What can be found in common between a Cinta Senese piglet, a Lorenzetti painting, a feudal-agrarian social order and T.E. Lawrence? The short answer would be: they are all points in the trajectory that forms a narrative in the history of ideas, situated at the core of the Topological Studies Program at IDSVA. The long answer is what students at IDSVA find through their participation in this unique unmediated educational experience, which takes them from place to place over a period of several weeks: Rome, Spannocchia, Siena, Florence, Berlin, Paris, Istanbul.
All of these sites are brought into historical proximity with each other (what we like to call intertextual relation), so that students progress from the ancient world represented by Rome, to the trans-historical paradigm exemplified by Istanbul.
During these residencies specially appointed Visiting Faculty give lectures and seminars that highlight the connections between the history of ideas that inform a given place, and contemporary discourses in art and philosophy. This summer students will work with internationally renowned artists, philosophers and scholars, such as Simonetta Moro and Tom Huhn in Rome, Azra Aksamija at Spannocchia Castle, Howard Caygill and Vadim Zakharov in Berlin, Jacqueline Rose and George Smith in Paris, and Sylvère Lotringer in Istanbul.
Together with Simonetta Moro, Tom Huhn will accompany students on a “Pantheonic Culture/Vatican Art/Archaeology of the Future” tour of Rome that will connect the ancient city with the Renaissance and contemporary city, through its architecture, artworks, and institutions.
Simonetta Moro is the director and Associate Professor of Art & Theory at IDSVA. She is a visual artist and theorist, with a focus on painting, drawing and mapping practices. Recent exhibitions, presentations and publications include:Contemporary Cartographies, Lehman College Art Gallery, 2013; “Mapping Heterotopian Spaces: Affective Cartography as Artistic Practice” (CAA 2013); “Peripatetic Box and Personal Mapping: From Studio to Classroom to City” (in Mapping Cultures, Palgrave 2012).
Tom Huhn is the Chair of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has lectured extensively on 18th-Century German philosophy, and his books include Imitation and Society: The Persistence of Mimesis in the Aesthetics of Burke, Hogarth, and Kant; The Cambridge Companion to Adorno; and The Wake of Art: Criticism, Philosophy, and the Ends of Taste.
After Rome, students will move to Spannocchia Castle, representing the feudal/agrarian paradigm, where Azra Akšamija will give a series of lectures on “Sacred Space/Political Sacrilege.” Azra Akšamija is a Sarajevo born artist and architectural historian, and a “Class of 1922” Career Development Professor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture, Art, Culture and Technology Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her broader academic specialization is the history of Islamic art and architecture in Europe from the nineteenth century up to the present. As an artist, Akšamija investigates the potency of art and architecture to facilitate the process of transformative mediation in cultural or political conflicts, and in so doing, provide a framework for researching, analyzing, and intervening in contested socio-political realities.
In Berlin, second-year students will study the philosophy of Kant, Hegel, and German Idealism in the context of the Neoclassical-early industrial city. British philosopherHoward Caygill, Professor of Cultural History, Paris VIII, will lecture on “Kant, The Art of War, On Resistance.” Professor Caygill is an internationally recognized scholar with a special interest in visual culture. His books include Walter Benjamin: The Colour of Experience, A Kant Dictionary, and Levinas and the Political. His latest book, On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance, has been published by Bloomsbury in 2013.
Students will also visit the studio of Vadim Zakharov, the artist who represented Russia at the Venice Biennale in 2013. Zakharov’s most recent work is 2014. A Space Odyssey, the second part of the trilogy Money, a project for the 2nd CAFAM Biennial 2014 in Beijing.
From Spannocchia and Berlin, students will travel to Paris, explored through the lens of the Bourgeois Modern city paradigm, or “The Capital of the 19th Century”, as Walter Benjamin aptly named it. Visits to major museums as well as lectures and seminar presentations will be part of the residency. Professor George Smith, founder and president of IDSVA, will relate key figures of French modernism to post-modern philosophy with a lecture on “Degas/Manet/Posthuman.”
Jacqueline Rose, of the University of London, will give a lecture on “German-Jewish Artist, Charlotte Salomon.” Rose is well known to IDSVA students through her work on psychoanalysis and feminism, such as Sexuality in the Field of Vision (Verso, 1986), and Feminine Sexuality – Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne, translated and co-edited with Juliet Mitchell (Macmillan and Norton-Pantheon, 1982). Recent publications includeThe Last Resistance, Proust Among the Nations: From Dreyfus to the Middle East. A forthcoming book, Women in Dark Times, is to be published in 2015 by Bloomsbury Publishing.
The summer residencies come to an end with the city of Istanbul – the Trans-historical paradigm where East and West collide. And what a better place, in the year that commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the First World War, to have distinguished literary critic and cultural theorist Sylvère Lotringer give a lecture on of “T. E. Lawrence andNomadology: The War Machine.”
Sylvère Lotringer is Professor Emeritus of French literature and philosophy at Columbia University and Professor of Foreign Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. He is widely known for his work as general editor of Semiotext(e) and Foreign Agents, which brought French theory and philosophy to the attention of the American public. Lotringer has co-authored several books with Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard, and has edited, among others, French Theory in America, Hatred of Capitalism, David Wojnarowicz, and authored Overexposed. A room devoted to Semiotext(e) is currently on view at the Whitney Biennial in New York City.