Armenian translations of “What is an Apparatus?”, “What is the Contemporary” and “The Friend” by Giorgio Agamben

ARI Literature Foundation Publishing House (ARI Press) has recently published three lectures “What is an Apparatus”, “What is Contemporary” and “The Friend” by Giorgio Agamben in three separate small pocket-book format publications. This publication was initiated by the translator Movses Der Kevorkian and aims at introducing to the young readers and students  philosophical pieces by the outstanding author in a user-friendly, easy-carring and attractive pocket books format.

Translator – Movses Der Kevorkian

Publisher – ARI Press

Read below the biography of the translator, as well as short information about the author and the books.

Movses Der Kevorkian

The books were translated by Movses Der Kevorkian, a Lebanese architect. Movses now lives in Brussels, where he runs the Sill and Sound Architects office.

Inspired by various translation initiatives, he takes the first steps by translating philosophical essays into Western Armenian. The initiative is best described in his “translator’s foreword”.

“The starting point of this work as purely translation work is the training for the mind and the language. To work within the languages, with your language, sometimes to get closer to its borders, to your own borders, to open to old and new concepts, that is, to examine, to discover the dense structure of linguistic thinking. It is mostly foreign language publications that provide the opportunities for us to discover these contemporary concepts and approaches. This translation work therefore pursues two goals: 

1. Allow Armenian readers to explore, develop, and expand these current concepts in their own language; 

2. With the help of paper books encourage the reading of such works making them available for everyone.” 

Movses Der Kevorkian

Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben (1942) is one of the leading figures in philosophy and political theory. His unique readings of literature, literary theory, continental philosophy, political thought, religious studies, and art have made him one of the most innovative thinkers of our time.

Agamben was educated in law and philosophy at the University of Rome. As a post-doctoral scholar in Freiburg (1966–1968), he participated in Martin Heidegger’s seminars on Hegel and Heraclitus and was later a fellow at the Warburg Institute, University of London, from 1974 to 1975. Agamben then began teaching and–over the course of the next four decades–taught at a number of acclaimed European and American universities.

In addition to his important philosophical heritage, Agamben has critically engaged with religious and legal texts, as well as with some of the most important literary figures and poets in Western culture.

Source (The European Graduate School)

About the books

The three books offer a succinct introduction to Agamben’s recent works through an investigation of Foucault’s notion of the apparatus, a meditation on the intimate link of philosophy to friendship, and a reflection on contemporariness, or the singular relation one may have to one’s own time.

“Apparatus” (dispositif in French) is at once a most ubiquitous and nebulous concept in Foucault’s later thought. In a text bearing the same name (“What is an Apparatus?”) Deleuze managed to contribute to its mystification, but Agamben’s leading essay illuminates the notion: “I will call an apparatus,” he writes, “literally anything that has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, control, or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions, or discourses of living beings.” Seen from this perspective, Agamben’s work, like Foucault’s, may be described as the identification and investigation of apparatuses, together with incessant attempts to find new ways to dismantle them.

“The Friend”. Though philosophy contains the notion of philos, or friend, in its very name, philosophers tend to be very skeptical about friendship. In his second essay, Agamben tries to dispel this skepticism by showing that at the heart of friendship and philosophy, but also at the core of politics, lies the same experience: the shared sensation of being.

Guided by the question, “What is the contemporary?” Agamben begins the third essay with a reading of Nietzsche’s philosophy and Mandelstam’s poetry, proceeding from these to an exploration of such diverse fields as fashion, neurophysiology, messianism and astrophysics.