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A philosopher, a painter and a poet walked into a pub... Part 2: Further conversations in thinking poetically

Lecturer: Rachel Joy

Originally Taught: Summer School 2020

While philosophy has its own forms and means of expression, continental philosophy has, nevertheless, deeply shared concerns with those who make art. Among other things, these interests revolve around concepts of value, space, suffering, the nature of play and the possibility of transformation in the face of doubt, and even failure. Many poets, artists and philosophers are directly influenced by or responding to each other’s work as if in a conversation. This course examines some of these relationships and some of the philosophical and artistic works they produced. The lectures will continue with the same approach to philosophical explorations as was employed in the winter school version, but the content is entirely new and there is no need to have completed the winter school to enjoy the summer school course.

Over the five sessions we will encounter the following:

Session 1. Nordic Noir: Friedrich Nietzsche’s aesthetics and the paintings of Edvard Munch and Auguste Strindberg. For Nietzsche, suffering is the ground of our existence, yet for him this should not be reason for pessimism but rather an affirmation of life.

Session 2. Art and value: How do we measure the value of art? Where does the value lie? This week we boggle at the art market and a $120,000.00 banana with Marx and Maurizio Cattelan.

Session 3. Bergson’s challenge: Music is better than painting or poetry. Composers Erik Satie and Schoenberg face off against Matisse, Brancusi, Picasso as we unravel Bergson’s aesthetics.

Session 4. It’s ‘playtime’ with Hans-Georg Gadamer and Giorgio Agamben as we explore their essays on the importance of play in human life and consider the place of play in the art practice of Cy Twombly.

Session 5. This week it’s time to climb into the attic or wedge yourself under the stairs in the name of thinking and art, as we place Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space alongside Foucault’s Heterotopia to explore their impacts on the sculpture of Rachel Whiteread, Richard Serra and Eduardo Chilleda.