EVERYTHING IS IN EVERYTHING - International Conference at Art Center College of Design, Pasadena , Friday, March 11 & Saturday, March 12, 2011

In one month, this is going down in Los Angeles, and it should be stellar.   Full line-up is:

Emiliano Battista
Arne de Boever
Claire Fontaine
Peter Friedl
Sharon Hayes
Maria Muhle
Martin Plot
Kristin Ross
Evan Calder Williams
Jan Völker

"The Graduate Studies in Art Department at Art Center College of Design is pleased to host an international conference on the work of Jacques Rancière, on March 11 and 12, 2011. The theme will be that of “Aesthetic Education,” a philosophical and political program first proposed by Friedrich Schiller in the last decade of the 18th century and the subject of Rancière’s recent innovative work on the relation between aesthetics and politics. For Rancière, politics is not primarily the exercise or struggle for power but the emergence of a certain type of space and time, a mode of visibility and intelligibility that creates a tear in the consensual fabric of a given form of collective life. Under certain circumstances, art can institute just such a space and time, in which the fundamental polarities of experience—activity and passivity, form and matter, appearance and reality—are suspended and transformed. Friedrich Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man offers, according to Rancière, an unsurpassed model for the construction of a space of nondomination, of “free play”; the aesthetic education of man, in turn, is nothing less than a program for an “aesthetic revolution,” “a revolution of sensible existence.”

This conference will bring together senior and junior scholars as well as internationally acclaimed artists working in the field of contemporary political and aesthetic theory. The papers and presentations will consider the knot formed in Rancière’s work between aesthetics, politics and education. From his earliest work The Lesson of Althusser to his magisterial book on the pedagogical theory of Joseph Jacotot The Ignorant Schoolmaster, the theme of education have been at the center of Rancière’s concerns; his apparently recent turn to aesthetics, after the 1995 publication of The Disagreement, should in turn be understood as a continuation of his studies of the aesthetic experiments conducted during the post-work nights of 19th century proletarians The Nights of Labor. The question forming the horizon of this conference is therefore: what would it mean to propose a new "aesthetic education" of humanity today? How would the resurrection of this concept transform the current concepts of art, politics, and pedagogy? And to what extent is it necessary to return to the founding moments of aesthetic theory to rearticulate the relation between art and politics today?"

 I will be speaking of Rancière very little.  Rather, I want to talk, among other things (like decomposition, Jenning's Pandemonium, and Vigo's Zéro de Conduite), about the moment in Gombrowicz' Ferdydurke, leading up to the Filidor and anti-Filidor shoot-out/bullet by bullet, piece by piece taking to shreds of their respective partners, where we watch quantity  become quality with a single zloty too many:

She was riveted as she watched the growing heap, which by now was no longer merely a heap, and although she tried to count, her arithmetic didn't quite add up.  The sum ceased to be a mere sum, it was becoming something unfathomable, unthinkable, something more than a sum, expanding the brain with its enormity, equal to the enormity of the Heavens.  Flora let go a hollow groan.

An aesthetic education that piledrives the mind in question.  The winning argument spills from the table, to join the exhausted sludge of the one it just convinced.

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