coming into play : Derrida and "Plato's Pharmacy" - Tim Murray

My understanding of the "pharmakon" remains
influenced by Jacques Derrida's text, "Plato's
Pharmacy" (in La dissémination), which reflects
on the irony that Platonic therapeutics and the
valence of catharsis occur via the agency of the
"pharmakon," which is both remedy and poison (whether cure,
illness, or cause of illness). Through exorcism,
catharsis is said, by Derrida, to eradicate
excess by chasing the parasite outside. What's
important about his analysis is its insistence on
the irony that the parasitic logic and structure
must be shared by both poison and remedy, which
paradox must be repressed by the state apparatus
intent on maintaining the purity of an essence
clean of the charms and poison understood to
originate from without. Rather than being
governed by the oppositions inherent in the
pharmakon (remedy-poision, good-bad, true-false,
positive-negative, US-THEM), the pharmakon, as
Derrida argues so skillfully, permits the coming
into play of oppositions without being fully
encompassed or stifled (or blinded) by them.

Derrida adds, by the way, the the pharmakon also
signifies the artificial tint of painting, thus
inscribing the pharmakon into the fabric of
artistic representation,which, of course,
remained questionable to Plato as a dependable
apparatus of the state.

Recipe (evacuee cake)

It is a similar flexible play of highly charged
societal tensions that I mean to invoke by
emphasizing the paradox of "digital terror"
within the context of artistic blowback. While
differences certainly remain between the extent
of state terror employed in different regions
(not to mention by the shift of terror employed
by state surveillance systems and alternative
actions of locative media), I would suggest that
Steve Dietz's legal harrassment is directly
inscribed in the logic of state of state terror,
just as CAE's artistic reflections on critical
and technlogical terror employ the logic of the
pharmakon in resistance to the deadening logic of
us and them.

pharmakon library

pharmakon imaginary, artists, real.

pharmakon library