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Kriterion: Revista de Filosofia

Print version ISSN 0100-512XOn-line version ISSN 1981-5336

Kriterion vol.59 no.139 Belo Horizonte Jan./Apr. 2018 



Ângela Salgueiro Marques* 

Frederico Vieira** 

*Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – UFMG, Belo Horizonte/MG - Brasil.

**Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais - UFMG, Belo Horizonte/MG - Brasil.


Neste artigo pretendemos refletir acerca da constituição do sujeito político a partir de dois conceitos específicos: rosto (Lévinas, Butler, Deleuze e Guattari) e cena de dissenso (Rancière, Habermas). Nosso argumento pretende evidenciar como, ao “aparecerem”, os indivíduos produzem uma cena polêmica de enunciação na qual se desencadeia um processo de subjetivação política e de criação de formas dissensuais de comunicação e performance que inventam modos de ser (Foucault), ver e dizer, configurando outras interfaces entre experiência estética e política. Tal processo potencializa a invenção de novas visualidades e interlocuções nas quais se inscreve o rosto, definido aqui como o vestígio de um lugar do outro que se transforma na promessa do meu próprio lugar, assumindo caráter político e comunicacional, num processo incessante de subjetivação política em que ética e estética se tangenciam.

Palavras-chave Estética; política; rosto; cena de dissenso; sujeito político


The aim of this article is to ponder on the constitution of the political subject from two specific concepts: the face (Lévinas, Butler, Deleuze and Guattari) and the scene of dissensus (Rancière, Habermas), in order to show how the “appearance” of the individuals can produce a controversial scene of dissensus, trigger a process of political subjectivation and the creation of dissensual forms of expression and communication that invent new ways of being (Foucault), seeing and saying, configuring new ways of collective enunciation and interconnections between aesthetic experience and politics. This is related to the invention of new visualities and interlocutions in which the face is inscribed. Face is defined here as the vestige of a place of the other that is transformed into the promise of my own place, assuming a political and communicational character, in an incessant process of political subjectivation where ethics and aesthetics are related.

Keywords Aesthetics; politics; face; scene of dissensus; political subject


A reflexion concerning the aesthetical constitution of the political subject requires, in our view, the consideration of two fundamental dimensions: the first can be associated with the formation of subjectivity in its relations with the otherness. To say that the political subject appears in a polemical scene of dissensus requires us to consider the contexts and communicative spaces where multiple temporalities, power forces and affects are criss-crossed in the process of construction of the political subject, that is, the scenes in which he/she appears, expresses him/herself, creates, argues, acts and emancipates him/herself.

The second dimension has to do with the kind of ethical relation that we can establish in those scenes with whom is radically different from myself. To say that dignity and humanity have to deal with the concept of face can mean several things, but in this article we consider the following approaches: the face as relation, the face as the construction of the common (being-together) and the face as the homogenized production of subjected individuals.

When we associate the notion of face with aesthetical and communicative processes, we refer to three main approaches: the first reveals the face as a power of contact with otherness, in an ethical dimension that requires the reception (hospitality) of the other. This proposal is present in the reflections of Lévinas (1980, 2007), for whom the face is a voice that marks a relationship of openness to the other, a form of ethical interpellation in which one does not own the other and does not recognize himself in the other either. The face expresses the fact that the other is not a variation of the self and cannot be captured or assimilated by concepts. It can put us before another self who challenges us, who suffers, desires and invites us to move away from ourselves.

A second approach to the notion of face can be found in the reflections of Agamben's, for whom the face is “the only place in the community, the only possible city. [...] The face is not a simulacrum, in the sense of anything that dissimulates or conceals the truth: it is the simultaneity, the being-together of its multiple countenances, where none of them are truer than the others” (2000, p. 99).

On the other hand, the third possibility of understanding the face in the context of communicational contact with the other is brought by Deleuze and Guattari (2004), who understand the face as the smooth surface mouldable by assemblages, part of an “abstract machine” which rejects both non-conforming faces and those with suspicious airs (p. 44). According to them, the face, or rather, the “facefication” (from the French visagéification), would result from machinic assemblages that aim both to subject the bodies to the violence of a “self-government” marked by oppression, and to put ourselves before another who challenges us, who suffers, desires and which invites us to move away from ourselves.

It is important to highlight that these three approaches are very different from each other. While Lévinas argues that the face cannot be apprehended or represented by visual regimes (the sensible dimension of the face cannot be reduced to the visible scope of representations), Deleuze and Guattari presented the idea that face is a model, a pattern of conduct and way of existence that is generated and maintained by a rigorous abstract machine that defines normality and classifies all the faces comparing them to a matricial face (a Christian face: white, male, rich, high worker class, etc.). To these authors we do not have a face, but we are introduced in a certain kind of face, a model of conformity that rejects all deviant ways of being. Despite the differences between Agamben and Lévinas concerning the concept of face,2 we can see some points of affinity when the first presents the figure of the Muslim. In Agamben’s book Remnants of Auschwitz, the Muslim is described as a dead body without a face and deprived of will, history, dignity and humanity: a corpse that represented moral death and bare life. In this case, if we consider Lévinas’s concept of face as a voice, the figure of the Muslim can be interpreted as the silencing of a speakable (le dire) face and its reduction to a speechless position (le dit). Nonetheless, the Muslim is described by Agamben as the ultimate human being and claim for a new ethics, a new politics capable of supporting in its core this extreme human face.

Alongside the face, the second configurative dimension of the political subject can be approached through the notion of scene of dissensus, as discussed by Rancière (1995). According to him, the individual is constituted as a political subject insofar as he achieves the status of a morally valid interlocutor by creating and being part of a polemical enunciative scene in which what is at stake is not only the claim of identities but the identification of subject positions by which the individual transits, finding him/herself in the gaps between names, visibilities, said and not said. In speaking (expressing themselves and having their point of view heard and taken into consideration), individuals fulfil creative potentials and become subjects crossed by lines of force that, when intersected, put in contact dynamics of subjection and emancipation.

In this article, we intend to reflect on these two dimensions, the face and the scene of dissensus, in order to highlight their contributions to the constitution of the autonomous political subject, worthy of recognition and that self-recognizes itself situationally as a partner, as an interlocutor set in a controversial scene at the same time as he or she creates and renews it. We argue that the process of creation of a political subject has an aesthetical and poetical dimension related with what Deleuze (2013) calls “becoming-minor”, that is the creation of statements and ways of enunciation that promotes the emergency of a “cooperative being in common”. Minority, in its tension with majority, plays an important role in refusing crystallized identities in order to search existential territories not dominated by hegemonic forces. In this sense, “becoming-minor” indicates a potency of the invention and experimentation of an autonomous and unpredictable political subject, who creates molecular agencies and spaces of multiplicity.

Scene of dissensus and emergency of the political subject

The notion of political subject can be approached from different points of view in different fields of knowledge, but they all associate the subject's constitution with language, performance, discourse, law (norms) and ethics. In general, the approach that Michel Foucault (1984, 1995, 2009) confers on the constitution of the subject has established the basis for much of the research in Communication. He is interested in investigating how the processes of power relations affect individuals in two overlapping movements: the objectification (a production of docile and easily located bodies in discursive, temporal and spatial and predefined registers) and the subjectivation, which produces subjects from relations of force that engenders both bondage and resistance. In affirming that the power exists in bundles of relations of force, he emphasizes less its prohibitive and inhibitory function and more its role of inciting, encouraging, making it speak (Fonseca, 2003). Such relations produce discourses that sometimes contribute to the creative and autonomous action of the subjects, or subjugate them in a disciplinary and coercive way. Thus Foucault's interest would be for the possibilities of inventing new modes of existence, constructed from other relations of self to self and to the other, capable of escaping the technologies of the bio-political device of individual and collective control (Foucault, 1984).

It is important to remember that the Foucauldian political subject does not constitute itself outside the order of discourse, which establishes a division between those who can speak and those who cannot, those who can “appear” in the public space and those who cannot make themselves be seen as visible and valuable interlocutors in the public space.

The political subject, for Foucault (2009), is never simply given. Instead, the subject itself must always be thought of as the product of discourses of philosophy and of the human sciences, a position of subject produced by relations of power. According to him, to become a subject means to occupy a place (or several places) from which one can exercise will and intention. Becoming a subject implies the ability to act in the face of constraints of power flowing through subject positions. It also implies that the power has as a condition of possibility the freedom and emancipation of individuals: the condition for power to function is to link the ways that government has to structure the actions of individuals to modes of relation that these individuals establish themselves: if individuals self-flagellate, mortify themselves in exercises of humility, detachment and annihilation from the form of the self, it becomes easier to disseminate obedience. The form of power that turns individuals into subjects, for Foucault (1995), is one which favours a destructive connection to oneself, guaranteeing submission to others. The political subject, entangled in discursive relations of power, is constituted through them and submits to them, in a constant tension between connected and inseparable operations: subjection and emancipation; domination and passivity; subjugation and autonomy; action and resistance. It appears at the confluence between the act of narrating itself, the practices of interlocution and its conditions and discourses, which weave lines of force and places of subject that impose on them name, belonging and occupation.

It is this double dimension of the constitution of the political subject that Foucault presents in order to emphasize the ability of individuals to “carry out, by themselves, a certain number of operations on their bodies, their souls, their thoughts and conducts in order to produce a transformation in them” (1988, p. 1625). Power produces subjects from the moment they know their techniques in depth and, at the same time, constrains their use. Nevertheless, the Foucauldian political subject is one who has a life capable of conducts, actions and creative and subversive/non-submissive uses of self-techniques.

Along with Foucault, the question of the constitution of the political subject for Rancière is not in the conception of the linguistic practice, the domain and the use of the language for the production of agreements and consensuses, but in the conception of the act of interlocution and its conditions. In general, it can be said that the political subject in Rancière is not confused with a “group of interests or ideas”, but it appears as the aesthetical operator of a “particular device of subjectivation and litigation through which politics begins to exist” (2010a, p. 39). The “the part of those without part”3 is the metaphor for a political subject whose power and agency “cannot be equated with the power of a particular group or institution and exist only as a form of disjunction” (Rancière, 2010a, p. 43).

The disjunction and rupture are promoted by the political subject in the level of aesthetical experience. For Rancière (1995), the sensitive refers to places and modes of performance and exhibition, forms of circulation and reproduction of statements, but also the modes of perception and the regimes of emotion, the categories that identify them, schemes of thought that classify and interpret them.

The subject is given a name defined by the sharing (by taking part) of times and spaces, both in its form of action and in the passibility corresponding to that action. By this, Rancière means that when a subject corresponds to only one name, it is diluted under the control of a consensual order. But when a subject is perceived among several names, crossed by an excess of words, it is more difficult to control him/her, to classify him/her, to give him/her only a place, a visibility and a face.

Consensus, on the other hand, would establish a conceptual and imaginative framework for any interaction and discussion, whose contradictions goes unnoticed because they coincide with hegemonic interests or because they reflect existing situations and are seen as unalterable. Therefore, it reduces subjects to interlocutors with interests to be defended and transforms the political process into a game of experts (Rancière, 2004).

The political subject, therefore, acts to remove the bodies from their marked places, freeing them from any reduction to their functionality. It seeks to configure and (re)create a sensitive polemic scene in which they invent ways of being, seeing and saying, promoting new subjectivities and new forms of collective enunciation. This scene enables the emergence of enunciation subjects, the elaboration and management of statements, the instauration of performances and clashes therein, putting at stake the equality or inequality of the conflict partners as speaking beings (Marques; Lelo, 2014; Marques, 2014).

It is in the “dissensual scene” where the actors create aesthetical and enunciative acts through which they inaugurate a time and a space capable of allowing new cuts and territorializations of the legal and symbolic material space, besides “constructing spaces and relations in order to reconfigure material and symbolically the territory of the common” (Rancière, 2010c, p.19). In the controversial scenes of dissensus are promoted opportunities to create appropriate situations to modify our point of views and our attitudes towards this collective environment. Such scenes are created to treat a damage4 associated with the non-fulfilment of a presupposition of equality (this is the connection with the question of justice, besides the purpose of emancipation present in the notion of literacy) that supposedly should cause all individuals to be able to articulate temporalities and statements to participate in political actions and activities. In the process of political subjectivation, the individual becomes an emancipated subject through the work he performs on his own language and his modes of expression and “appearance”/presentation before the other.

The act of taking the word or the necessary resources to express yourself is important in this process, as the centrality of the subjetification5 is precisely in what Rancière calls “literarity”, that is, “the new forms of circulation of words, of the exhibition of the visible and the production of affections, determine new capacities” (Rancière, 2012, p. 65), which foster the emancipation practices. Creativity, language and materiality of expression (language, poiesis, production) make up the central triad to emancipation - each has to discover for himself/herself, in his/her own language, the relation to an object. In this respect, literacy can be defined as a mode of circulation of the written word that belongs to the democratic sharing of the sensible. Emancipation is linked to the access and construction of a common world through working with language (as well as literature). According to Rancière, everyone must work to emancipate themselves by working their own language. Every form of language must be open to everyone and anyone can take part in the poetic process of building the common world via translation/counter-translation in relation to any topic. This would be democracy, that is, the uprooting of words from a platform that separates those who can and those who cannot have access to the senses, promoting an opening of the access to all.

This excess of words, which I call literarity, disrupts the relation between an order of discourse and its social function. That is, literality refers, at the same time, to an excess of available words in relation to the thing named; to that excess related to the requirements for the production of life; and finally to the excess of words vis-à-vis the modes of communication that work to legitimate “the proper” order itself (Rancière, in Panagia, 2000, p. 115).

In this sense, Rancière defines three important facets of the process of construction of the political subject: a) the argumentative demonstration of the damage (not fulfilment of the equality presupposition); b) the performative dramatization of the condition of the individual; and c) the disidentification with an identity assigned by the police order.

It is important to mention that the work of creation of dissensus, of disjunction and rupture constitutes an aesthetic of politics that, according to Rancière (2010b, 2010c), can be briefly described as an activity of reconfiguration of what is given in the sensible operated by a political subject endowed with enunciative and demonstrative capacities to change the relation between the visible and the sayable, between words and bodies, between saturation and supplement. It is not simply a matter of pointing to ideological ways of disguising inequalities, but of naming and making visible and verifiable the unique experiences that make a condition intolerable.

Rancière's proposal therefore stresses the poetic and aesthetical character of the constitution of the “scenes” created by political subjects when they wish to test the egalitarian status guaranteed to them by laws and norms (Marques, 2013a, 2013b). The poetics of politics, or the existence of an aesthetic basis for politics, in addition to being a challenge to the opposition between legitimate and illegitimate interlocutors, refers to the invention of the interlocution scene in which the word of the speaking subject is inscribed and in which this very subject is constituted in a performative, poetic and argumentative way. Thus, the construction of a political subject takes place to the extent that it creates a scene of dissensus, publicly assuming a dramatic/ironic/comic/argumentative place with his/her partners. The political subject arises from the disidentification with an imposed social identity and the staging of an injury (relative to the inequality between the parts that compose the community), which reveals the tense coexistence of the worlds of consensus and dissensus.6

Although the perspectives of Foucault and Rancière are alike in several points, it is necessary to remember some of their differences (Tassin, 2012; Lazzarato, 2014). While Rancière states that the ethics7 neutralizes and disrupts the politics and the emergence of the political subject, Foucault constructs an ethical approach to subjectivation, betting on a creative appropriation of the self, in which subjects are capable of directing their conduct and social positioning towards an ethical relationship with themselves.

As a counterpoint to Rancière and Foucault, the rational political subject in Habermas (1987, 2010), for example, has as its central dimension the idea that the concomitant construction of society and the subject would be possible thanks to the work of language, used for the mutual clarification of points of view, allowing for a more elaborate (discursive) form of dialogue, articulated through the exchange of arguments based on premises that can be shared and defended publicly. And in this reflexive movement, the links between context of interaction, language, and individuals replace direct confrontation between man and the world, revealing that subjective responses and arguments are examined through public and reciprocal justification obtained in the communication community. Justification would be the bridge between subjective experience and intersubjective transparency, especially when it comes to better understanding and /or solving problems of a collective nature. For this connection to be established, it is necessary, according to Habermas, to follow certain normative principles in the course of discursive interaction.

Habermas (1998) asserts, therefore, that the individual is constituted in the discursive action and, in this same practice, produces, shapes and modifies the social context. The constitution of the subject in Habermasian theory implies that, on the one hand, it must seek its emancipation and autonomy through the practice of public discourse and justification, and in so doing, it begins to contribute to collective moral progress. On the other hand, Habermas critics point out that public justification does not reveal the delicate and time-consuming process of developing communicative, expressive and cognitive abilities that lead the subject to position himself/herself before others, to elaborate and utter arguments with security and resourcefulness, to justify and defend such arguments when questioned. In addition, the institutional, political, and cultural structures that should provide opportunities for development and improvement of these abilities are permeated by power asymmetries and coercions that are scarcely thematized by Habermas (Kohn, 2000).

On the one hand, the question of the formation of the political subject in Habermas involves the search for self-knowledge and self-realization through the constitution of identity and political autonomy and, on the other, the tension between the development of communicative capacities and the constraints (institutional, symbolic, political, economic etc.) that undermine the possibilities of transformation of the subject into an interlocutor in conditions of parity, morally worthy of being considered and recognized as a citizen. The fact that these constraints are able to prevent people from becoming interlocutors on an equal footing derives not only from economic dependence and political domination, but also from the “internalization of the right to speak or not to speak, the devaluation of the style of discourse of some individuals and the elevation of others” (Young, 2001, p. 370). In this sense, what is perhaps not clear in the Habermasian approach is the process by which an ordinary subject becomes an “interlocutor”, feels capable of taking the floor and of integrating a public deliberation. Therefore, we cannot fail to point out that the conquest of political autonomy, in its relational bias, depends on components external to the subjects, that is, of communicative, social and institutional dimensions that, considering the asymmetries of power and discourse, allows the person to participate in public life, being respected, heard, considered and able to engage in an emancipatory process.

The controversial distinction between the political thought of Rancière and Habermas was treated in detail elsewhere (Marques, 2013a), but we can highlight some of its main aspects.

Questioning Habermas and the idea of a structured “common world” supported by rationality, universality and consensus, Rancière affirms that politics needs also to contemplate the unequal relation that is established between the interlocutors. Besides it is crucial to analyze the configuration of the communicative situation and the possibilities of interlocutors to participate in the debate, considering that their arguments tend not to be understood as rational by their “pairs”. Politics is defined by Rancière as an activity based on a dissensual communication, in the conflict that is not restricted to the rationality of the exchange of arguments oriented towards mutual agreement and clarification concerning the interests of the participants, as expressed in the habermasian theory of communicative action.

Political dissensus is not a discussion between speaking people who would confront their interests and values. It is a conflict about who speaks and who does not speak, about what has to be heard as the voice of pain and what has to be heard as an argument on justice. And this is also what ‘class war’ means: not the conflict between groups which have opposite economic interests, but the conflict about what an ‘interest’ is, the struggle between those who set themselves as able to manage social interests and those who are supposed to be only able to reproduce their life (Rancière, 2011a, p. 2).

When opposing the notions of dissensus and justified rational reasons exchange (search for agreement by reciprocal justification), Rancière mainly argues that Habermas’ concern with the production of validity claims made by citizens pertaining to an ideal community of speech does not leave space for what it should count as most important: the invention of the dialogue situation. “As Rancière emphasizes against Habermas, political struggle proper is therefore not a rational debate between multiple interests, but, simultaneously, the struggle for one’s voice to be heard and recognized as a voice of a legitimate partner” (Zizek, 2004, p. 70).

While Habermas defines community by means of rational inclusivity and equality as a taken for granted presupposition (every individual can and is in conditions to formulate and to present arguments in the public sphere, without the necessity to verify equality), Rancière argues that equality is not never the starting point, but an object of constant verification.

The reason why politics cannot be identified with the model of communicative action is that it presupposes that the partners are already constituted as such, and the discursive forms of the exchanges would imply a speech community in which constraints would be inexistent. What is specific about dissensus is that partners are not constituted beforehand, nor even the object of discussion, and not either the polemical scene. An individual that desires to show that he or her is part of a common world that the other does not see, cannot make use of an implicit normative logic (Rancière, 2004, p. 244).

Rancière does not radically posits himself against Habermas - after all he is also dealing with argumentation and political interlocution in communicative situations - but makes a movement to reaffirm his argument of that the main task of politics is dissensus (Habermas see dissensus as something negative that disturbs the reach of the collective agreement). In Rancière, the basis of political interlocution is the “opposing agreement” regarding the statute of the subjects in interaction and the objects to which they refer. In other words, for Habermas understanding means a rational use of language that isolates aesthetic experience, while for Rancière understanding is a political process that has an aesthetical basis in which language exchange has no normative principle to follow but a performative and polemical scene to create. To him we cannot separate an argumentative rational order of a poetical order of narrative and metaphor, for politics is the result of language acts that are simultaneously rational exchanges and poetical metaphors that makes possible.8

Rancière’s account differs from Habermas’s primarily on the matter of consensus (Disagreement has an extended critique of Habermas on a number of grounds including Habermas’s distinction between poetic and argumentative language, his shift away from a third person perspective, and his account of performative contradiction). For Habermas the supposition of understanding means that we have to suppose an orientation to agreement. Rancière disagrees. He argues that understanding is rooted in a supposition of equality and this supposition leads to disagreement (Dean, 2011, p. 89).

It is through creation of scenes of dissensus that the political subject becomes emancipated and “capable of pronouncing himself/herself in the first person and of identifying his/her affirmation with the reconfiguration of a universe of possibilities” (Rancière, 2011a, p. 250). Under this bias, the constitution of the social actor as legitimate interlocutor must consider the following dynamics: a) each actor must see itself/herself as a subject of speech and not only of voice, able to be autonomously constituted while creating and recreating a controversial scene of expression and argumentation; b) each actor must build his/her political autonomy, that is, their abilities to narrate and make their experiences intelligible through the explication of the contiguous universe in which these experiences make sense and thereby awaken empathy; c) each actor must disidentify himself/herself with the names that have been assigned to them in a hierarchical way, that is, he/she must seek to exist in the connection and disconnection of various names, spaces, scenes and speeches, evidencing a multiplicity of possible worlds.

In this sense, we emphasize the importance of privileging subjects and their political-aesthetical “appearance” in the scene of dissensus, their perception as subjects of speech and discourse and the way they invent and create scenes in which there is an intersection between the content of the testimony given and the uniqueness of the subjects and their contexts of life and action.

The following part of the text is dedicated to think about subjects’ political-aesthetical “appearance” in the scene of dissensus through the Levinasian concept of face. If we are interpellated by the other who speaks to us, this interaction activates reciprocal communication and allows a specific practice of configuring a common world, a polemical world, to shape identity and otherness. For this reason, the face can be thought of as the vestige of a place of the other that becomes the promise of my own place, assuming a communicational and political character, in an incessant process of political subjectivation in which ethics and aesthetics are constantly and mutually imbricate.

Face and otherness

In Lévinas’s reflections (1980, 2007) the face is what drives us away from ourselves by leading us through the labyrinth of alterity. It is not really the human face, but a vestige of the presence of an Other that, however close it is, remains at a distance. Therefore, the face is not seen, nor representable. “It is what cannot be transformed into a content that our thoughts would encompass; It is the uncontainable, what takes us beyond” (Lévinas, 2007, p. 70). The face is not a mere supply of data: it is what it communicates without allowing itself to be apprehended as representation.

The manifestation of the face is a revelatory experience of the absolute, it is revelation. Thus, the epiphany of the face of the other (Lévinas, 1980, 1999) would be the coincidence between what is being expressed and she/he who expresses it: manifestation of Other, manifestation of a face beyond form. The face is a living presence, it is an expression: it speaks without mediations, for its manifestation is already discourse. Hence the speaking face is described by Lévinas as the event of otherness. The word is, for him, listening and answering, once it is received and offered. The otherness communicates through the face: it is the cry of the other that summons me and establishes an irreversible relationship. In this convocation of the face as voice would reside, for Lévinas (2005, 2011) the original event of the word, language, communication. We will return to this relationship between face and voice later in the text.

In this sense, the face is dialogue and meaning: “it is complete exteriority, an entire relationship and communication, sincerity and openness” (Melo, 2003, p. 89). Such a conception, derived from the thought of Lévinas, should be briefly set out here before we go on. A first point to be made is that the face, for Lévinas, is not the face that appears on the surface of a portrait or artistic image. Nor is it reduced to the human face. For him, the relation with the face is not one of knowledge of an object, because the face is not offered to us through the description. The face is by itself and does not need a referential system or concepts.

Daniel Bougnoux emphasizes this character which the face has of openness to otherness, or of passage and encounter between the self and the other. For him, the face, understood as object and subject of the eye, weaves a relational intrigue (capable even of being observed in landscapes and objects).9

The face that gives access to the world of the other cannot be scrutinized and resists infinitely to our efforts of approximation and appropriation. Before the face, we can only respond and get into the intrigue, without a program outlined previously or an earlier transparency. The face brings us back to the relation, and the uncertain co-piloting of such a relationship reminds us of the constitutive incompleteness of one’s knowledge and desire. The attraction inspired by a face is impossible to be circumscribed and satisfied. A relational matter, the face opens and embellishes itself when it is animated by the other's gaze, or in the heat of a conversation. The face is not content to be seen, it is illuminated and sometimes transfigured in the intensity of certain exchanges (Bougnoux, 2002, p. 11).

The face is untranslatable and cannot be appropriated, understood, classified. It does not refer to a specific theme, but it bothers us, for it “sets the subject on the path towards the unattainable without being able to return quietly to himself” (Melo, 2003, p. 89). This disturbance caused by the face expresses a refusal to merge with the other: the face does not represent the other, but it is an invocation to the look that does not demand an interpretation or an understanding. The face “is not situated in the order of manifestation, for it is neither a phenomenon nor a substance” (Carrara, 2010, p. 53). The face of the other is a trace, a trait that reveals the human being in a kind of nudity and vulnerability. Such nudity would express the absence of any cultural and social 'coating', since the face becomes visible only through a process of discarding (Agamben, 2000).

[...] Of all the parts of the body, the face is the most exposed, both to danger and caress; Naked and transparent, the face is all exteriority, all relationship and communication, sincerity and openness. The face speaks for itself and is, for the other, an unique identity known by the other as a reality that reveals itself without being dominated. The face is more than a spark of the Infinite, and infinite in itself (Melo, 2003, p. 87).

Lévinas (1999) places the face outside the field of vision, elevating the aesthetic not reduced to the form, but amplified by the verb. In assigning a voice to the face, Lévinas locates the image below; “Before its existence as a plastic image and sensitive perception, in a more essential way, the face is meaning, speech; this is why the listening of the face overcomes its vision” (Poirié, 2007, p. 27). This point of view highlights the mechanisms of interlocution and, therefore, the discourses that builds the subjectivation of what constitutes as face.

Thus, in Lévinas's approach, the ethics associated with the face derives from the fact that it calls and disturbs those who look at it, creating a bond of responsibility (Carrara, 2010). Lévinas (2011) believes that the Face is manifested in face-to-face interactions between men and in the gesture of acceptance of the one who precedes me, of an absolutely Other whom I am also responsible to. The traces that shape the face involve, therefore, an alterity that brings us back to the ethical responsibility that rises against the individual annulments resulting from homogenization, machinations and machines. This face, irreducible to a biological and phenotypic composition, defends itself against companies, the techniques and the institutions. The Levinasian philosophical movement liberates us from the sameness that the alterity concretized in the face revealed by the image, and consequently expands the understanding of the Other that precedes me and which is also in the for-beyond the limits imposed by the image, by the technical reproducibility that proliferates its continuous accessibility fostered by the subjects and institutions.

In a dialogue with Lévinas, Judith Butler (2011) states that the face implies an ethical demand that arrives unexpectedly and causes a moral authority to weigh in on us. Thus, it reflects on the face understood as a voice, as the vocalization of suffering, a lament and a demand. In this sense, in order for the face (visage), the places, the landscapes, the bodies and the reports to act as a face (ethical demand), we must always listen to them, resonate with them and be the surface on which they resonate.

It would be necessary to listen to the face as it speaks in a way other than the language to understand the precariousness of life that is at stake. [...] We would have to question the emergence and disappearance of the human within the limits of what we can know, what we can hear, what we can see, what we can feel (Butler, 2011, p. 32).

What is morally binding, to her, it is not what individuals define, but what presents itself to them without being given a chance to deny an answer. In this sense, it triggers Lévinas' notion of the face, to explain “the manner in which others make moral claims upon us, directing moral demands on us, which we do not ask for, but which we are not free to refuse” (2011, p. 16). Butler recovers Lévinas' reflection on responsibility, emphasizing that the moral interpellation of the face does not happen because the face is before us, but because it looms above us: “It is the other face of death, looking through it and exposing it. The face is the other that asks me not to let him die alone, as if by leaving him one would become an accomplice of his death. Therefore the face says to me, “You shall not kill” (2011, p. 16). If the desire to kill takes place, the other escapes us; his face disappears. The presence of the face becomes more palpable, so to speak, when we are tempted to nullify it and fail. In the words of Lévinas:

[...] that face looking towards me, in its expression - in its mortality - summons me, requests me, commands me: as if the invisible death faced by the face of the other ... was 'my problem'. As if, unknown to the other which, in the nakedness of his face, it already affects, he 'reported' to me before he even confronted me, before becoming the death that faces me, myself, face to face. The death of the other man puts me under pressure, calls me to the responsibility, as if by my possible indifference I became an accomplice of that death, invisible to the other that is exposed to it; As if even before he was condemned, he had to answer for the death of the other, and not leave him alone in his morbid solitude (Lévinas, 1999, pp. 24-25).

Therefore, when we expose ourselves to the vulnerability of the face, we challenge our own right to exist, and also the gesture of existing away from the other. We are aware of the other's precariousness:

To answer to the face, to understand its meaning means to wake up to what is precarious in another life or, rather, to what is precarious to life in itself. This cannot be an awakening, to use that word, for my own life and, in this way, to extrapolate to the understanding of someone else's precarious life. It must be an understanding of the Other's precarious condition. This is what makes the notion of the face belong to the sphere of ethics (Butler, 2011, p. 19).

The face, according to Butler, states several things simultaneously: an ethical demand made by the Other, the expression of agony and insecurity by which we look at the precariousness of the Other's life and the prohibition of killing it.

Voice and enunciation as common features of Rancière’s and Lévinas’ ethical thought

Even if Rancière presents an approach of ethics10 that does not highlight the dimension of radical otherness, we argue that his concept of “scène of dissensus” has some common features with the ethical interpellation responsible for the phenomenical experience of the face.

According to Rancière (2004), the creation of a common opposes a consensual space and a polemical space: it gives visibility to subjects and speeches that were not considered or listened. It is a process that bring into being the sensible11 experience of voices, bodies and testimonies that were not comprehended as part of the egalitarian regime. Consensual community establish a wrong that must be treated in a polemical public space when resist to register those voices, testimonies and bodies as potential interlocutors. “This procedure creates a community of division in the two senses of the term: a space that presupposes the sharing of the same reason, but also a space which integrity only exists by the means of a division” (Rancière, 2004, p. 166).

Considering this reflexive frame, we argue that the tension between silence and speech as an origin of vulnerabilities and precariousness of the subjects as interlocutors are common concerns in the ethical thought of Rancière and Lévinas. Both authors affirm that all subjects are worthy of consideration and careful listen in a scene of interpellation where an agonic clamor of suffering calls to the ethical responsibility (this is especially clear if we conceive that face is a voice). The enunciation game that emerges in this “scene of interpellation” (Butler, 2015) presents the moral and visible forces that act in the discursive production of the subject engaged with others, i.e. the “ensemble of norms and rules that a subject has to negotiate in a vital and reflexive manner” (Butler, 2015, p. 21). The scene of interpellation is the intervening dimension in which we address each other preserving differences and building a common space by the proximity experience of community.

The common is the space of exposition and appearance of the gaps and intervals that rend possible a collective action by language use. This language act promotes not only ways of “being in common” (which frequently effaces or suppress differences and singularities), but also ways of “appear in common” (Tassin, 2004). Here is a central question: the “common” of a community refers to the subjects “appearance” and to their faces’ emergence on the sphere of public visibility both as moral valid interlocutors and as subjects that live a life judged as worthy of respect and esteem. Appear is to talk, to gain public existence as interlocutor, to have a face (Lévinas, 2007) and to be able of interpellating the others.

According to Rancière (2004), the creation of a common opposes a consensual space and a polemical space: it gives visibility to subjects and speeches that were not considered or listened. It is a process that bring into being the sensible experience of voices, bodies and testimonies that were not comprehended as part of the egalitarian regime (Marques, 2013c). Consensual community establish a wrong that must be treated in a polemical public space when resist to register those voices, testimonies and bodies as potential interlocutors. “This procedure creates a community of division in the two senses of the term: a space that presupposes the sharing of the same reason, but also a space which integrity only exists by the means of a division” (Rancière, 2004, p. 166).

The gestures of contemplating the face and of carefully listening of others means responding12 to the face, i.e. establishing with them an ethical relationship, a relationship of implication, affectation and interpellation that makes us available to listening, dialogue and reciprocity, establishing a way of welcoming and welcoming the other, without reducing it to “itself”: this balance between the approach (opening) and the distance is what constitutes the condition of possibility of any and all forms of communication, of the constitution of sensitive communities.

Face, precarious life and subjection

Butler (2011) states that we are all precarious subjects, since we rely on other anonymous entities to be apprehended, taken into consideration and recognized. In this dependence could lay our condition of precariousness and vulnerability. She develops the argument that the precariousness of life can manifest mainly in the way spaces of appearance (often marked by images and media contexts) produce different ways of distributing vulnerability, making some populations and groups more subject to violence than others. In these spaces of appearance, those who remain faceless, or whose faces are presented as symbols of inferiority, are generally not worthy of recognition.

Lévinas and Butler bet on the face as an expression of the vulnerability of the being, describing its manifestation (apparition) as an experience which reveals the living presence and the pure communication of an entity that becomes accessible, but does not surrender. Butler triggers the figure of the face in order to question this distribution of modes of visibility: for her, dominant forms of representation must be disturbed by something that reveals the precariousness of life to be apprehended. She wants to look at the face elements that point to a kind of resistance to ready life forms, to the erasure and disappearance of the subjects in narratives that only “fit” the individuals in previously architected discursive frames, capturing their gestures, routines and bodies in consensual operations, constraints and submissions of all kinds. In this sense, the exhibition and the appearance of the body and the face are capable of stressing statements and modes/scenes of enunciation, revealing a political potential of disidentification and rupture.

In this respect, Butler and Lévinas's argument differs radically from that developed by Deleuze and Guattari (2004), for whom a face is produced only when the head separates from the body and it can reveal itself as a colony of the facefication which decodes, encapsulating it as a landscape, through the process of social production of the face. From this perspective, what is seen today in the speeches is a hegemonic facefication that escapes the binomial Being-Appearing. In this context, the “inadequate” goes through the line of re-orientation or systematic elimination.

According to Deleuze and Guattari, the facefication process expresses the weakness of individuals in the face of self-sufficient totalitarianisms, for which there is only one way: an identification and adaptation to the current system.

The face is, in itself, a redundancy. And makes itself redundant with the redundancies of significance or frequency, and also with those of resonance or subjectivity... The concrete faces are born of an abstract machine of facefication, which will produce them at the same time as it gives to the signifier its white wall, to subjectivity its black hole (2004, pp. 32-33).

Faced with an articulation of power, no one remains faceless, even the deviation must be facefied, in order to be properly treated - captured through the inclusion of what is excluded (Drevet, 2002). By facefying bodies in an activity of abstraction and overcoding, a sphere of power also operates on being-in-language by naming individuals and transforming them into “place of operations capable of being constantly rearticulated and divided” (Cervelin, 2009, p. 111).

This machine is called the machine of facefication because it is the social production of the face because it operates a facefication of the whole body, its surroundings and its objects, a landscape of all worlds and means. The deterritorialization of the body implies a reterritorialization in the face; The decoding of the body implies an overcoding by the face; The collapse of the body coordinates or of the means implies a landscape constitution (Deleuze and Guattari, 2004, p. 49).

Lévinas sees the face as an expression of the vulnerability of the being, describing its manifestation (apparition) as an experience which reveals the living presence and the pure communication of an entity that becomes accessible, but does not surrender itself. In a completely different way, Deleuze and Guattari propose that the face is actually a device of subjection and domination.

The visage and the human face

In addition to the machinic perspective presented by Deleuze and Guattari, authors such as Lévinas and Butler bring important contributions to a paradigmatic change in the aesthetic understanding of the face. In addition to form, we are led towards the recognition of what is beyond the image, the voice of an enigma and, beyond the representation, what is the Other that precedes it in the face-to-face phenomenon. The singularity of the subject places the observer into a riddle of interlocution, which deconstructs our automated models of perception.

Thus, it is very important to point out that Lévinas (2011) does not perceive the face as a representative image of the subject, quite on the contrary. “The face is the concrete and indescribable appearance and, as such, the face is not a channel of relations, it is pure relation” (Melo, 2003, p. 91). Although Lévinas does not wish to make a representation of what the face is, but to show his “apparition”, he affirms that the face has a visibility that is only apprehended by the gaze, in which the other that looks at me is the one who reveals me. The gaze is an integral part of the manifestation and appearance of the Other. Through the eyes of the other, “the same is called to abandon the place of all who contemplate and know. The look is uncomfortable, puts the same in a situation of exodus” (Melo, 2003, p. 95).

In this respect, the emergence of the face as a still image in photographs and self-portraits, for example, invites us to peer, to look at the face and body of the other, revealing the image as an important support of access to the other and its appearance. And also, of course, the image can only capture our vision at a glance, reducing the other to a name, a form, an object, which triggers the facefication machine.

Can an image of the human face bring forth the face? Although Lévinas argues in favour of a face that cannot be contained in the human face - since the face is the presentiment of the precariousness of life, of the suffering that does not allow itself to be represented - it mentions that some human expressions can be signified (by signs) from the human face: a figure that represents pain, a cry, a demand, a finitude. But still, the representation of the face does not account for expressing the human. What is unrepresentable in the face cannot be captured by a device of visibility that tries to erase its failure to represent otherness. Thus a successful representation of the face should fail to capture the referent and evidence this failure. “The human is what limits the success of any representational practice. The face is not erased in this representation fault, but it is exactly constituted in this possibility” (Butler, 2011, p. 27). For Lévinas (1999), there is no way of translating the “human” into imagery, for representation reduces the complex traces of the captured referent, preventing us from “listening” to the face (for example, suffering) through the image and moving ourselves out of the precariousness of the Other.

Therefore, would the image be intended to rotate the subjects, rendering the face invisible, that is, silencing their clamour and erasing their uniqueness into a generality? Answers to these questions could be sought as we inquire about the devices that define what kind of human being the image shows us and to what kind of human being it is destined, what kind of look and consideration is created by this operation (Rancière, 2010c, p. 100). As Butler points out,

Normative and mediatic schemes of intelligibility establish what will and will not be human, what will be a habitable life, what will be a death to be lamented. These normative schemes operate not only by producing human ideals that make a difference between those who are more and those who are less human. Sometimes they produce images of the less than human, in the guise of the human, in order to show how the less human disguises itself and threatens us (2011, p. 28).

Facefication reveals to us that there is violence in the frame of what is shown. This violence perfectly fits the faces in the frame of what can be said and what can be shown, without gaps, without faults or leftovers. It is the mechanism or device by which certain lives and certain deaths remain unrepresented or are represented in ways that do capture them (again) by the machinic.

There are two implied movements here: to look at the manners of the performative “appearance” of the subjects in the image and to identify what kind of look and implications this “apparition” causes with those who observe the image. And in these two operations, it is the “appearance” that is at stake.

In the political movements and gestures of exposure linked to the “appearing”, individuals become subjects with faces, capable of developing enunciative and demonstrative capacities to reconfigure the relationship between the visible and the sayable, between words and bodies. The image invites the approach to the other, while ensuring a separation: if it “produces a connection between separated subjects, between subjects of disconnection, it ensures the distance that separates them, preserving them from any identifiable or massifying fusion” (Mondzain, 2011, p. 124)

As an example, we bring the approach that Didi-Huberman (2012) makes of the photographic series Faces (1985-86), by Philippe Bazin. During his years as a junior doctor in a hospital in France, Bazin happened to take care of elderly patients. This experience prompted him to write a doctoral thesis on “Human and psychosocial aspects of life in a long-term center”, highlighting his work in the Geriatrics area and providing detailed descriptions of routine, things, bodies, gestures and sensations from which the observer does not escape unharmed. The text thematises the denial of humanity, the humiliation and violence directed at the elderly. To gather the thesis' data, during his nine-month residency, he would stay in the rooms in the morning to medicate the elderly. In the afternoon, he would return to the rooms to photograph them, talk to them, and watch what was going on with them. According to Didi-Huberman, his thesis became a true photographic essay in which faces closely photographed and the reporting, the social documentary, and the poetic realism are mixed.

Bazin's intention was to find shreds of humanity in the gesture of listening, in the exercise of looking at (not through) the elderly, in the effort to address the other, to question and be challenged by him. The residual life of the elderly, tied to the mission of its management and protection, exposed its condition of vulnerability and precariousness through mechanisms of control and underexposure, leading to social disappearance, impersonality and dehumanization. The loss of the face that Butler mentions was shaped by the process of institutional framing that makes it difficult to listen to the clamour of the other, and thus the production of ethical responsibility over that other sick person, weak and lonely. Through the photographs of the visage of the elderly, Bazin seeks to give them a face: the dignity of the human being built on a look that listens to the face.

Bazin gives their faces back using the photographic apparatus of the look, designed to transform the clinical eye and its necessary technical management in “eye to the listener”. He describes this practice, in which speaking and looking are combined in the same temporality, as an initiation, an initiatory journey to the recognition of others, starting from himself (Didi-Huberman, 2012, p. 38).

Bazin's images present us with an exposition of the unnamed, the anonymous, welcoming the other and the sounds of their suffering via listening and capturing the face. Of course, a photograph does not return the word to the photographed subject. As Didi-Huberman (2012, p. 43) points out, Bazin's images do not restore the proper name to the people whose faces are exposed. Its purpose is to lift the faces, to support them, to give them the power of “faire face” (to face, to withstand). And would that not expose them in the dimension of a possibility of a word?

Bazin's research shows that the image can confer a face to an individual, making it a subject to our eyes (the humanization depends on the visibility of the human face), and therefore, by allowing its appearance, brings forward the place of communication, of reciprocity. But it also produces (in)communicability: a face that presents itself to us through the image can, at the same time, reveal a “something in common”, an unusual act and a part of an other that cannot be grasped, cannot be translated itself into communication. Lévinas mentions both “plastic” representations of the human face that obliterate the face and the possibility of the face operating and being represented as face, from the moment that such representation can be vocalized or understood as the result of a voice that expresses a lament, an agony, a sign of the precariousness of life. According to Butler's diagnosis:

It is not possible, under contemporary conditions of representation, to listen to the agonizing cry or to be compelled or called to face responsibility. We were displaced from the face, sometimes through the very image of the face, which is made to express the inhuman, which is already dead, the one who is not precarious and therefore cannot be killed (2011, p. 32).

Moreover, the devices from which the images are produced reveal that, at the same time, the face can act as a pure presentation and a communicational relationship between the self and the other, and as a mechanic instrument of naming and domination. The face may appear as a vestige of an incapacitating presence and as consensual adequacy of the self to a project of subjectivity (usually of subjection).

The interesting thing to note here is that, when they “appear,” the individuals produce a controversial scene of dissensus; they trigger a process of subjectivation and the creation of dissensual forms of expression and communication that, according to Rancière, invent ways of being, seeing and saying, configuring new subjects and new forms of collective enunciation. This refers to the invention of new visualities and interlocutions in which the face and the word are inscribed and in which the political subjects constitute themselves in a performative way.

Final considerations

One of our purposes was to point out that the face is not configured only as what is offered to the vision, but especially what remains in becoming in the incapacitating appearance of the talking face.

But what is the face that challenges us? The face made by the media devices, retouched, recreated and exposed to the visibility of the media spotlight, or the face that transcends any representation and seeks to configure a way of welcoming the other, without reducing it to itself, setting the condition of possibility of all and any form of communication? How can the concept-metaphor of the Face help us think about the aesthetical communicative processes that permeate the studies related to subjectivation and encounter with others? It was with these questions that we set out to explore some dimensions of the concept of the scene of dissensus, since it can be conceived as an important locus of appearance of the face. Here we understood the face in the form of an epiphany that is originally language and impossibility of approaching the other without being by the word (the voice), in a situation that, despite the inevitable presence of asymmetries and inequalities, sets up an aesthetical and political experience from the poetical multiplicity with which interlocutors can build together a common, or a sensible community.

1This research has been possible thanks to the support of CNPq and FAPEMIG.

2There is a difference between Lévinas and Agamben in the way they conceive responsibility: while Agamben argues that responsibility is legal, Lévinas conceives an ethical approach of responsibility that is based in the capacity of listen the moral claim voiced by suffering others. In accord with Agamben testimony requires somebody who judges from outside. Contrarily, the thought of Lévinas builds an ethicity of ethics (and not the legality of ethics). In Lévinas ethics is beyond traditional justice and law. Justice and law are not touched by the ethics of saying (l'ethique du dire).

3“The part of those without part”(sans-part in French) is not a poor person or a worker, but the way in which this poor man and this worker are able, by means of an enunciative (argumentative and performatic) operation, to mark, to draw, to make appear as a problem a hiatus, a rupture in which the consensual order insists on operating and maintaining the inclusion of all and the appropriateness of each to a place and an occupation. In other words, these enunciative operations which constitute the agency of the political subject give rise to a supplement where there seemed to be an exact correspondence between bodies and social places.

4It is important to emphasize that the damage cannot be confused with an injury committed against a specific subject, that is, something that can be repaired or “fixed” by the application of a law or sanction. The damage is not repaired in the sense of making it disappear, but it can be treated as soon as the dissension between a police order (saturation of equivalence between bodies and occupations) and the irruption of politics. Rancière, therefore, is interested in a “scene in which the equality or inequality of the partners of conflict as speaking beings” (1995, p. 81) is put into play, a demonstration scene for the treatment of harm.

5Subjectivation in Rancière names both the process of becoming subject and the political process of naming constraints of power and injustice: it makes visible the gap between the identity of someone within the given consensual order (in the distribution of roles, places, and status) and a certain demand for subjectivity through the action of politics. In this respect, Rancière points out that subjectivation means “the production, by a series of acts, of an instance and capacity for enunciation that were not identifiable in a given field of experience, whose identification is linked to the reconfiguration of the field Of experience” (1995, p. 59). Political subjectification is not the “recognition of” or the gesture of “assuming an identity”, but the disconnection of this identity, the production of a gap between the identity of the existing order and a new political subjectivity.

6Rancière was the subject of much criticism when he constructed a reflection on politics that privileges the tension between two worlds (or two forms of sharing the sensible) instead of highlighting the process of creating possible worlds from the escape from the common world imposed by consensus and by the hegemonic models of established power. For critics (Lazzarato, 2014; Tassin, 2012), this argument limits the power of perspective that focuses on the multiplicity of worlds that are instituted by differentiation, reinventing passages between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic.

7Speaking about an ethical turn of politics, Rancière (2010b) points out that ethics is responsible for removing dissent and establishing the identification of all forms of discourses and practices from the same indistinct point of view: the consensual point of view. Consensus, according to him, does not allow the interval between living and norm to emerge: it forces a coincidence between the two.

8“In The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Habermas insists on the tension between two kinds of linguistic acts: “poetic” languages that open the world up and the closed-world forms of arguing and validating. He accuses those he criticizes with underrating this tension and the necessity for aesthetic languages that open the world up and also legitimize themselves within the rules of communicating. But the point is that the demonstration proper to politics is always both argument and opening up the world where argument can be received and have an impact-argument about the very existence of such a world. And this is where the question of the universal comes in, before playing its part in issues such as whether universalization of interests is possible or impossible and how different forms of argument can be checked in a supposedly normal situation. Political interlocution has to do with the very nexus of the logos and its connection with the aesthesis (the partition of the perceptible): its logic of demonstration is indissolubly an aesthetic of expression” (Rancière, 1995, pp. 85-86).

9“The object and the subject of the gaze, the face weaves a relational intrigue. It is precisely because the relational is privileged that the notion of face is transferable and passes from the human subject to certain landscapes or the face of animals. The face appears wherever we imagine it can arouse a pragmatic reciprocity between subjects, or whenever that living portion of the world I contemplate seems to understand and desire mine” (Bougnoux, 2002, p. 10).

10Ethics in Rancière would be associated, in the scope of community and its practices, to the attribution of a space, time and visibility to each one of its members giving origin to a kind of allotment or division. It is possible to say that, in general, the question of ethics in Rancière is given by the way as the division of the sensible is carried through. There are the forms of the division of the sensible that define the way as the individuals relate to each other; the way they nominate what they consider just or unjust and the manner that they constitute the “common” that articulates them in a community. In this aspect, ethics would restitute to democracy its character of insurgency, rupture, and reconfiguration of the imaginary through the creation of scenes of dissensus in which equality is constantly put into question.

11We consider that the sensible cannot be reduced to the visible, for the sensible is what establishes the unequal division of recognition and consideration among subjects. Therefore is not possible to see or to unregister the sensible even if it articulates social and media framings, norms and codes that organize and control collective life. We take for granted the fact that the politics of aesthetics (Rancière, 2010c) is intrinsically linked to the way in that semantic and imagetic operations creates regimes of visibility capable to regulate and constraint the “appearance” of political subjects. The politics of aesthetics can furthermore regulate the distance between spectators and art works in order to avoid a confuse continuum that keep away every possibility to recognize alterity and unfamiliarity.

12“To respond to the face, to understand its meaning means to wake up to what is precarious in another life or, rather, to what is precarious to life in itself. This cannot be an awakening, to use that word, for my own life and, in this way, to extrapolate to the understanding of someone else's precarious life. It needs to be an understanding of the precariousness of the Other” (Bulter, 2011, p. 19).


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Recebido: 31 de Agosto de 2017; Aceito: 21 de Novembro de 2017

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