Diotima’s Darling: Paul Chan, Plato & Erotic Fiction

Artist and publisher Paul Chan was recently interviewed by 032c magazine about his recent book projects with his press Badlands Unlimited that include a series of erotic fiction written exclusively by women (New Lovers) and a radical new edition of a Platonic dialogue (Hippias Minor or the Art of Cunning). I know that I have already given you several Minus Plato posts about the latter, owing to my involvement with the project – I contributed an essay for the book and was one of its editors (along with Chan and Karen Marta) – , but I wanted to direct you to this interview because in it Chan makes a direct link between the two projects of erotic fiction and Platonic dialogue. Chan makes this connection via none other than Diotima, of Mantinea, that mercurial professor and priestess of love, who taught Socrates everything he knew in Plato’s Symposium.

032c: Does your idea for the erotic book series come from a certain philosophy?

Paul Chan: That’s easy. It begins and ends with Diotima.

032c: You’ve just realized a site-specific project for the Deste Foundation inspired by Plato’s Hippias Minor (also known as “On Lying”). Why Plato?

Paul Chan: Why Plato?
╲╱╲╱╲ ╱╲ ╱╲╱╲╱╲╱ ╲
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲ The comprehension of things by the imagination uses reason as the means to articulate feelings of ٩(++̮̮̃)̃۶╱╲╱╲
intuition in the
`11¶¶¶¶¶¶ construction of concepts `12¶¶¶¶¶¶ `13¶¶¶¶¶¶ (s0o o0n)
╲╱╲╱╲ ٩(++̮̮̃)̃۶╱╲╱╲╱╲ ╱╲╱╲╱╲╱ ╲
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲ ╱╲╱╲╱ ╲╱╲
╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱ Now ★ if in the act of articulation there is pleasure ━━❥then the
thing must be regarded as meaningful insofar as it casts light on a reality greater than what bears
singularly on the subject ★ ╰დ╮❤╭დ╯ When the form of a thing is judged without regard to what
a thing is •´❤ ❤ < then the ▕╰╭╮╲┈┈┈┈ pleasure > in such an act is connected necessarily with how
this form elicits for the subject articulating it a feeling of sympathy in concordance with the imagination
as an expression of
╱╲╱╲╱╲╱╲╱prefigural power. ╲╱╲╱╲٩(●●̮̮̃)̃۶╱╲╱╲╱╲
╱╲╱╲╱ ╲╱

032c: The project is also accompanied by a book entitled Hippias Minor or The Art of Cunning. What is the art of cunning?

Paul Chan: Find out by reading the book as a limited paperback or ebook for Apple iBooks and Amazon Kindle.

032c: And – if there’s any connection – how is it related to eroticism?

Again, it begins and ends with Diotima.

To read the whole interview, please go here.

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