User account

Aïcha Liviana Messina: Crystal Skin
Crystal Skin
(p. 201 – 212)

Aïcha Liviana Messina

Crystal Skin

PDF, 12 pages


“Crystal Skin” focuses on the relation between mutation and history, two correlated topics that cross Nancy’s work. Its point of departure is the description of contemporary subjectivities which are characterized by a way of evacuating from oneself any trace of alterity, as well as by an extreme fragility. It first asks if the smooth aspect of the skin of some faces, which can be obtained by the technique called “crystal skin,” can be related to an anthropological mutation. In this case, the smooth aspect of the skin would be the sign of the generations that have no relationship to history. It then argues that this smooth aspect of the face, in which the subjectivity seems allogeneic,  speaks rather of the hyper-sensible (crystal-like) subjectivities exposed to the “unknown of the future.” Finally, it proposes a reading of history that is not related to a progress of reason (Kant) but rather to a transformation of sensibility (Freud). Finally, it reflects on the relation between this hyper-sensibility and what Jonas calls the “responsibility for the future.”

  • democracy
  • community
  • post-structuralism
  • deconstruction
  • ethics

My language

Selected content

Aïcha Liviana Messina

Aïcha Liviana Messina is Professor at the University Diego Portales. Her work focuses mainly on the topics of law, criticism, and on the relation between violence and language. She is the author of an essay on Marx, Amour/Argent. Le livre blanc des manuscrits de 1844 (Le portique/La Phocide, 2011), of a book on Levinas, L’anarchie de la paix. Levinas et la philosophie politique (CNRS, 2018), of a book on Blanchot, The Writing of Innocence. Blanchot and the Deconstruction of Christianity (SUNY, 2022). She has also written books related to contemporary political issues and to artistic experiences such as Poser me va si bien (POL, 2005), Feminismo y revolución followed by de Santiago 2019 (Metales Pesados 2020). With Constanza Michelson, she has co-written Una falla en la lógica del universo (Metales Pesados 2020).
Other texts by Aïcha Liviana Messina for DIAPHANES
  • Peau de cristal

    In: Susanna Lindberg (ed.), Artemy Magun (ed.), Marita Tatari (ed.), Thinking With—Jean-Luc Nancy

Susanna Lindberg (ed.), Artemy Magun (ed.), ...: Thinking With—Jean-Luc Nancy

With this book, we would like to resume the passionate conversation that Jean-Luc Nancy was engaged in throughout his life, with philosophers and artists from all over the world. Now that he has passed away, it is not enough for us to simply reflect on his work: we would like to stay true to the stance to which his thought invites us, in a pluralistic and communal way. Jean-Luc Nancy takes up the old philosophical question of truth as a praxis of a with — understanding truth without any given measure or comparison as an articulation of a with. It is a thinking responsible for the world from within the world, a language that seeks to respond to the ongoing mutation of our civilization.


With contributions by Jean-Christophe Bailly, Rodolphe Burger, Marcia Sá Calvacante Schuback, Marcus Coelen, Alexander García Düttmann, Juan-Manuel Garrido, Martta Heikkilä, Erich Hörl, Valentin Husson, Sandrine Israel-Jost, Ian James, Apostolos Lampropoulos, Nidesh Lawtoo, Jérôme Lèbre, Susanna Lindberg, Michael Marder, Artemy Magun, Boyan Manchev, Dieter Mersch, Hélène Nancy, Jean-Luc Nancy, Aïcha Liviana Messina, Ginette Michaud, Helen Petrovsky, Jacob Rogozinski, Philipp Stoellger, Peter Szendy, Georgios Tsagdis, Marita Tatari, Gert-Jan van der Heiden, Aukje van Rooden.