Masterclass Alain Badiou – The Event in Art and Politics
Date | Monday, 25 March 2013
Time | 17.00 – 19.00
Venue | Bungehuis – room 1.01, Spuistraat 210, Amsterdam
Registration | email@example.com (please note that there are only 20 places available)
On March 25th, the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis (NICA) welcomes Alain Badiou for a master class at the University of Amsterdam. The master class offers an intensive engagement with Badiou in order to question and clarify his writings on art and politics. On March 26th, Badiou shall give a keynote lecture during the international symposium ‘Event in artistic and political practices’ at the University Theatre (Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16), chaired by dr. Joost de Bloois (UvA). The master class and symposium are organized by dr. Eva Fotiadi, Thijs Witty, and Margaret Tali.
“Today, natural belief is condensed in a single statement: ‘There are only bodies and languages’. … It is legitimate to counter this sovereignty of the Two … in which the Three supplements the reality of the Two: ‘There are only bodies and languages, except that there are truths.'”
— Alain Badiou, Logics of Worlds
Alain Badiou’s original and polemical doctrine of truth invites us to ‘return to philosophy’ in order to dispel the many crises of post-modern subjectivity in politics, art, science and love. This NICA master class specifies Badiou’s conceptions of art and politics in relation to a theme that informs his entire oeuvre: how to think the event in its relation to being?
Both Badiou’s inaesthetic theory of art and his configuration of the political subject in terms of fidelity, militancy and generic universality eschew many assumed wisdoms of contemporary theories of the event, as well as their correlates in art and politics. Taking the void as a degree-zero of existence, a pure multiplicity, or an event that may force novelty into any consolidated situation, Badiou prioritizes an idealism – his maxim ‘Live for an Idea!’ a particularly resonating case in point – in times when institutional enclosures of art and politics seem all too eager to give up on any transcendental embrace.
Badiou draws a line between these managerial paradigms of art and politics and his own doctrine of truth. How does this decision construe the relation between philosophy, art and politics? What consequences does it bear on a pervasive aesthetic regime that privileges affect as mediators for social relations, claims mimetic immediacy, and paratactically arranges any selection of objects for the achievement of aesthetic form (as observed by Badiou’s contemporary Jacques Rancière)?
And if art fashions itself today as political by default, how would a non-relational configuration of art and politics hold up against the commonplace notion that aesthetics is politics?
Alain Badiou (1937) is professor Emeritus at the École Normale Supérieure (Paris). His work gained international momentum particularly after the translation of his major works Being and Event (2005), Theory of the Subject (2009) and Logics of Worlds (2009). He is a prolific social commentator, having published essays on the Arab revolutions, the global anti-austerity protests, US imperialism and parliamentary democracy at large.
The master class is open to graduate students (rMA and PhD level) and staff members of the University of Amsterdam. We ask participants to familiarize themselves with Badiou’s work by reading the texts listed below, and to prepare one (or more) questions that relate to the workshop themes.
With your registration, please include your questions (this will help us organize the workshop) in addition to a short motivation (250 words or less) describing your research interests and motivation for attending.
The master class will take place on Monday March 25th (place to be announced) in Amsterdam. Please register by emailing Thijs Witty well in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org (and please note that there are only 20 places available). Research master students may earn 1 ECTS.
Prepatory Readings: to be announced