Barthes’s Scriptor

Barthes coherently developed the idea of being neutral, from “écriture” (Writing Degree Zero), “scriptor” (The Death of the Author) to “neutral” (The Neutral). His idea of scriptor in writing (écriture) excludes all human intention, free will and anything similar. To him, a writer (not an Author with the capital A) is a medium performing the pure act of writing. In this sense, the writer becomes a body or a hand that speaks without his human intention. Then, what is left?

We may ask what we mean by ‘reading’. It cannot simply mean reading the words. Reading is an act of trying to find what is conveyed through the words. You may call it ‘meaning’. Then, where is the meaning? We may verbalise it in words, but it can never be fully captured in words. This is more so with reading of art, I may say.

Agamben says, in The Open: Man and Animal, the artist’s body is the site where art is happening, and the result of that happening. Things are deposited into the artist through her experience in life. When a right moment arrives, these things activate each other and make certain associations. This bring about creation of art. The artist is a site of this happening.


About this entry