Thomas Seibert: The Poet, The Communist, And The Missing People


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“I will tell you the long story of two figures, one is the poet, the other one is the communist; one figure aligned to the missing people and one figure aligned to the class which up to now did not have the consciousness of its own historical mission…” In this interview / lecture, conducted in English, Thomas Seibert discusses the problem of the notion of the avant-garde. He traces the historical roots of the modern avant-garde, which emerged from two different directions in the 19th century, with two distinct figures: the poet – the artistic avant-garde, and the communist – the political avant-garde. He follows the convergence of these two previously separate figures in the practice of the Situationists, and he further discusses the other side of the avant-garde’s ideological construction, the idea of “the missing people”. He finally inquires about the possibility of transcending the modern notion of the avant-garde as such; a possibility of the arrival – being the poet and the communist at the same time, the one and the multiple. Thomas Seibert, born in 1957, is a philosopher living in Frankfurt, Germany. His scholarly interests are in the areas of historical materialism, existential phenomenology and poststructuralism. He is also a political journalist and activist participating in the movements against capitalist globalization, and he works for the Frankfurt-based relief and human rights organization Medico International. He is the editor of Fantômas – magazin für linke debatte und praxis. The books he has authored include Geschichtlichkeit, Nihilismus, Autonomie, Stuttgart 1995; Existenzphilosophie, Stuttgart, 1997; Existenzialismus, Hamburg 2000.

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