Why is the question of erasing oneself so important in the continental thinking? The larger project seems to be that of humility. Humility as opposed to hubris. Humility in accepting that there are several kinds of limits in being human. And in the last decade or so, humility as a means to subvert several assumed hierarchies and differences: gendered capacities, nature/culture, etc. I am noting ideas by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Tristan Garcia on the idea of erasing oneself with respect to work. 

Aureli wrote a very short essay in [2010] titled “erasing one’s self”. The premise and the intention of the essay was to demonstrate a method in which authorship of a work gets dissolved / erased from the work. To that extent, the method that Aureli proposes is that of a extreme formalism -although he does not use the term himself. The method entails that one start the work by choosing any of the basic forms -a circle, a square, a rectangle and so on. Once the form is chosen, mobilise the subdivision logic that is geometrically intrinsic in the form -if it is a square, subdivide into smaller squares or four triangles or inscribe a circle and so on. This way, Aureli suggests, we would be able to keep our whims to ourselves and submit ourselves to the internal working of the form itself. The only place where the whim of the architect is acceptable is at the beginning, in the choosing of the initial form -that too from a familiar world of basic geometry. 

However, in a recent online lecture, Tristan Garcia also proposed an idea of erasure of the self in the work of art -while speaking about and providing a minimal definition of exhibition. Garcia suggests that whether we know it or not, or, if we want it or not, the creator of the work disappears in the making of the work of art. As per Garcia’s formulation, the artist or the maker of the work, strives to make the work more and more visible -or present- for the viewers and spectators. In doing so, the maker of the art or craft or architecture, is hardly ever present near the work, the author is always pushed to the background and there by always, metaphorically, erasing the maker. 

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