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Of what can I be truly certain?
Of what can I be truly certain?

Jean Paul Mongin, François Schwoebel

Mister Descartes and his Evil Genius

Can one trust his senses when perceiving the outside world? When my sensations are the basis of my perception of my own existence, what if these sensations are to be doubted – what can the proof of my own existence be? These questions, both simple and profoundly undermining, stand at the beginning of Modernity: the philosophy of René Descartes. This book drags its readers – and musketeer-like Mister Descartes himself – into the adventure of thinking. It gives a lively...
  • Descartes
  • young readers
  • certainty
  • thinking
  • epistemology
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Marcus Quent

Belief in the world is what we most lack.

It was Gilles Deleuze who in various contexts underlined that what we most lacked was “belief in the world.” The odd remark appears, for example, in a conversation in 1990 with the Italian Marxist Antonio Negri about revolutionary emergence and the political force of minorities. In this dialogue Negri examines his interlocutor’s thought in the light of the “problem of the political,” which connects the various stages of the philosopher’s intellectual biography. Deleuze’s remark here is the reprise of a motif that would be familiar to readers of his second book on cinema, which appeared in 1985, in which Deleuze contends that the “power of modern cinema” is based on its ability to “give us back” our lost “belief in the world.”

At the end of the conversation Negri asks his dialogue partner about the possibility of present-day processes of subjectivization. After initially emphasizing the “rebellious spontaneity” of such processes, Deleuze...

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Dieter Mersch

Digital disrupture

We really need an analysis of algorithmic conditions and their paradoxes and ambiguities that gives them an adequate framework and horizon. But instead we currently seem to be finding an algorithmic solution of the algorithmic, much as digital solutions are being offered for the problems of the digital public sphere, in the way that IT corporations, for example, use exclusively mathematical procedures to evaluate and delete “fake news,” inappropriate portrayals, or the violation of personal rights. This tends to result in a circularity that leaves the drawing of boundaries and raising of barriers solely to programming, instead of restoring them to our ethical conscience and understanding of what the social could mean today. The machine, by contrast, remains alien to any mechanical limitation—just as its inability to decide lies in the impossibility of self-calculation. The nucleus of digital culture should instead be sought where the cultural of culture is located:...

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Radikales Denken. Zur Aktualität Susan Sontags – Buchpräsentation

24.01.2018, 20:30

pro qm
Almstadtstraße 48–50
10119 Berlin
Deutschland

Sergei Eisenstein: The Anthropology of Rhythm

19.09.2017 – 19.01.2018

Nomas Foundation
Viale Somalia 33
01199 Rom
Italien

The Storming of the Winter Palace
The Forensics of an Image

24.11.2017 – 08.04.2018

HMKV im Dortmunder U
Leonie-Reygers-Terrasse
44137 Dortmund
Deutschland

 

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Current Texts

Mark Franko

The mythic dimension of corporeality

When Graham’s American Document premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City on October 9, 1938 it engendered a sense of community between the general public and the dance world, and within the dance world itself, where such community had not previously existed. Lincoln Kirstein, despite previous aesthetic gripes, extolled “the quality of Graham’s idiosyncratic gesture formulating just what she meant to say.” Kirstein implied that in American Document Graham avoided the traps of national folklore into which so many choreographic productions of this period had fallen, including Kirstein’s own projects. The left-wing press, for its part, set aside its persistent political misgivings about Graham’s oeuvre: New Masses – the most prominent left-wing cultural publication of the thirties – sponsored the New York premiere. While I do not have the space here to analyze the Libretto and the piece in detail the original version was critical of injustices in American history. Its...

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  • photography
  • 1930s
  • myth
  • body
  • Anti-fascism
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Gail L. Geiger

Alternative approaches to a famous fresco painting

The Presentation is one of the most stunning paintings to have emerged from the restorations of the San Marco fresco cycle.


Fra Angelico created a traditional Presentation with respect to its depiction of Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of Mary’s postpartum purification in accordance with Mosaic law. They stand on a platform before a simple, flaming altar set off by a shell niche, which although damaged, retains the classical simplicity that Michelozzo’s architecture for the convent inspired in Fra Angelico’s paintings. Mary has given the swaddled child to Simeon, the elderly Jew identified as the high priest who blessed Jesus as the new Messiah.


To complete the scene, however, Fra Angelico included two additional figures on a ledge below the biblical event just within the border of the foreground plane. To the left, the Dominican Saint Peter Martyr kneels at an angle facing into...

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  • Florence
  • iconography
  • gender
  • fresco painting
  • Fra Angelico

 

Marking the passage from misfortune to good luck
Marking the passage from misfortune to good luck

Elisabeth Bronfen

The Elevator—A Heteropia

An even more strikingly risky moment, which for Don anticipates both a personal and a professional crisis, occurs at the open door of an elevator in the fifth season. After Megan has confessed to him that she wants to stop working at the agency so as to fully concentrate on her acting career, he accompanies her to the elevator, where he takes leave of her by demonstratively giving her a passionate kiss before the door closes. Then, as though this...
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  • 1960s
  • architecture
  • America
  • Labor
  • everyday life
Current Texts

Josef Früchtl

Aesthetic Community and As If

I would like to begin with a short story. And in doing so, I draw upon an experienced German story-teller and philosopher (who, by the way, is very well known in Giessen). It is a short story, but a fundamental one – as is the tradition with philosophy –, and it goes like this:


For a long time, philosophy needed fiction, roughly speaking, only when figments of the imagination were called for. Sometimes this would be for arbitrarily combined characteristics (such as those which make up the creatures found in fables, like centaurs or unicorns), and sometimes for a self-contradictory non-entity (like a square circle or a wooden iron). For Immanuel Kant, a non-entity (nihil negativum, Unding) was located right at the bottom of the “scale of nothing,” meaning as it did a term which cancels itself out, a term in opposition not only to reality, but also to possibility. In contrast, a...

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  • contemporary art
  • community
  • art
  • politics
  • activism
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Diedrich Diederichsen

“is x-ism a y-ism”

The title of this text poses what at first appears to be an irritating, if not completely insane question, that I myself couldn’t have imagined posing a year ago. For one thing, it’s because one of the important terms in this question was totally unknown to me, and for another, I probably would have affirmed it outright had I known what this word meant.

The question is: Is Marxism a correlationism? The rhetoric of this formulation – “is x-ism a y-ism” – borrows from the title of a famous essay by Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism (1946). In those days it was also a matter of setting a new philosophical fashion in relation to a major cornerstone of orientation – to humanism. Today the question appears to be reversed: Is Marxism – which is now the cornerstone, the old orientation – a correlationism? The correlationism isn’t the new fashion, but...

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  • material aesthetics
  • materialist turn
  • materiality
  • thing/thingness
  • anthropology