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Twists of the New Aesthetic Turn: Art and Subjective Consistency

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Organizer: Robert Hughes

Co-Organizer: Fernanda Negrete

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Modern and contemporary theories of subjectivity have recurrently interrogated the work of art as a privileged framework for examining aspects of the subject that remain otherwise obscured by competing concerns and processes. Especially in theories informed by psychoanalysis and Nietzsche’s critique of ipseity, the work of art is postulated as staging the drama of the subject’s very consistency and its disruptive effects, through specific engagements with and against form. The function of art emerges in this light as a working through of inconsistencies at the heart of subjective existence; the work of form is thus neither accessory, nor fully calculated or calculable. Art in these theories concerns, instead, the life and fate of the subject, and it is a matter of revealing the subject's consistencies, knottings, dehiscences, punctures, opacities, refrains, and singular symptomatic formations, as consequences of force.
This seminar invites paper proposals that seek to co-articulate problems in art and aesthetics with problems in continental and French-psychoanalytic theories of subjectivity. Papers with a more developed clinical interest might consider, for example, how aesthetic experience might operate in ways analogous to clinical work, insofar as both may be thought to welcome unconscious desire and its disruptions. Papers more devoted to problems of art might consider how formal and material elements of the work of art can be read in terms of symptom and/or the real. Other papers might, within the frame of a theoretical inquiry into aesthetics, take up problems of the feminine and the heterological, problems of form and subjective consistency, problems of existence and experience, problems of language and its defects, or problems of the body and/or sinthome. Reference to concrete works of art and literature are very much welcome, but accepted proposals will forefront the theoretical contribution of the proposed paper.

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