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What is time? Is time a mere succession of discrete moments or does it harbour a more fundamental continuity? Is time real or a function of human perception? How does time relate to space? Does anything exist beyond time? Questions arising from any reflection of time are numerous and complex. The problem is that time can never be made directly present in experience. Evanescent and intangible, it nonetheless permeates and even sometimes governs everything that exists, involving, for example, all our mental abilities such as remembering, synthesizing, and anticipating. This course explores a few key ideas about time in art, television, cinema, science, philosophy, and visual culture. It focuses more precisely on what it means to exist temporally and how such an experience is conveyed in contemporary thought and culture. The aim of the course is not to provide an exhaustive understanding of time and visual culture, but to invite students to research their own approach to the topic at hand. The course combines both lectures and seminars as well as the screening of films and, if the opportunity arises, the viewing of exhibitions.
This course aims to get behind society’s fascination and predilection for violence in order to put forward the idea that violence essentially structures not only the constitution of subjectivity and language, but also the functioning of our very own cultural and political systems. Through a number of key readings, this structure reveals itself as an economy that always forecloses the very possibility of peace. The material explored on this course includes mainly philosophical texts and cinema. Authors studied include: Hannah Arendt, Slavoj Zizek, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Walter Benjamin, and Primo Levi.
This series of lectures explores ‘the curatorial’ as differentiated from ‘curating’. While ‘curating’ deals with the mechanisms of staging exhibitions, ‘the curatorial’ explores all that takes place on the stage set up, both intentionally and un-intentionally by the curator. The conjunction of the title ‘curatorial / knowledge’ implies therefore the production of, and engagement with knowledge. Thus ‘knowing’ is not the absorption of information, not simply analysis and interpretation but rather something we actively produce through the various practices of creating, curating, viewing, and interpreting. Authors studied include: William Carlos Williams, Jean-François Lyotard, René Descartes, Hubert Damisch, Patrick Chamoiseau, Walter Benjamin, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Luc Nancy.
What does it mean to have an ethical position today? More specifically, what is the ethical role of curators today? If the word “curator” derives from the Latin cura, which means “care,” then what ethos of care should curators adopt? Finally, what can philosophy do to address and/or support these ethical positions? This course explores the act of taking on an ethical position in curating today. It mainly focuses on attempting to establish a solid ethical basis for the practice of curating. The material explored mainly focuses on philosophical explorations in ethics, but it also takes on board key exhibitions that have defined the way curating engages ethical issues. Authors studied include: Aristotle, Baruch Spinoza, Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, Jean-François Lyotard, Emmanuel Levinas, Jacques Derrida, Mieke Bal, Valentin Mudimbe, Emmanuel Eze, Mogobe Ramose, and Catherine de Zegher.
This course explores what it means to affiliate oneself to a socio-cultural and/or political issue. It specifically, but not exclusively, focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa. This choice aims to depart from the usual globalising narratives of post-colonial discourses and to invite more personal journeys into selective ideas and practices taken from carefully chosen regions in this subcontinent. The idea of affiliation is a way of concerning oneself with specific philosophical ideas and cultural practices that might not always be given the attention they deserve on the Western stage. Authors studied include: Valentin Mudimbe, Kwasi Wiredu, Anthony Appiah, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze, Wim van Binsbergen, Alexis Kagame, Paulin Hountondji, Mogobe Ramose, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Bourahima Ouattara.
This course explores a number of philosophical perspectives to understand museums: the question of authenticity and legitimacy, the meaning of the museum object, the issues of cultural diversity and universality, the ideologies of control and order, the debt to photography, the role of the curator in the shaping of knowledge, and the museum’s role in securing historical and ideological narratives. Authors studied include: G.W.F. Hegel, Antoine Quatremère de Quinci, Marcel Proust, Paul Valéry, Walter Benjamin, Honoré de Balzac, Michel Foucault, André Malraux, Jorge Luis Borges, Jean-François Lyotard, Hubert Damisch, and Mieke Bal.