Post-structuralist theories of culture and aesthetics

Intensive graduate course Post-structuralist theories of culture and aesthetics Jun.-Prof. Dr. phil. Wolfram Bergande 03.-07. septembril, kell 14.00-17.30 Toimumiskoht: Uus-Sadama 5, Tallinn (ruum M-328) Organized by TLÜ, EKA 5 ECTS Registration: Regina-Nino Kurg, Deadline: August 10, 2012 Post-structuralist theories like the psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan or Julia Kristeva or the deconstructive philosophy of Jacques Derrida conceive of subjectivity as a de-centered, dialectical structure which is constitutively traversed by a dynamic, a-topic and a-chronological unconscious. The notion of dialectical structure used by these authors refers to Lévi-Strauss’ structural anthropology and to a Saussurian understanding of language as system of differential signifiers on the one hand; on the other to Hegel’s concept of subjectivity and self-consciousness. Already Lacan and after him Derrida, Kristeva and more recently Georges Didi-Huberman have applied the idea of subjectivity as decentered, dialectical structure to the realm of art and notably to the visual arts. They analyzed and traced the unconscious dynamic that works in the dialectic relationship between the visual artworks and their spectators. Examples would be Lacan’s interpretations of The ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger and of Diego de Velázquez‘ Las meninas. In doing so, post-structuralist theorists explore the horizon of what Hegel called the Romantic art form insofar as it “ […] is the self-transcendence of art but within its own sphere and in the form of art itself.” (Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics) What in a post-hegelian framework then particularly becomes important for the visual arts is the crucial transition from the “Classical” three-dimensional sculptural work to “Romantic” two-dimensional painting, a transition that can be shown to bear the marks of an unconscious “undissolved objectivity” (Adorno, Composing for the films). The course investigates key concepts of structuralist and post-structuralist theories like “structure”, “dialectic” and “unconsciousness” and traces them in exemplary interpretations of works by Salvador Dalí, Gerhard Richter, Damien Hirst and David Lynch, particularly in a detailed interpretation of Lynch’s film INLAND EMPIRE. These interpretations are based, among others, on lectures on and readings of Jacques Lacan: The neurotic’s individual myth Jacques Lacan: Seminar XI: The four foundamental concepts of psychoanalysis Julia Kristeva: Revolution in Poetic language G.W.F. Hegel: Lectures on aesthetics Texts will be sent to the participants wia e-mail Additional information: Bergande’s presentation „Erratic Humor in David Lynch`s Later Film Work“ will be life-streamed over the Internet on Thursday June 28, 2012 between 01:30 pm and 02:30 pm at: Movie Night: David Lynch „Inland Empire“ NB! Venue and date change: September 5, at 19:00 in Kino “Sõprus” (Vana-Posti 8) Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts and the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory are funded by the European Union Structural Assistance.