Imperatives – an artistic Encyclopédie Raisonné


Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason, 1788


Imperatives – an artistic Encyclopédie Raisonné is an interdisciplinary long-term project on aesthetics of autonomy comprising a series of researches and artworks about knowledge communication and civil disobedience


rachela abbate Ideology_1_web Imperatives – an artistic Encyclopédie Raisonné
Education #1 – State Apparatus, particular, 2017, digital print. ©Rachela Abbate


Civil disobedience as an articulation of consciousness ranges between subversive and aggressive, peaceful and passive. Societies all over the world are differently formed, however, context and history of civil disobedience pronouncements have to be examined. The results will be organized in different formats and projects crossing media and collaborations with organizations and artists.

The subjects of my research are the visual aspects of writing practices as knowledge organizations of Western and non-Western societies and the implementation of artistic strategies of autonomy in political activities of diverse social groups. Both issues are conceptualized in social and political terms as an artistic Encyclopédie Raisonné, based on the model of the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des science, des arts et des métiers by Denis Diderot.

This artistic Encyclopédie Raisonné, partitioned in three main strands – History, Beside History, Nature – is a frame or container for the organization of the research material and artistic works relevant to the political and ethical imaginary and the knowledge communication architectures.

Diderot’s Encyclopédie, on which I refer to, is a classic example of political knowledge communication tool and archive. Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, published from 1751 till 1780 in France, is an illustrated dictionary and comprises 166 volumes. This dictionary was created and designed in the spirit of Enlightenment using knowledge to abolish authoritarian state power and to strengthen the autonomy of the single and the collective. Valorizing all cultural and manufacture activities, the dictionary is based on the ideal of equal rights and value of every human being on Earth. It is known as Diderot’s work, but many people were engaged – more than 140 of all social classes worked together on this project, among them Voltaire and Rousseau – to produce a meaningful tool for freedom, justice, peace, and equality. Ideals which weren’t approved by the censure and the whole dictionary project were doubted to be subversive. Indeed, the Encyclopédie was a project to communicate not only knowledge, moreover, it was also a tool of sharing information about political issues, disguising them between the lines.

Diderot’s Encyclopédie online


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