SYMPOSIUM
«TIME AND SENSES»
2 December 2017
Second day of the Symposium "Time and Senses"
3rd Session of "The Human Condition" project
moderated by Helen Petrovsky
15:30 – 15:45
Panel 3. Cultural Memory and Spectral Communities
Helen Petrovsky (Russia). Welcome speech
There is a general understanding that recent history embraces a kind of experience that is not grasped by traditional analytical means. Moreover, it poses a challenge to rational thinking as such. Generalizing schemas of historical knowledge are increasingly replaced with "ghosts." It is precisely this word that denotes historical experience extended in time. On the one hand, this experience cannot be transformed into something positive (it does not teach us lessons), while on the other it is this experience that largely defines the contours of existing collectives. The specter as such clearly resists formalization. And yet specters constantly manifest themselves. They can be understood in different ways. For example, they can be seen as that intermediate "space" where all oppositions are sublated or as that unstable "time" where the present is incessantly destabilized and unsettled by the past. Spectrality is also a characteristic of technical arts, namely, photography and cinema. The panel will discuss the problems of constructing images of history today, highlighting their political, artistic, ethical, and aesthetical aspects.

HELEN PETROVSKY (RUSSIA) Ph.D. in Philosophy, is head of the Aesthetics Department at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Her major fields of interest are contemporary philosophy, visual studies, North American literature and culture. Among other books, she is author of The Unapparent. Essays on the Philosophy of Photography (2002), Anti-Photography (2003, 2015), Beyond Imagination. Contemporary Philosophy and Contemporary Art (2009; co-authored with Oleg Aronson), Theory of the Image (2010), Anonymous Communities (2012), and What Remains of Art (2015; co-authored with Oleg Aronson).

Watch video

15:45 – 16:10
Anamnesis as the Root Mythologem of Europe
Alexander Dobrokhotov (Russia)
Anamnesis is an idea-metaphor in European culture whereby the path towards true knowledge lies through the memories of the human soul about being in a more real and perfect world. As distinct from a more general understanding of memory anamnesis characterizes the process of a logical and moral transformation which derives from a concentration of disjointed realistic moments in our memory. From ancient Greek philosophies to present-day collisions the concept of anamnesis has been incorporating attempts to restore and preserve the times that tend to get "out of joint". In the philosophy of the 19th through 21st century anamnesis, as well as the category of memory in general, plays an important role in those theories, which strive to oppose the dictatorship of reason with free-flowing currents of vitality, and often such theories become the only means of overcoming material stagnation. A certain analogy to philosophical anamnesis is provided by a number of trends in the 20th century literature (e.g., Proust and some others), which put memory at the core of the author's creativity. In Russian philosophy it was Vyacheslav Ivanov who made the concept of anamnesis nearly central to his teaching on the "pre-eternal memory of I" whereby Divine Wisdom teaches man to transform the means of universal departure – such as space, time, and inert matter – into the way of attaining unity and harmony. However, contemporaneity requires new answers to the challenges of our global civilization.

ALEXANDER DOBROKHOTOV (RUSSIA) Doctor of Philosophy. Professor of cultural studies at the Department of Philosophy of the National Research University "Higher School of Economics". Author of the books Pre-Socrates Teachings on Being (1980), The Category of Being in Classical Western-European Philosophy (1986), Dante Alighieri (1990), Selected Works (2008), Teleology of Culture (2016).

Watch video

16:10 – 16:35
Haunting and Archives in the Time of the Now
Abigail Solomon-Godeau (USA)
At some point in the 1990s the perception of haunting – the activity of specters and phantoms, and ghostly matters in general had become widespread preoccupations in the humanities and social sciences. One significant impetus for this was the publication of Jacques Derrida's Specters of Marx: The state of the debt, the work of mourning and the new international which appeared in 1993, translated and published in English a year later. However, it was earlier, in 1987, that the African-American writer Toni Morrison published her unforgettable novel Beloved, where the ghost of a murdered child, born to a slave in 1850, returns to haunt her descendants a century later. Ghostly apparitions have been recurring motifs within literature, high and low, from Shakespeare to Stephen King, and just as frequently featured in popular films and other mass media. But it is in its more recent articulations and incarnations in contemporary art that I want to consider what Derrida termed "hauntology" (his neologism plays with its near homonym in French, ontology). In the work of very different artists (all of whom work with photographic media), "hauntology" has historical, sociological and political implications, insofar as in its various forms and incarnations the revenant or the specter is consistently imagined as that which comes back (the literal meaning of the revenant). In one way or another, the spectral or the haunting signals a modality, or better, a temporality, by which the repressed returns as a symptom or unsettling of the present.

ABIGAIL SOLOMON-GODEAU (USA) Art historian, art curator, freelance critic. Professor Emeritus at the Univercity of California at Santa Barbara. Author of the book Photography at the Dock. Essays on Photographic History, Institutions, and Practices (1991); Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation (1997); Calling Photography to Order: Gender, Genre, Discourse (2017 in press), and a number of others. She is currently working on the book project called Art Photography in the Era of Catastrophe.

Watch video
16:35 – 17:00
How to live well with ghosts
Hiroki Azuma (Japan)
Our world is haunted by ghosts: political ghosts and technological ghosts. Political ghosts are the unmourned dead or victims of the tragic events. Since the end of the Cold War, many nations, including Russia as well as Japan, have been exposed to their voices. The existence or persistence of ghosts has made it impossible to build friendship among nations. Technological ghosts are personal data generated and calculated through networks. Our lives are always surrounded by numerical alter egos, whose voices posted on social networks we sometimes trust more than our face-to-face actual communication. Our reality is invaded and eroded by ghosts. Should we exorcise the ghosts and restore our fixed reality? Jacques Derrida believed it impossible. We have to live with ghosts. If so, how can we live well with ghosts? I will talk about the importance of making a third and intermediate space for ghosts: a space beyond the political boundary between the friend and the enemy as well as the technological boundary between private and public.

HIROKI AZUMA (JAPAN) Critic, philosopher, novelist. Ph.D. The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Head of Genron Co., Ltd. Previous posts include Visiting Associate Professor at The University of Tokyo, Professor at Waseda University, Visiting Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, and more. Currently manages a publishing company and event space outside the academic world. Widely known as a philosopher from the new generation who is familiar with information technology, media culture, and more.

Watch video
17:00 – 17:25
The Witness and the Rights of the Dead
Oleg Aronson (Russia)
At the Nurnberg trial, before screening the footage showing thousands of mutilated dead bodies filmed at the Nazi concentration camps on the day of their liberation, the Prosecutor from the Soviet Union said that such evidence was irrefutable because "the dead never lie". This figure of speech was repeated again during the trial: in the concluding speech of the US Chief Prosecutor who said that the charges would be made by "the dead, who perished during that period". It is not accidental that this formulation appeared precisely thanks to the film footage and photo-documents demonstrated. The birth of photography and cinema radically changed the attitude towards archives, the past and historical facts. Photography and cinema, unlike written sources, focus not so much on what needs to be remembered as on randomly captured forgotten facts or something not initially intended for people's eyes. Such is also the function of a witness who had survived certain traumatic events during a war or genocide. His verbal evidence is based not on knowledge but on the very fact of survival and thus it belongs to the zone of legal indeterminacy whereby the dead are given a voice. OLEG ARONSON (RUSSIA) Ph.D. in Philosophy. Art scholar, theoretician of the cinema and television. Senior research fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosophy. Dissertation on the subject "Philosophical principles of analyzing cinematographic space". Winner of the Andrei Bely Prize in the category of Humanitarian Research (2007). Author of the books Bohemia: Experiences of Community (2002); Meta-cinema (2003); Communicative Image (2007); The Power of Falsehood (in press). He also has to his credit numerous essays on contemporary philosophy, the theory of the cinema and mass media.

Watch video
17:25 – 18:00
Discussion
Watch video
Made on
Tilda