Ozren Pupovac is a philosopher and social theorist based in Berlin. He studied In Zagreb, Warsaw and London. He was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the Institute for Cultural Inquiry, and the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität in Jena.

He published on Marxist philosophy and the (post)-Yugoslav political context, and translated works of Badiou, Rancière and Althusser into Serbo-Croatian. His work focuses on contemporary French thought, German idealism, Marxism, and the question of the subject. Since 2008, he runs, together with Bruno Besana, the ‘Versus Laboratory’ research platform.

Concept versus Consciousness:
The Dilemma of 20th Century French Philosophy

Foucault somewhere famously detected a line cutting across philosophy in France in the twentieth-century, a line dividing a philosophy of the concept, of reason and necessity on the one hand, and, on the other, a philosophy of consciousness, of the subject and of existence. We might also add, a line distancing Spinoza from Hegel: with those such as Cavaillès and Bachelard, but also the group around Les Cahiers pour l’Analyse, developing themes of immanent necessity and logical structure; with those such as Sartre and Merleau-Ponty, Kojève and Hyppolite, but also Derrida tracing problems of historicity, contingency and otherness.

And yet, despite the irreducible difference in their objects, even in the very sense of what philosophical engagement might mean, there also seems to be an irresistible dialectical reciprocity shared between the two trajectories: with those allied to the concept thinking their problems through figures of production, movement and history; with those evoking consciousness seeking to erect structures of the transcendental, of the necessary and the timeless. And it is precisely these unlikely dialectical turns which will provide objects for this inquiry: there where the concept turns into an act (Cavaillès), where historicity turns into logical eternity (Hyppolite), where contingency becomes necessity (Sartre), or where scientific truth becomes polemic (Bachelard).

Versus Laboratory:
Dissensual Relations are Points of Thought/Politics and Thought

ICI Project 2008-10

Versus Laboratory, set as a collaboration between Bruno Besana and Ozren Pupovac, 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 2008-09, Versus Laboratory ran a monthly seminar at the ICI exploring how the conceptual couple ‘Plus/Minus’ is expressed in the notions of subtraction and excess.
Pupovac’s individual project ‘Politics and Thought’ sought to track the effects of the displacement of the proper spaces of thinking and acting between philosophy and politics, researching the specific dimension of thought in political practice, and the specific dimension of action in philosophical theory.