Ereignis Seminar

seminarium, n

a seminar, a lecture, a presentation; a situation for teaching and discussion From sēmen (“seed”) + -ārium (“place for”), that is, a place for sowing the seeds of knowledge.

We wish you welcome to the Ereignis Seminar, a monthly open and free seminar where invited scholars present work in progress and ongoing projects. The seminar will serve as a vehicle to gather together people, ideas and interests, to generate interest around our common purposes, and to inspire further study. We welcome open, informed and generous discussion about thoughts and propositions forwarded by our outstanding speakers, specially invited guests and other scholars connected with the Ereignis Seminar. The seminar is conceived as an open-ended continuation of the annual Ereignis Conference.

The seminar is held on Zoom every first Wednesday of the month at 16h00 CET, and is scheduled for one hour. On the most general level the seminar seeks to further and encourage thinking about the Ereignis philosophy. Relevant topics include literature and philosophy, theology and psycho-analysis. Papers and perspectives from all schools and traditions are welcome. There is no participation fee, and attendance is open to all interested. However, we ask that you register your interest in advance. A Zoom-link with passcode will be sent out to all registered attendees in advance of the seminar.

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Upcoming seminars

  • Wednesday 6 March, 2024

    Dr. Mehdi Parsa (University of Bonn):

    Einstein and Philosophers on Time

    Philosophy, spanning from Aristotle's Physics to Heidegger's On Time and Being, delineates a distinction between the essence of time and the quantifiable, spatialized notion of time. Particularly after Kant's powerful skepticism, the viability of maintaining Newtonian homogeneous space housing objects governed by a universally linear time became untenable. Both Bergson and Heidegger critiqued the reduction of time in physics to mere space, isolating it from the essence of temporality. This reduction occurs to facilitate the measurability of time, enabling its systematic management. This is the case not only in physics but also in ordinary use of time which operates as an instrument to structure social life.

    The central inquiry in this seminar revolves around whether the Theory of Special Relativity introduces a modification or revolution in the Newtonian paradigm of space-time. This exploration aims to assess whether Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity can circumvent philosophical criticisms of physical time and, more ambitiously, provide a positive account of time capable of compensating Bergson's and Heidegger's negative ontologies. My preliminary response to this query leans towards the negative. I endeavor to illustrate that while the constancy of the speed of light as a measurement tool complicates the concept of absolute time, Einstein's genius lay not in fundamentally revolutionizing physics but in instituting necessary adjustments to salvage classical physics. The crisis in physics prompting the emergence of relativity theory stemmed from attempts to reconcile Maxwell's principles of electromagnetism with Newtonian principles of movement. Physicists sought to measure the speed of electromagnetic waves while applying Galilean classical relativity to these waves. Einstein exceptionalized the speed of electromagnetic waves but retained fundamental classical concepts such as inert frameworks, speed, and timekeeping. From a philosophical standpoint, in his theory, the temporality of inert frameworks, including simultaneity, priority, or posteriority of events, are contemplated in a classical sense. Einstein's theory of special relativity unfolds within the spatially linear conception of time, creating a complex interplay between space and time.

    In conclusion, I argue that the quest for a revolutionary account of physical concepts and an alternative ontology faithful to Kant's Copernican turn should be directed toward quantum mechanics rather than the theory of relativity.

  • Wednesday 3 April, 2024

    Dr. Anda Pleniceanu (Independent Researcher):

    Memory and Informalist Aesthetics in Manolo Millares’s Burlap Works

    Manolo Millares is a prominent figure in Spanish Informalism, whose work bears witness to the period of censorship and repression under Francisco Franco’s regime. Although Millares’s works evoke themes of war, death, and violence, they transcend the simple representation of political and social events into art. Instead, they invite viewers to engage intimately and literally with the artwork, fostering a closeness that stems from the materiality of the works, the rigid fabrics, and the incisions on the canvas.

    My study explores the connection between Millares’s works and the concept of memory through engagement with a range of concepts developed by post-structuralist thinkers, such as Theodor Adorno and Maurice Blanchot. By examining the contributions of an avant-garde artist who lived and worked during a challenging historical context, this study shows how art can be used to critically engage with one’s socio-historical context and memory beyond mere symbolism and representation.

  • Wednesday 8 May, 2024

    Professor Dror Pimentel (Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem):

    The Aopria of the Wolf: Beuys with Freud

    In 1974, the German artist Joseph Beuys left Germany for the first time and flew to New York. Right after landing, he was rushed in an ambulance—wrapped with felt sheets—to the Rene Block gallery. There he was awaited by a coyote (the American wolf), with which he will spend the coming three days in a performance titled “I Like America and America Likes Me.” The obvious question is why Beuys chose to be enclosed particularly with a wolf. Most likely, this is due to the distinguished position preserved for the wolf in the American indigenous culture, in which it is considered a sacred animal. Thus it is also possible to envisage the wolf as a totemic animal. As we shall see, the totemic quality of the wolf is of utmost importance for Beuys, and could provide the lead for understanding his performance. It is within the intention of this talk to examine the figure of the wolf with regard to Freud’s interpretation of the phenomenon of totemism, as formulated in his Totem and Taboo. The text enfolds the drama of the primordial scene, in the course of which the primordial father is murdered by his sons. According to Freud, the clan’s bipolar attitude toward their totem animal resembles the bipolar attitude of the sons toward their father, as they simultaneously admire him and wish for his death. The totem animal could thus be viewed as a supplementing figure of the murdered father, around which the first social contract is struck, banning murder and incest. The totem animal therefore embodies the specter of the murdered father, and along with it, the long-forgotten pre-cultural being as a whole, which—persisting outside and before the law—is characterized by excess of violence and sexuality. The totemic quality of the wolf will be further discussed in relation to Beuys’ critique of America and Capitalism more generally.
  • Wednesday 5 June, 2024

    Giulia Zerbinati (Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna):

    Models of dialectics and aesthetic truth in Hegel and Adorno

    In this talk I would like to present my ongoing research project and gather ideas about my current work. Focus of the research is the relationship of co-implication that subsists, in Hegel and Adorno, between the models of dialectics they propose and the conception of aesthetic truth they elaborate. The analysis is conducted both through an examination of the key points in which this intertwining is established, and through the problematization of the elements of greatest contrast and convergence between the two authors. The aim is to show not only how both conduct their study of the aesthetic by framing it within the theoretical structure provided by the construction, in the logical-conceptual field, of a precise model of dialectics (“positive” Hegel, “negative” Adorno), but first and foremost to investigate the possibility that, conversely, it is precisely the consideration of the aesthetic – here understood not much or not only as an artistic fact/phenomenon, but rather as a sensible, mimetic, para-linguistic, non-identical element of our experience of the real – that requires, as an aconceptual moment is implicated in every processual conception of truth, the articulation of a specific dialectical paradigm. Such an examination shall also allow to question the need for dialectical thought to move from a more strongly conceptual model, as Hegel’s was, to a more perceptual one, which certainly does not forget the need to make use of concepts in philosophy, but which, at the same time, as Adorno suggests, becomes aware of the violence that knowledge does to things by their use and that, for this reason, moves in the direction of rehabilitating, against an idea of truth as pure rational knowledge, an idea of truth as experience, which dialectically should include, rather than repress, the truthful moment of the aesthetic.
  • Wednesday 4 September, 2024

    Professor Andrew Jorn (Tsukuba Gakuin University):

    Temporal castration and capitalist realism beyond psycho-analysis

    TBA.
  • Wednesday 2 October, 2024

    Professor Jørgen Veisland (University of Gdańsk, Poland):

    On geopolitical states of power, surveillance, and of freedom of speech, with reference to George Orwell’s 1984

    TBA.

Previous seminars

  • Wednesday 7 February, 2024

    Dr. Torgeir Fjeld (Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts) and Dr. Jytte Holmqvist (University of Central Lancashire/ Hebei University):

    Bergman Obscure

    Holmqvist and Fjeld will speak on their ongoing work with an edited volume of essays on Ingmar Bergman’s films, and extend an open invitation to submit essays.
  • Wednesday 6 December, 2023

    Dr. Gray Kochhar Lindgren (University of Hong Kong and Wild Studios Consulting):

    The Enigma of Writing: Style, Habit, Genre, and Accident

    Beginning with a brief encounter with Pinxtos: Small Delicacies and Chance Encounters, which is due out on utopos publishing, we will then talk with one another about our own experience of, and experiments with, the mysterious act of writing. How do we organize it for ourselves; what complexes, phantasms, and aspirations does it touch upon; how do writing, reading, and the world traverse each other? Why, in fact, do we even bother with writing at all? Please bring a paragraph of your own writing to throw into the ring of conversation!
  • Wednesday 1 November, 2023

    Professor Jørgen Veisland (University of Gdańsk, Poland):

    Transcendence in Cormac McCarthy’s novels The Crossing and Stella Maris

    In Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing (1994) a young boy, Billy Parham, from New Mexico frees a she-wolf from a trap and decides to bring her home to Mexico where she is from. The wolf is captured by Mexican police and dies in a brutal game against fierce dogs. The boy buries the wolf but the wolf lives on as a natural force that cannot be held. In Stella Maris (2022) the young mathematical genius Alicia Western discusses mathematics in a conversation with a psychiatrist, claiming that math and numbers may on one hand reflect a transcendent truth or may on the other hand be that truth in themselves, in a very Platonic sense. For Alicia whose father was a physicist working with Oppenheimer in the Manhattan Project access to the truth is darkened by a view of an absolute evil source threatening mankind.

The Ereignis Seminar is a live event, and is not recorded. General academic standards for participation apply. If you are interested in presenting a paper, an ongoing research project or work in progress at the Ereignis Seminar send your short abstract and author bio to ereignis@tankebanen.no. We are particularly interested in projects that somehow connect to our particular approach. The seminar is presented by Ereignis Center for Philosophy and the Arts. Discussion is moderated by Dr. Torgeir Fjeld. More information: https://seminar.ereignis.no/.

It is necessary to think, under the name of the void, the outside-place [utopos] on the basis of which any place — any situation — maintains itself with respect to its being. That the without-place (Άτοπον) signifies the absurd causes one to forget that the point, precisely in not being a place, can mitigate the aporias of the void.Alain Badiou

Last updated: 14 December, 2023