentiality is usually understood as the subordinate of actuality, Agamben reverses this relationship. Actuality is potentiality that has exhausted impotentiality. It is not not-Being.

Sun, 27 Apr 14 2