2016 - 2017 HTDTWT seminar by Bassam El Baroni: Intervention

Tutor: Bassam El Baroni
Students: Aldo Ramos, Anya Bitkina, Astarti Athanasiadou, Baha Görkem Yalım, Katja den Dulk, Dimitra Kondylatou, Floris Visser, Giulia Crispiani, Helen Zeru, Ines Marita Schärer, Mirjam Linschooten, Tirza Kater, Wilfred Tomescu, Zhenia Vasiliev.

This series of seminars asks what it means to intervene into reality. What constitutes a successful intervention in terms of social/political emancipation? How has intervention been thought theoretically and philosophically in the past 50 years or so? It looks at how the concept of intervention that we use abundantly in art is shaped by the economic concept of exchange and its understanding in political theory and philosophy.  We will try to understand how a supposed hegemony of exchange has shaped notions of intervention and how it has helped produce particular understandings of reality or more accurately responses to the question of ‘the real’. After identifying various models of intervention that allude to different understandings of ‘the real’ we will shift our focus in the second half of the year to emphasise a particular model or conception of reality called ‘the synoptic real’ or the ‘stereoscopic real’ which we will understand through the work of Wilfrid Sellars and various thinkers engaged with his work. We will look to explain what makes this model different and interesting in terms of its possibilities for social and political intervention, locating possible instances of this in the art and theory of recent years. From this, we will branch out and explore the concept of a contemporary Prometheanism, the conditions leading up to its emergence (the aftermath of the the 2008 financial crash), and how it is tied to a neo-rational set of ideals. 

Some of the thinkers we will come across are: Jean-François Lyotard, Chantal Mouffe, Ernesto Laclau, Alfred-Sohn Rethel, Rey Chow, Deleuze and Guattari, Peter Hallward, François Jullien, Wilfred Sellars, James O’Shea, Thomas Metzinger, Amanda Beech, Patricia Reed, Ray Brassier, Alex Williams, Danielle Macbeth and others.

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