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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathBroodthaers

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Broodthaers figures are thus activated as «burrowing words«which, as Foucault claims, dig their treacherous tunnels beneath the seemingly smooth surface of Magritte’s pictures. As the former argued, the Belgian painter «secretly mines a space he seems to maintain in the old arrangement.» [14] And his choice of words is remarkably close to that of Broodthaers who once remarked that «Magritte aimed at the development of a poetic language to undermine that upon which we depend.» [15] Yet the affirmative realm of language that was targeted by Broodthaers was not that of everyday speech, as it was for Magritte. Broodthaers was more concerned with the pervasive babble of publicity, which had come to saturate all spheres of life in late capitalism. «Is there any other explanation«, he asks, «than the context of a world devoted to advertisements, overproduction, and horoscopes?» [16] . Magritte, he confesses, was to disagree with him and considered the younger artist too much of a sociologist.

Where Broodthaers and Magritte do agree, however, is in showing up the false authority of a mode of affirmative speech that was personified in Foucault’s


text by the figure of the teacher. To paraphrase the latter, the teacher sets out to show how everything is solidly anchored within a pedagogic space. Hence a film ‹shows› an image that ‹shows› the form of a pipe; a caption inscribed by the zealous instructor ‹shows› that the pipe is really what is meant. Yet scarcely has he stated, «This is a pipe,» before he must correct himself and stutter, «This is not a pipe, but an image of a pipe,» «This is not a pipe but a figure saying this is not a pipe,» etc., etc. The baffled master must then lower his extended pointer and turn towards the class in order to face the uproarious students.

But what happens next?

3. The Simulacrum

The story takes a quite familiar turn. The figure of the simulacrum was the counter-measure that post-structuralism adopted to destroy the false hegemony of the pedagogical or masterful discourse of Foucault’s instructor. Not the figure of resemblance, that is, which only serves the needs of representation, but similitude as structured by a logic of pure repetition. The similar provides an opening onto a

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