portrait Besana

Bruno Besana

Affiliated 12-14, Fellow 08-10



Bruno Besana studied philosophy at the Paris VIII University, and is a former Fellow of the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (NL). He has thought philosophy at the Paris VIII University, and has published on ontology and aesthetics in contemporary philsoophy, with a particular focus on the works of Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Jacques Rancière. He is a member of the editorial team of S – Line of Beauty, journal of the CLIC, Circle for Lacanian Ideology Critique.

Current projects

This year I will work on two short book projects.
The first one - on Deleuze's reading of Greek Stoicism - investigates why Deleuze, in his 'reversal of Platonism’, doesn’t rely on Aristotle's re-discovery of the sensible, but addresses the Stoics. While in Aristotle the difference between singular beings belonging to the same species is fundamentally accidental, Chrysippus’ system of categories attributes the highest degree of essentiality and reality to those elements (minute transformations, performed or endured actions) which identify such difference. Starting from this, Deleuze overcomes Aristotle's identification of Being with unity, and proposes a "reversal within Platonism", in which the Idea is identified with the grasp of multiplicity.

The second book, 'The shape of a subject to come’, analyzes some contemporary attempts to give a formal reading of the concept of the subject. First the book reads in parallel Althusser's antihumanism and Foucault's predictions on the end of 'Man'. In its central part it analyzes how Badiou and Deleuze produce a formal understanding of the subject, rejecting at once its identification with the human, with consciousness or with the transcendental subject, and identifying it with a series of operations by which a profound change is introduced in the situation to which it belongs. In its conclusions the book analyzes recent developments of this idea (Meillassoux, Brassier), and proposes a series of original conceptual formulations.

ICI Project (2008-10)

Versus Laboratory - Dissensual Relations Are Points of Thought / The Sensible Excess – an inquiry on aesthetic ontology

Versus Laboratory, set as a collaboration between Ozren Pupovac and Bruno Besana, explores how philosophical concepts are produced at the points of adversity and tension with the philosophical exterior, namely, political, aesthetical and scientific practices. We approach philosophy not as a regulative practice that reflects upon other practices and defines their fields of action, but as a battlefield whose interiority is fed by the dissensual relations that it maintains with other practices. During 2008/2009, Versus Laboratory will run a monthly seminar at the ICI exploring how the conceptual couple "Plus/Minus" is expressed in the notions of subtraction and excess. My individual project "The sensible excess", focuses on the relation between the identification of being and multiplicity in contemporary continental ontology and the concept of excess. To this extent it questions the relation between ontology and aesthetics.

Articles and books (selection)

2009 (forthcoming) - "Disaccordo e Contrasto", in Fata Morgana, Pellegrini/UNiverita' di Reggio Calabria

2009 (forthcoming) “The subject”, chapter of Adam Bartlett (ed.), Alain Badiou – Key Concepts, Acumen, Stocksfield

2009 “Uno-Molti”, chapter of Rocco Ronchi (ed.), Manuale di Filosofia Teoretica, UTET, Torino

2009 ”Europeans are the inhabitants of Europe”, in Daniel van der Velden and Kruk, Vinca (Eds.) Metahaven – Uncorporate Identity, Lars Muller Publishers, Baden

2009 “What is change”, in Fabien Tarby (ed), Nessie, n.1, online philosophy journal – uploaded March 2009

2008"Intercession, Condition, Brouillage", in Marc Roelli (ed), Deleuze International, n. 2, online journal, (

2008 “Interview with Bruno Besana”, Affiche-frontière, project by Metahaven Studio (Rotterdam) at CAPC Bordeaux

2007 “From philosophy of art to philosophy with art”, in Fr David 1, De Appel, Amsterdam

2007 “Quel multiple? Conditions ontologiques du concept d’événement chez Alain Badiou et Gilles Deleuze”
“L’événement de l’être”
Book introduction (with Oliver Feltham)
These three texts are included in Alain Badiou, Ecrots autour de la pensée d'Alain Badiou (edited by Bruno Besana and Oliver Feltham), L’Harmattan, 2006

2006 “L’ignorance du sensible”, in Jacques Rancière et la Philosophie déplacée, Horlieu Editions

2005 “Ein einziges oder mehrere Ereignisse? Die Verknüpfung zwischen Ereignis und Subjekt in den Arbeiten von Alain Badiou und Gilles Deleuze”, in Ereignis auf Französisch, edited by Marc Rölli, Fink, Munich, April 2004 ; translated in English as “One or Several Events? The Knot between Event and Subject in the Work of Alain Badiou”, in Polygraph, n. 17, Duke University Press, USA March 2005

2003 “Gilles Deleuze lecteur d’Aristote”, in Déplacements, vol. 1, Paris VIII ed.

Conference papers (selection)

2009 “Obscure subject/subject to obscurity”, in Alain Badiou's Of an Obscure Disaster book presentation, Maison Descartes, Amsterdam, 23 April

2008 “Change Between Schylla and Charybdis”, part of the The concept of change in the work of Alain Badiou panel with Oliver Feltham and Tzuchien Tho, 48th SPEP conference, Pittsburgh, 16 October

2008 “Excess, Singularity, Universal”, at the More than a Lot – Displacements in Ontology Conference, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, 10 May

2008 “The Uncommon Friend”, Academic year’s opening week, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, 10 January

2007 Lorenzo Chiesa’s Subjectivity and Otherness book presentation, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, 14 december

2007 “Excess does at least two things at once: on the missing link between the two natures of excess in Alain Badiou’s work”, After ’68 seminar, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, 7 December

2007 “Aesthetics and politics – an evening with Jacques Rancière”, introduction and moderation, Maison Descartes, Amsterdam, 31 October

2007 “Du multiple à l’exces”, c/o CIEPFC seminar, ENS, Paris, 23 Mai

2007 “On some strategies of capture: shaping the interiority of philosophy with non-philosophical material”, conference at the Konstumuseum, Goteborg, Sweden, le 16 December 2006, and at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, 14th January

2006 “Le midi de la verité ”, response to Mael Renouard’s “Les mondes crépusculaires”, at the “Autour de Logiques des Mondes d’Alain Badiou » conference, ENS, Paris, 24th November

2006 “The blind spot of contemporary ontology: the indeterminate universal”, collective panel, with Tzuchien Tho and Fabio Agostini, Fep-Sep Joint Conference, Dundee University, U.K., 8-10th September

2006 “The sensible future of abstract ontology”, c/o The Future of Philosophy Conference, Fordham University, NY, NY, 3-4 March

2005 “L’esthétique de Jacques Rancière: une ligne d’intercession des œuvres d’art vers l’ontologie”, at the Cerisy International Congress “Jacques Rancière et la philosophie au présent”, CCIC Cerisy, 20-24 May

2004 “Condition, intercession, brouillage: le rapport art-philosophie dans la philosophie contemporaine française” at the Unesco-Germs congress Art comme Esthétique, Ethique et Politique, Unesco, Paris 12-13 November

2004 “Sources stoiciennes de l’ontologie contemporaine de l’événement”, Paris VIII, 6 Mars

2003 “L’interprétation française de la phénoménologie allemande, de Sarte a Deleuze”, c/o Jacob’s Rogozinski’s seminar “La question du sujet”,  Mai 2003, Paris VIII University; reworked for the Astufilo seminar, Università Statale di Milano, October 2004

Conferences organisation

2009 “Medvedkin, Medvedkin, Medvedkin!”, 2 March 2009, ICI Berlin; (Versus Laboratory Conference, organized with Ozren Pupovac)

2008 “More than a Lot – Displacements in Ontology. An international conference on ontology”. 10-11 May 2008, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (NL); (Versus Laboratory Conference, organized with Ozren Pupovac)

2008 “Politics as thought”, 27-28 September 2008, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (NL); (Versus Laboratory Conference, organized with Ozren Pupovac)

2004 “Alain Badiou, de l’ontologie à la politique”, Paris VIII, January, March and May 2004

Translations (philosophy)

2008 English Translation of  Sergio Bologna, “Il senso della coalizione” in Ceti medi senza futuro, Deriveapprodi Milano, Jan vane Eyck, Maastricht

2006 Italian translation of Jacques Rancière, La fable cinématographique, Editions du Seuil, Paris; Edizioni Cineforum, Milan

2005 Supervision for the Italian translation of Shmuel Trigano, L’idéal démocratique à l’épreuve de la Shoa, Editions Odille Jacob, Paris; Edizioni Pardes, Milan

2002 Italian Translation of Alessandro Guetta, Philosophie et cabbale, essai sur la pensée d’Elie Benamozegh, Editions L’Harmattan, Paris; Edizioni Pardes, Italy

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