“YES!” – a comprehensive review (part 1)

The journal Parallax (vol. 16, no.3, 2010) is a special edition on the subject of ‘YES!’.
Gary Peters, who is Professor of Critical and Cultural Theory at York St. John University, UK, is guest-editor for the issue, and is also author of one of the key papers :‘‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Don’t Know’
The full-text article costs US$34.00 for non-subscribers to download, but a work-in-progress overview of ”Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Don’t Know” can be read here free of charge. It describes how one fruitful approach in an analysis of the affirmative grammatical particle ‘Yes’ might be to examine the word which some see as its opposite  – ‘No’.

Professor Peters explains :

“The ‘power of no’ is double, not only does it stop the ‘yes’ in its tracks but at the same time it creates the very desire that fuels the affirmative spirit it is so keen to derail. In other words, the ‘no’ itself creates the ‘yes’ that it must say ‘no’ to, thereby augmenting its negative potency in a dialectical escalation that forever ties the affirmative to its own denial.”

The article continues by clarifying the implications of the affirmative ‘Yes’ with respect to artworks –

“If the artwork is the product of a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, where it is the emancipated contingency of art that always results in aesthetic choices being characterised by conviction without knowledge, then the betweenness of de-cision suggests a way of outstripping the arbitrariness of a conviction-aesthetics, based upon baseless choice, by rooting the unknowingness of art not in the constantly erased space between the ‘yes’ and ‘no’—–earlier described as the ‘rather than’—but, more essentially, in the space erased by the space of erasure itself, the space ‘ahead of’ the mutual erasure of ‘yes’ and ‘no’.”

To be continued  . . .