Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Introduction, Schedule


Welcome on the 2017 version of the course LITERARY SPACES of the ViCCA MA program. The theme of the spring is TEXT, BODY, POLITICS.

The course is a cocktail of reading, theoretical lectures, discussion and input given by our visitors.

All sessions will not touch upon all concepts of the title, but the whole will hopefully provide us with a stimulating road map for the topic.

Below you have the schedule, including the visitors and some of the materials for the course (the rest will be distributed during the sessions or by e-mail).

How to get the credits? The first session (26.1) is OBLIGATORY. After that you can be away 2 times (here I have counted in possible sicknesses, etc.). If you can't make it - come back next year! Read the texts given to you and be mentally present during the sessions, and the credits are yours! The course requires work, so if you are too busy just drop it - and get back to it next year.

NOTE: physically we will be in the ART House (Lämpömiehenkuja 3, 3rd Floor, Otaniemi).


THURSDAY 26.1, 10-12

A look at the course syllabus.
Personal and theoretical introduction by Max.

We discussed e.g. juveline delinquents, boxers (Muhammad Ali), bloggers, and other agents of political and philosophical change who use literary methods in their work. We ended up talking also about René Magritte's Hegel's holidays (the story behind the surrealist (and philosophically speaking quite literary) obsession with Hegel's dialectics and its role in Magritte's work is well portrayed in Didier Ottinger's Nom d'une pipe: Ou comment Magritte rêva d'expédier Hegel en vacances, 2007) and we went through the content of the course. Max talked about his personal relationship to the issue.

We talked about Peter Sloterdijk's Critique of Cynical Reason (1983). Max confessed that the book helped him out of political depression.

For the Friday 27.1 class read The Story of Mimi-Nashi-Hoichi (part of Kwaidan, Japanese folktales, ed. L. Hearn).

FRIDAY 27.1, 10-12

Screening on Hoichi the Earless, an excerpt from Masaki Kobayashi's film Kwaidan (1964). By the way, there's a great Toru Takemitsu music in it.

We had a discusion about the film session about strong texts, the ghosts wishing to get art into their realm, some technical mistakes of the film, the Japanese relationship to Chinese characters / written words, the way the text left some issues open or visual in different way from the film, blindness as a possible sensitivity making it easier for Hoichi to enter the world of shadows and just the plain fact that the film is damn good. I promised to borrow the DVD to Martina Mino, but the rest of you can borrow it later and take a look at the whole film (remember that this was just one of the stories).

One of Giandomenico Tiepolo's late rennaissance Venetian Pulcinella paintings.

TUESDAY 31.1, 10-12

We had a visitor: theatre director, performance artist and scholar Davide Giovanzana. We talked about Commedia dell'arte, plays within plays (Hamlet), Aristofanes, comedy vs. tragedy, boundaries of language, masks, power of the words (and how that can end in wrong use), experience of the limits of language and theatre (e.g. skene) all and all.

Elham Rahmati took up the performance Unified Estonia, which is a great performance on the performativity of politics (I have the video as DVD is you are interested, Elham is right: its very interesting).

Read for the 1.2 class: Alice Goffman, On the Run (excerpt), which is Goffman's anthropological research on the devastated poor neighbourhoods of Northern Philadelphia.


WEDNESDAY 1.2, 10-12

We discussed Goffman's On the Run. Can social science have a political impact and if then in what ways? Can pornographically detailed descriptions of social reality change social reality?

The discussion was bold, emotional and it included a lot of really well-grounded argumentation (thank you for that!). Goffman was criticized for using the people she had been working with, we were talking about her work even as some kind of appropriation, the pros and cons of her kitschy writing style were discussed, he unclear positioning of herself was criticized, the clearness of her writing was appraised, her exoticism was under heavy scrutiny - and all and it is easy to conclude that the was probably in some sense both a medicine and a poison for the issues discussed.

Read for 2.2: The Fine Art of Rap (Richard Shusterman, 1991).

  Kuvahaun tulos haulle zacatecas rap
(Pic: Cypher Hip Hop Feminas Zacatecas)

THURSDAY 2.2, 10-12

Political hip hop visited (theoretically). Check playlist. Why do so many political artists today choose hip hop / rap for their method of engaging with their public? Is it because of its simple artistic nature (you don't need any education), its low production costs and easy distribution? Or is it because it is easy for the audience to approach? Aesthetics of hip hop? 1991 still valid in any sense?

Read for the 3.2 session the following article: Throwing the Body into the Fight.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle pasolini
Pic from Pasolini's film The Pigsty (Porcile, 1969)

FRIDAY 2.2, 10-12

The idea was to:

"Rethinking the body of the conceptual artist (and the textual systems around it) - and Pier Paolo Pasolini. We try to cure political depression and to focus on the beauty of small political deeds - and to think about the way the body gives weight to performances and how words frame them."

In the discussion we got into e.g. listening to text while making food, changes in the use / feeling of the body in different contexts, performances and distance, sport, extremities and moderate uses of the body, the effect of some words on the mind / emotions, rituals where the key words expressed ('I hereby...') have a huge meaning - and so on.

Forgot Pasolini... (Max's fault, but what the heck: it is easier to study his stuff later on than to hear what people in the class have to say.)

THURSDAY 9.2, 10-12

Visitor: Contemporary Artist (and our Dept's doctoral student) David Muoz. David's text (Alberto Híjar Serrano) was mailed to to the participants. There was a loud reading (nice!) and discussion about the text, which has been published in RabRab Vol 3 (2016).

FRIDAY 10.2, 10-12

Visitor: Blogger, writer, journalist Koko Hubara discussed her blogging as a literary space, gave us insights on local problems of racialization and presented her new media Ruskeat Tytöt. The talk was very much appericated and raised constructive discussion on the role of national language, national state, problems of print media and identity.

TUESDAY 14.2, 10-12

Visitor (and participant): our belowed student Jakub Bobrowski. Like Al-Ghazali Jakub left us to adventure into distant cultures, arts and philosophies. Jakub surprised us - all the way from Tunisia! - by sending film clips. What a beautiful gesture!

For Wed 15.1  Angela Mbekeni and Mikko Kapanen would like you to take a look at the following:
Global Noise, ed. Tony Mitchell, "Another Root - Hip-Hop outside the USA
their latest PEPR show.

WEDNESDAY 15.1, 10-12

Visitors: Angela Mbekeni and Mikko Kapanen from PEPR radio will be free to talk with us about whatever want - I am sure it will be interesting anyway!

Assignment for 16.2: bring an interesting (realistic) food recipe which is about a food you have not tasted.

THURSDAY 16.2, 10-12

Reciped as manuscripts. What are recipes really, and what is their relationship to food? Do they work like types for tokens, like the score for Beethoven's 9th Symphony for the performed work? They give us pleasure, sometimes just through reading, that's for sure. But what more?

Assignment for 17.2: make food out of one of the recipes. Spare the receits and bring them with you for the last session (ViCCA pays for them).

FRIDAY 17.2, 10-12

Munching food made out of yesterday's recipes (blind cooking, in a sense). We discuss the course, share memories on what we learned / encountered, what our guests talked about and where we are at after the course.

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