40 Days / 40 Nights:
A collaboration of Annie Ratti and Peter Lewis
"Project for a film on Saint Paul"
 is the sub-title for the late work
published as "Saint Paul" by Pier Paolo Pasolini,
setting an agenda for philosopher Alain Badiou's own treatise "Saint
Both Pasolini and Badiou, as atheists, [although
it is uncertain as to Pasolini's Christian conviction, other than his severe
criticism of the Church] follow a line of enquiry previously articulated by Hegel,
Auguste Comte, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and
Freud, and in our own time, Jean-Francois
Lyotard, of re-reading and breaking down interpretation into certain extreme
and contradictory dispositions that organise their own speculative discourses. In the case of Pasolini it is
Paul the militant, and for Badiou it is the militancy itself, falling outside
identity, knowledge and the law, yet remaining faithful to an indiscernible
event, one that is singularly capable of vaporising an episteme that will not and cannot support
it. The last work of Pier Paolo Pasolini anticipates the work of Badiou in the sense of advancing the militancy
ingrained in any process of truth. In Pasolini's script the death of Paul in the
United States is contemporaneous with that of Martin Luther King.
Annie Ratti and Peter Lewis have collaborated to produce a configuration of literary forms as essentially incomplete,
to be completed as the discourse of the subject, deriving both from Pasolini's own
poetics and his method in poetry, writing for cinema, drawing and deposition of
objects in 'mise-en-scene',
and filmmaking itself; and from Badiou's concept of an indiscernible
event, which, he argues, precedes any new process of
thought by the fidelity to its subjective gesture. The only 'proof'
lies precisely in the declaration of the subject alone.
The artists have usurped a universal clich� from religious texts, "40 days and 40
Nights", the prescribed length of time of meditation in the desert,
where the metaphor of wilderness signifying risk, is experienced in a poetic vividness that situates its intensity
through prolonged introspection. "40 Days and 40 Nights"
is at the same time the title of a song by Muddy Waters, 
derived from Gospel music, and secularised as the conditional disclosure of the everyday undramatic experiences in the
common man's political, emotional, sexual,
and domestic situations encountered. Recorded at a time, the 1950s,
when black music, blues, jazz, and soul was universalised and adopted
by 'white kids', the title, whilst
blasphemous in the religious sense also declares itself as a subtraction of the political 'real',
both in terms of the birth of a civil rights movement that asserts itself outside the communitarian power of the state, and in
the foundation of a new universalism.
Lewis has collected daily newspapers which he will layer to make 'paper' in order to
'draw' exegesis from Pasolini's text.
[Pasolini had apparently made drawings on his own handmade paper]. The
newspaper is to be glued in large sections to rough beams of weathered wood, the same wood used structurally
to provide walls in the ®edux space. In the last week of a 40 day period of collecting,
the 'drawing' will be performed by reading directly from the text and visualising
certain passages non-discursively, so that the days and nights appear in temporal
disorder from the original sequences.
[ Events ]
Ratti has installed a domestic stove and gas cylinders used for camping, in the middle of the
space, staging a situation between 'home' and
'desert', where something is firstly threatening
and subsequently rescued and re-invented out of human need. Here is a chance
encounter between binary oppositions:
safety/danger, that precipitates thought. A
photograph has been mounted on a wall that records an event as 'just' an
What is true or just, (they are, in this
case, the same) cannot be reduced to any objective aggregate,
either as cause or destination. Without the coordinates of recognition that motivate and delineate
Pasolini's project for a film, this dislocation is correspondent within
Badiou's theory of an intraphilosophical work that carries its own indiscernible truth
process. Ratti and Lewis alert our attention to something that is, after
all this time, in fact still happening. By providing the conceptual
frameworks for an inaesthetic  variation on Pasolini's
script they insinuate that the configuration at this finite point in time is its own truth, that belongs
to an infinite thought.
The work "Project for a film on Saint Paul" preceded Pasolini's
own murder only a short time later. Can this be read in the scenario as a premonition of evil?
These mythological absurdities, a 'divine'
mimesis, are the evental subject of Ratti and Lewis' collaboration,
as they incorporate their incomplete forms from both inside and outside existing categories and systems of cognition.
A selection of jazz and blues and other recordings both from that period, will be played during the
event, against classical works by J.S.
Bach. a sound-work made in collaboration with Marie-Anne
Souloumiac reading from the Pasolini "Project for a film on Saint Paul".
Simultaneously in the space a projected video by Annie Ratti appears in the low light, as if written on water, that an end is yet a beginning, as the heat turns up.
1. "San Paolo"
1977 publ. Giulio Einaudi
Paul: La Fondation de l'universalisme" 1997
publ. Presses Universitaires de France
3. "40 Days and 40 Nights" Muddy Waters
(B. Roth) 1956, Chess Records
'inaesthetics' I understand a relation of philosophy to art,
maintaining that art is itself a producer of truths, makes no claim to turn art into an object for
philosophy. Against aesthetic speculation, inaesthetics describes the
strictly intraphilosophical effects produced by the independent existence of some works of art."
April 1998, Alain Badiou