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Seeing Degree ZeroBarthes/Burgin and Political Aesthetics$
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Ryan Bishop and Sunil Manghani

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474431415

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431415.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Prairie (Argo)

Prairie (Argo)

(p.355) Prairie (Argo)
Seeing Degree Zero

Kristen Kreider

James O’Leary

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter offers a reimagining of Victor Burgin's projection piece Prairie and its political aesthetic. Using the specificity of Chicago as site and staging ground, the chapter deploys Roland Barthes' conceit of the ship Argo, 'each piece of which the Argonauts gradually replaced, so that they ended with an entirely new ship, without having to alter either its name or its form.' Using this critical tool in which 'the system prevails over the very being of objects' to build its own version of the projection, the chapter explores explicitly many of the themes and issues in Burgin's piece: issues of urban destruction, race relations, spatial justice and deep time. The chapter begins with Prairie and, 'by dint of combinations made within one and the same name' comes to find that, like the argo, 'nothing is left of the origin', but instead is understood as a site of both disappearance and of writing.

Keywords:   Victor Burgin, Prairie, Roland Barthes, race, spatial justice

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