At the height of its concentration, the art of the [twentieth] century — but also all the other truth procedures, each according to its own resources — aimed to conjoin the present, the real intensity of life, and the name of this present as given in the formula, a formula that is always at the same time the invention of a form. It is then that the pain of the world changes into joy.
Alain Badiou, The Century 146
To move beyond an age, a century, an image of thought — what, today, does this require, and what would it allow? What does it mean to exit the territory, to proceed beyond the limits of a century, that is, while still maintaining oneself firmly within it, and thus despite constituting a series of processions within it?
Immersed in the viscous flow of time, to turn over a new leaf, to work out a new concept, to produce a new kind of humanity, for a new kind of world. The concept of novelty is fraught with internal fissures and cracks. It is neither wretched nor glorious, but already an experiment in formalization, the process of deactivating a mythology, a path.
To deactivate a machine, there must be an overflow, a glitch or fault, topologically speaking a bursting, as though the paradoxical new formula itself unfolded in order to become a smooth space of thought. The notion escapes in two directions, a new earth rises within the old.
Alain Badiou argues the new is neither an inexplicable sacrifice of tradition nor a mediation of the various dimensions of human becoming, but rather the production, the education, and the very culmination of a new humanity, ready for a new thought, a new world. There is here, perhaps, more than a parallel to the work of Gilles Deleuze. The paths by which one leaves the territory, the lines of flight or vectors of deterritorialization, are exacting experiments — a cautious but unsparing dislocation of cognitive and cultural coordinates.