What if? The language of affect
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In this article 'The House' (2002), an installation by Eija-Liisa Ahtila is analysed. Viewing it as theoretical object, the author argues that its mobilization of a number of different disciplinary fields is neither encompassing nor arbitrary. In this specific polyphony of disciplines, the one boundary most in need of melting is that between intellectual and affective work. The thirteen-and-a-half minutes of the installation take its viewers through a number of specific and highly pointed theoretical 'arguments' about the cultural role of discourses, about aesthetic modes and, above all, about the intense and painful bond between 'art' - representation, fantasy, imagery and imagination - and 'life' - psychosis and the loss of certainty, childishness and sensations of omnipotence, disaster and the profound need of hospitality.
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