TRANSGRESSION AND TRANSACTION: ON PIERRE KLOSSOWSKI’S LIVING CURRENCY

Pierre Klossowski is not well-known outside of France, and especially not for La monnaie vivante or Living Currency (1970). His récits or his philosophical readings of Sade or Nietzsche have garnered the most acclaim. By way of his reading of “living currency” however, he deconstructs contemporary economics, teasing out the intricacies between sensuality, value, and the simulacrum, transgressing the categories between language and economic transaction. Published alongside photographs by Pierre Zucca that ostensibly illustrate Klossowski’s hermetic theses, La monnaie vivante is at once satirical and deathly serious, a synchronous commentary on the Marquis de Sade’s Society of the Friends of Crime and the utopian socialism of Charles Fourier. After a brief overview of Klossowski’s life and career, a reading of La monnaie vivante in depth is developed. By inverting the classical usage of the simulacrum through its analogies with the numeraire or basic standard of value, Klossowski critiques the discursive biases that stand against a pure flux of intensities. In this way he anticipates postmodernism even as he also problematizes it. The destruction of political economy and metaphysics are combined he suggests, and the relativity of one cannot be granted without the other. We here show how Klossowski uses affect and the exorbitant to address the sensuous libidinal currency moving through and alongside its economic counterparts, as well as how these observations still remain underestimated today.

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