Tag Archives: Stephen Bennett

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB
Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy

Friday, 12 April 2019, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
DOWNLOAD Friedrich Nietzsche (2003/1872). The Birth of Tragedy. Blackmask Online. Chapters 1, 16, 17, 23 and 24 (please note this starts from Chapter 1 after the introduction by Nietzsche titled an ‘Attempt at self criticism’ (1886) further down on the PDF under the title the Birth of tragedy).

The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche’s first book, published in 1872 when he was 28, is both a historical study of the origins of Greek tragedy and a complex and compelling argument for the necessity for art in life.

In the Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche describes two competing impulses in Greek culture – the Apollonian and the Dionysian.

Apollo as the god of the plastic or representational arts of painting and sculpture, is associated with beauty and order.

Dionysus in contrast is the god of the non-representational art of music, and associated with flux, mysticism and excess. Through music man is given a true glimpse into the nature of life, and the dissolution of individual identity in communion with nature.

While the Apollonian artist is associated with light and clarity, the Dionysian offers an insight into the darker side of life, a confrontation with the pain and destruction of existence.

Nietzsche argues that these forces and artistic tendencies which were in conflict were merged in Attic tragedy with the combination of the musical chorus and poetry. He believed the combination of these states produced the highest forms of music and tragic drama, which not only reveal the truth about suffering in life, but also provide a consolation for it.

While this mixture of competing forces was richly realised in  Attic tragedy Nietzsche traces how the arrival of Socratic culture which prioritised the purely intellectual and rational led to the destruction of myth and the art of the tragedy.

In the second half of the Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche uses this framework as the basis of a critique of the rationalism of late nineteenth-century German culture.

In its wide-ranging discussion of the nature of art, science and religion, Nietzsche’s argument raises questions about the vitality and nature of culture in a secular, rationalist modern world.

It contains themes that will remain important in Nietzsche’s later work – including the ‘will’ (an ultimate force which determines human life which will become in his later work the ‘will to power’) and, as he sets out in his preface to the second edition, a critique of Christianity and modern science as forms of belief that he argues do not bring man close to the real meaning of life.

It also contains the roots of arguments that have proven to be some of Nietzsche’s most influential. It’s critique of rationalism in western culture links it to modernism; in it’s focus on dreams and the origins underlying latent content it also seems to have links to psychoanalysis; and in his search for the unknown origin behind avowed or accepted ones it also presages the work of post-structuralists such as Derrida, whose own work depends on disputing of accepted interpretations and origins.

The birth of tragedy has become one of Nietzsche’s best known and most influential books and a source of a challenging rich argument for how aesthetic experience relates to the meaning of life and other questions that remain central to the practice of art and criticism today.

Questions

  • What is the Apollonian and Dionysian? Is this opposition the right one?
  • Are there other forces that need to be considered? and is it relevant in interpreting art today?
  • How does rationalism and science shape modern culture?
  • What role can myth play in culture now?
  • Is aesthetic experience the only truth in a secular world?
  • Where is the Apollonian and Dionysian in modern culture? Does the Dionysian need revival?
Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
Markus Lüpertz [1965] Schuhabdruck—dithyrambisch (Shoe print—Dithyrambic). Ströher Collection, Darmstadt, Germany.
Suggested further reading

Monthly reading group for artists, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone is welcome to propose a text and facilitate the reading group. Please book your place and download the shared document. For more information and an archive of previous events please scroll down.

Free & open access

The reading group is free and open to everyone who wants to join as long as they commit to the reading. Please register and arrive early, doors will close when we reach maximum capacity. Don’t forget to download the shared document and bring a hard-copy to the book club. Please consider donating to help cover our expenses and keep us going.

Discussion & decision-making

Texts are selected by group consensus on the basis that they reflect on the relationship between practice and theory. This includes a broad variety of texts, from philosophy to politics and aesthetics to science fiction – there is no limitation.

Facilitating the book club

[SYMPOSIUM] is a supportive community of peers who discuss and unpack their research interests. All participants have the opportunity to facilitate the book club on a text of their choice. If you would like to propose a text, you can start preparing right now:

[1] Decide on a text that you want to discuss.

[2] Do some background research and write a short introduction to provide some context, from your own perspective. When was it written? Why was it written? Who wrote it? Was it a response to something else? Why are you interested in the text? How does it relate to, or inform, your practice or your research?

[3] Pace the reading. How long is the text? If it is short, can we discuss the entire text in a 2-hour book club? If the text is long you may need to divide it up between two or more sessions.

[4] Write down some questions that you would like to bring to the discussion. Suggest some further reading and an image or two, with captions.

[5] Download the infosheet and send us your proposal.


[SYMPOSIUM] ARCHIVE

#34 Jared Diamond: Collapse
Friday, 8 March 2019, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Alter Us

#33 Claire Bishop: Artificial Hells
Friday, 8 February, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Eva Ruschkowski

#32 Eagleton & Zizek: The Idea of Communism
Friday, 14 December 2018, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Neil Lamont

#31 Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.3
Friday, 9 November 2018, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Silvia Bombardini & Elliot C. Mason

#30 Debord: The Culmination of Separation
Friday, 12 October 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Penelope Kupfer & Darshana Vora

#29 Deutsch: Why are flowers beautiful?
Friday, 14 September 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by John Fortnum

#28 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.2
Saturday, 9 June 2018, 2:30pm – 5:30pm
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-15 June 2018

#27 Derrida: Signature Event Context
Friday, 11 May 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott & Sophia Kosmaoglou

#26 Derrida: Structure, Sign and Play
Friday, 13 April 2018, 6:30pm–9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#25 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.1
Friday, 9 March 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#24 Cohn: Representation and Critique
Friday, 9 February 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aris Nikolaidis

#23 Adam Curtis: HyperNormalisation
Friday, 12 January 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by
Neil Lamont

#22 Debord: Negation and Consumption
Friday, 8 December 2017, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aristotelis Nikolaidis

#21 Adorno: Commitment
Friday, 10 November 2017
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott

#20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces
Sunday, 15 October 2017
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Dasha Loyko

#19 Bishop: Pedagogical Projects
Monday, 24 July 2017
Guest Projects, 1 Andrews Road, London E8 4QL
Chaired by Renata Minoldo
Part of School of The Damned‘s Common Room

#18 Virno: The Dismeasure of Art
Friday, 9 June 2017
Grow Elephant, New Kent Rd, London SE17 1SL
Chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez

#17 Judd: Specific Objects
Friday, 21 April 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Richard Burger

#16 Deleuze & Guattari: Rhizome
Friday, 10 March 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Katie Tysoe and Sophia Kosmaoglou

#15 Marx: The Fetishism of the Commodity & its Secret
Friday, 10 February 2017
Wimbledon Art Studios, London SW17 0BB
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#14 O’Sullivan: The Aesthetics of Affect
Friday, 13 January 2017
Louise House, Dartmouth Rd, London SE23 3HZ
Chaired by Katie Tysoe

#13 Foucault: The Four Similitudes
Friday, 9 December 2016
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Penelope Kupfer

#12 Foster: Post-Critical?
Friday, 11 November 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Dasha Loyko

#11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy
Friday, 14 October 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Kerry W. Purcell

#10 Sontag: Against Interpretation
Friday, 9 September 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D.

#9 Groys: Under the Gaze of Theory
Friday, 8 July 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou, respondent Johanna Kwiat

#8 Rancière: Problems & Transformations of Critical Art
Friday, 10 June 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Stephen Bennett
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-12 June 2016

#7 Sewell: Tate Triennial III
Friday, 13 May 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Richard Lloyd-Jones

#6 Duchamp: The Creative Act
Friday, 8 April 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D., respondent Penelope Kupfer

#5 Latour: On Actor Network Theory
Friday, 11 March 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Johanna Kwiat

#4 Barthes: The Death of the Author
Friday, 12 February 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Henrietta Ross

#3 Owens: The Discourse of Others
Friday, 8 January 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#2 Abu-Lughod: Writing against Culture
Friday, 11 December 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury

#1 Kant: What is Enlightenment?
Friday, 13 November 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

Aesthetics, Affect, Artcrawl

[SYMPOSIUM] #11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy with Kerry W. Purcell at The Field, 14 October 2017. Photo by Stephen Bennett.
[SYMPOSIUM] #11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy with Kerry W. Purcell at The Field, 14 October 2017. Photo by Stephen Bennett.

Disastrous and distressing in so many ways, 2016 was also an encouraging start for [ART&CRITIQUE]. The network has grown exponentially, we introduced new regular and one-off events, we participated in the Antiuniversity Now! Festival and we were interviewed on Dissident Island Radio. We have a new Event Calendar and we’ve started a new Members & Contributors section, we have a new fast server and domain (artandcritique.uk), and we’re migrating the data. To support this work we have started collecting donations at our events and although we’re far from breaking even, the project is more sustainable. In 2017 we have plans for new regular events, exhibitions, workshops, courses, collaborations, participation in festivals and an alternative art education co-op. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, participated and supported this project. If you’re interested in participating, contributing or collaborating please come to one of our events or contact us. Looking forward to see you in 2017!

Wassily Kandinsky [1923] Circles in a Circle. Oil on canvas, 98.7 x 96.6 cm.[SYMPOSIUM] O’Sullivan: The Aesthetics of Affect
Friday, 13 January 2017, 18:00 – 20:30
V22 Louise House, Dartmouth Rd, London SE23 3HZ
Free, please book your place
For our first event in 2017 we’re heading to Forest Hill to discuss Simon O’Sullivan‘s 2001 essay The Aesthetics of Affect: Thinking Art Beyond Representation with Katie Tysoe.

[ARTCRAWL]#10[ARTCRAWL] Mayfair to Fitzrovia
Saturday, 28 January 2017, 14:00–17:00

Curated by Cristina Sousa Martínez
Free, booking not required
On the last Saturday of January we will meet in Mayfair to visit Sophia Contemporary Gallery, the Museum of Portable Sound and Carroll / Fletcher. Please visit the page for a schedule & map of the route.

Ward Shelley [2008] Who Invented the Avant Garde, ver. 2. Oil and toner on mylar, 28.5 x 62.5 inches.[COURSE] Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice
12 Jan – 16 Mar 2017, Thursdays 6pm-8:30pm
Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip Street, London SW1P 4JU
This intensive course provides an encompassing introduction to key discourses that inform the production and interpretation of contemporary art, a supportive environment to articulate your practice, and a critical framework to exchange ideas on art production, exhibition & reception.

Announcements & Opportunities[ANNOUNCEMENTS & OPPORTUNITIES]
The list of deadlines, announcements and opportunities is absolutely brimming this month. To view the list please follow the link to visit the page. Please check back because the list is updated regularly. To post open calls, opportunities or vacancies on this list please use the contact form to send us the details.

IMAGE CREDITS
Wassily Kandinsky [1923] Circles in a Circle. Oil on canvas, 98.7 x 96.6 cm.

Ward Shelley [2008] Who Invented the Avant Garde, ver. 2. Oil and toner on mylar, 28.5 x 62.5 inches.

Latour, The Field, Duchamp

Spring 2016 was a busy time at ART&CRITIQUE! We launched two new events the [GALLERY TOUR] and the [STUDIO CRIT] and we hatched new plans. For more details please read on.

[SYMPOSIUM]#5 Latour: On Actor Network Theory, 11 March 2016

Lloyd, John Uri & Curtis Gates Lloyd [1884] Plate XXIII. A fresh rhizome of Cimicifuga racemosa. In Drugs and Medicines of North America. Cincinnati: Lloyd & Lloyd.
Lloyd, John Uri & Curtis Gates Lloyd [1884] Plate XXIII. A fresh rhizome of Cimicifuga racemosa. In Drugs and Medicines of North America. Cincinnati: Lloyd & Lloyd.
The discussion of Bruno Latour’s essay On Actor Network Theory (1990) was chaired by Johanna Kwiat. Johanna animated this difficult text and provided several imaginative routes into its many folds. She summed up the discussion by pointing out that “Latour invites us to think in terms of associations / connections, which don’t need to be qualified as ‘social’, ‘natural’, or ‘technological'”. For Johanna this has the consequence of unsettling “humans or/and human networks [from] their traditionally privileged position”, inviting us to “question the Cartesian legacy (modernism as we understand it), and that in itself is a bonus of reading this text”.

[GALLERYTOUR]#1 From Hoxton to Mile End, 19 March 2016
Chris Alton [2016] Under the Shade I Flourish. Installation view at xero, kline & coma, London 2016.
Chris Alton [2016] Under the Shade I Flourish. Installation view at xero, kline & coma, London 2016.
In March we launched the first [GALLERYTOUR] which took us from Hoxton to Mile End. We visited xero, kline & coma to see Chris Alton’s exhibition Under the Shade I Flourish. Blending fact and fiction in an installation comprised of video, posters, music and diagrams, Alton sets up a compelling account of the ill-fated blues-band Trident. The video documentary centres around the figure of Michael Ashcroft, the band’s manager and former Conservative party member, peer and tax exile who has been been at the centre of several political and financial controversies. The documentary chases up a series of ostensibly inconsequential clues in a futile attempt to solve the mysterious disappearance of the band members in the Bermuda Triangle, a metaphor for British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies that function as tax havens, a “cornerstone of institutional corruption worldwide”.* If you missed this exhibition you can see it at Lewisham Arthouse from 17-22 May 2016.

The next stop was Cell Project Space for Iain Ball’s installation Praseodymium Intracrine Signal Aggregate, the ninth in his Rare Earth Sculpture series. Ball’s installation engages with the paranoia induced by sustained surveillance. Despite the obvious connections that we were able to make, we couldn’t work out how the different components of the installation – the sculpture, the camera and the monitors – were interacting. The final stop on the tour was at Chisenhale Gallery to see Park McArthur’s exhibition Poly. This installation was composed of plinths along one side of the room bearing found objects that reference the body (condoms, latex gloves, oxygen masks, heel cushions, elbow braces). On the wall hung two sheets of paper soaked with super-absorbent polymer, electric heaters were placed around the edges of the room and three massive blocks of black acoustic foam were wedged into a corner. Like sarcophagi stored in a museum basement these monumental black blocks skewed our sense of balance in this rather empty room. The air felt dry, as though all the moist air was being sucked out by the black blocks. We were not sure whether this was a physical perception or a conceptual one. One of the plinths carried a stack of redacted photocopies of a letter notifying users of the closure of the Independent Living Fund. This was an uncomfortable place, it reminded us that the politics of austerity are having an unequal effect on society by targeting groups that are least able to resist.

*Doe, John (2016). The Revolution Will Be Digitized. Statement issued by the source of the Panama Papers on Thursday 5 May 2016. For more details see Shane, Scott and Eric Lipton (2016). Panama Papers Source Offers to Aid Inquiries if Exempt From Punishment. New York Times, 6 May 2016.

[STUDIOCRIT]#1 Maria Christoforatou: Displacement, 20 March 2016
Maria Christoforatou [2009] Collapsed. Metal strips, dimensions variable.
Maria Christoforatou [2009] Collapsed. Metal strips, dimensions variable.
At the launch of the new [STUDIOCRIT] event series we explored concepts of displacement, home and the unhomely with Maria Christoforatou.

Maria’s work explores the emotional and physical dimensions of belonging via the concept of “home”, suggesting that ideas of home are nostalgically associated with imagined authenticity rather than lived experience. It is therefore a concern with identity that lies at the root of her project. To read more about Maria’s work and the studio crit please visit the event review or the event page.

Maria Christoforatou: Displacement. Studio Crit #1. The Field New Cross, 20 April 2016. Photo by Maria Christoforatou.
Maria Christoforatou: Displacement. Studio Crit #1. The Field New Cross, 20 April 2016. Photo by Maria Christoforatou.

Maria’s studio crit highlighted a common interest in the concepts of home, (dis)location, identity and urbanity so we’re on the lookout for a venue to organise an exhibition around these themes. If you’re interested in collaborating either as an artist, writer, curator or editor please get in touch.

If you would like to show your work at a Studio Crit from June 2016 onwards please visit the page to read the guidelines and get in touch with a preferred date so we can start planning. The Studio Crit is a good opportunity to set some goals for your work and it takes time to organise and promote, so we need to work towards it. The purpose of a studio crit is to visit an artist’s studio for a structured viewing and discussion of the work.

[SYMPOSIUM]#6 Duchamp: The Creative Act, 8 April 2016
Marcel Duchamp [1914] Pharmacie.
Marcel Duchamp [1914] Pharmacie.
On Friday 8 April we discussed Marcel Duchamp’s paper The Creative Act (1957). Many thanks to F.D. for chairing the discussion and Penelope Kupfer, who fulfilled the role of respondent.

F.D. contextualised the 1957 Convention of the American Federation of Arts where Duchamp delivered this paper, providing a great deal of intricate background information and a set of questions to facilitate the discussion. The discussion centred on questions relating to the role of the artist as “mediumistic being” in juxtaposition to the mediating role of the spectator who “brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications”. We discussed Duchamp’s use of the mysterious terms transubstantiation, transmutation, aesthetic osmosis and especially his concept of the personal ‘art coefficient’.

Sketch of the personal 'art coefficient' by Stephen Bennett.
Sketch of the personal ‘art coefficient’ by Stephen Bennett.

Stephen Bennett made a diagram of how the ‘art coefficient’ works which helped us visualise the process. We wrapped up with responses to F.D.’s question on whether “found images can be considered readymades” by focusing on Pharmacie (1914). This is probably Duchamp’s first assisted readymade or appropriated found image, a technique that the Situationists would later call détournement.

Richard Burger and the Symposiastes at The Field Kitchen, 13 April 2016
Springtime at The Field, 385 Queens Road, New Cross, London SE14 5HD.
Springtime at The Field, 385 Queens Road, New Cross, London SE14 5HD.

On Wednesday 13 April, regular participants of the book club ran the Field Kitchen, a collaborative meal prepared every Wednesday evening at The Field, New Cross. Richard Burger cooked an exquisite pasta dish with peas, beans and sage, topped with pepper cheese and accompanied by a delicious home-made white wine from Greece.

Join us on Wednesdays for a home-cooked meal, catch up with some familiar faces, meet new people, help us cook and support this experimental community space. Food is served at 7:30pm, it’s pay what you can and the income goes towards expenses for the running and maintenance of the Field. If you would like to help out, setup is from 6pm and there’s always something to do until everything is cleared up at the end of the evening. You can also volunteer to cook by adding your name to the list on the wall.

[GALLERYTOUR]#2 From Whitechapel to Liverpool Street, 30 April 2016

On Saturday 30 April the group visited the Whitechapel to see Parallel I-IV, a video installation by Harun Farocki and Imprint 93, an exhibition of prints from the 1990s by then lesser-known contemporaries of the YBAs. The next and final stop was at Raven Row to see Channa Horwitz, a neglected and excluded artist in her own time. This exhibition has been compared to the current exhibition of a similarly neglected female artist, Hilma af Klint at the Serpentine.

We’re visiting the Serpentine next Saturday 14 May on [GALLERYTOUR]#3. But first up is [SYMPOSIUM]#7 on Friday 13 May where we will be discussing a review of Tate Triennial 3 (2006) by Brian Sewell. This session will be chaired by Richard Lloyd-Jones.

All [ART&CRITIQUE] events and free and inclusive so please feel free to invite your friends or bring them along. The London Event Calendar is jam-packed with exhibitions, events, courses and deadlines. Browse some of these below or follow [ART&CRITIQUE] on Twitter or Facebook for irregular event updates.