Monday 14 January / DAI Public lecture by Mladen Dolar / Politics of Mimesis / location: DAI auditorium

tag: Arnhem

19.30 - 21.00 / location: DAI -auditorium, Kortestraat 27 in Arnhem

Politics of Mimesis 

The moment one imitates something, it sticks, it marks the imitator, there is no innocent imitation. Imitation necessarily affects the one who imitates, for better or (usually) for worse, and making a simple copy of something necessarily affects the original. This is perhaps the briefest way to describe Plato's concerns about the nature of mimesis in the Republic. The purpose of the paper is to give a brief account of looking at the mysterious magic powers of mimesis and of attempts to counteract them. The topic is massive, so the paper will concentrate on a few perspectives, starting with the theatrical parable of St. Genesius, leading to Pascal and to Althusser's theory of ideology, then scrutinizing the ways in which modernity tried to disentangle itself from mimesis (Brecht's estrangement, Irigaray's femininity as mimesis, Rey Chow's recent lucid treatment of this complex etc.). What is the real of the mimetic spell which has so vastly ramified aesthetic and political consequences? Maybe modernity, by relegating the traditional art to the past of mimesis and representation, thereby maintained a disavowed kernel of mimesis at its core.

Mladen Dolar is professor at the Department of philosophy, Faculty of arts, University of Ljubljana, and was an advising researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht until 2012. His area of research stretches from the German idealism to psychoanalysis, encompassing cultural studies and art theory. He is the author of over 100 papers and contributions to collective volumes in a number of languages. His publications include most notably A voice and nothing more (MIT 2006) and Opera's second death (with Slavoj Žižek, Routledge 2001).

This lecture takes place upon an invitation by Alena Alexandrova for the DAI - project  Reading for Writing or How to do Things with Theory .