"For Bersani and Dutoit, recognizable images are linked to a fascistic demand for cognitive "order" and to an oppressive Cartesian subjectivity. The very condition of speaking—speaking to the viewer—for them depends on a subjectivity that seeks only to master and negate the other. Thus discursive experience is always/already compromised by its association with an "appropriative consciousness." It is inconceivable for Bersani and Dutoit that one could ever speak with viewers, only at or against them. Rothko, Samuel Beckett, and the filmmaker Alain Resnais are said to represent the possibility of an "anti-autoritarian" or "non-sadistic" stance. They are artists who, heroically, refuse to speak to the viewer and remain instead sealed inside the "narcissistic" universe of their own creations. As Bersani and Dutoit write: "Rothko gives us a perceptual lesson in the constitution of the real rather than an epistemologically or morally superior (and intensely 'expressive') version of an already constituted real." Here, as I noted above, Bersani and Dutoit can conceive of a relation to discourse or representation ("a version of the real") only as something that requires one of the interlocutors to take up a position of "superiority" and negation relative to the other. Yet Rothko clearly does take up a position of superiority over the viewer. His work, according to Bersani and Dutoit, will "train us in new modes of mobility (or modes to which we have become blind)." The concept of "training" here echoes Greenberg's description of the preparation that viewers must undergo to appreciate a challenging work of art. It evokes the image of the artist as epistemologically (and, I would suggest, morally) privileged subject who will each the "ungifted majority" how to grasp the illusory nature of the real."
—Grant Kester Conversation Pieces