Newsletter Fall 2015

Interview with Dr. John Rajchman

Interview Conducted by Taliesin Thomas, Cohort ’13, IDSVA Newsletter Editor

John Rajchman is an esteemed member of the IDSVA community and a venerable philosopher known for his work on seminal French thinkers. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he has been teaching since 1990, offering courses in Theory and Criticism, 20th-century Art and Philosophy, and Contemporary Chinese Art. For ten years, he was the Director of Modern Art M.A. Programs in the Department of Art History and Archeology at Columbia, and has worked extensively as a curator, writer, theorist, and cultural contributor.

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Spannocchia Residency May – June 2015

By Shani Jamila, Cohort ’15

This summer the incoming IDSVA class met each other for the first time during our residency in Italy. We visited Rome, Siena, Florence and Venice, in addition to spending two weeks studying art and philosophy at Spannocchia, a beautiful 12th century castle in Tuscany. During the day, we took in breathtaking views of the terraced organic gardens and rolling hills. When evening fell, as many fireflies as you can imagine punctuated the dusk with glitter before the night sky grew so heavy with stars that it seemed to sink towards us.  

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A History of Courage Spannocchia Residency May–June 2015

By Zoma Wallace, Cohort ‘15

How many people can recount meeting a legendary figure, particularly one whose career has profoundly influenced their own? For those fortunate souls who can attest, doesn’t the experience seem to affirm your chosen path? This summer, against the magical Tuscan backdrop of Spannocchia Castle, I nervously awaited the arrival of that figure. Upon his entrance, Dr. David C. Driskell transformed from myth to man as he embraced Cohort ’15 with the utmost warmth and humility. As a visiting lecturer, Dr. Driskell was invited to enrich the introductory Topological Studies course, and his words would unfold as a history of courage.

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Berlin Residency June 2015

By Jennifer Rissler, Cohort ’14

Howard Caygill’s visit to Topological Studies II caused reverberations in our thinking about issues of truth with Berlin as a backdrop. This brief recap highlights many of Caygill’s salient points. Initially he set out on a course to reconsider the “mind” as “mood” as a closer translation in the English language, suggesting a whole, bodily being, or an elevated gamut which enhances the feeling of life (as evidenced in Kant’s Critique of Judgement). 

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Only Nick Cave Can Save Us: Esoteric Reflections on Santiago Zabala's Visiting Faculty Lecture, Spannocchia Residency May – June 2015

By Milos Zahradka Maiorana, Cohort ’15

In a recent double lecture at IDSVA during the summer residency at Spannocchia philosopher Santiago Zabala addressed the question of ontology after Heidegger: what is divided between scientific description and philosophical interpretation as a means for creating an alteration of the status quo – what he calls hermeneutic communism. In the second part of the lecture Zabala dealt with art and philosophy in relation to the absence of emergency and preparing for the emergence of Being as event.

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Siena Recap: Spannocchia Residency May–June 2015

By Sandra Stephens, Cohort ’15

It is amazing how much can be experienced during one-day excursions.  While studying at Spannocchia, cohort ’15 and a few members of cohort ’14 visited Florence and Siena on our weekend field trips. In Siena, we looked at more amazing and unique architecture - due to the medieval nature of the city. We owe the beauty of Siena to the fact that, after its defeat by Florence, lack of development meant these medieval structures would remain.

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Venice Residency June 2015

By Lynne Margaret Brown, Cohort ’14

This past summer I had the opportunity to visit the Venice Biennale All The World’s Futures multiples times. Visiting primarily as a student with IDSVA then while living in Venice attending an arts and printmaking residency at the Scuola di Grafica Internazionale and finally with The National Academy Museum and Art School through an artists residency/travel and study scholarship. Upon multiple visits to the Biennale it became second nature to examine the exhibition through the lens of our studies at IDSVA. 

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Arch(e) Glad You Went to Rome?

By Gabriel Reed, Cohort ’14

What a grand way to be introduced to an ancient (and modern) epicenter of ideas – the city of Rome. Navigating the basalt cobblestone streets I drifted to thinking about a quote from a lecture by IDSVA Visiting Faculty Ewa Ziarek where she says, “artist-philosophers are militants of the impossible”. Conflict of possibility can be felt in Rome and as such, it is a most appropriate gateway to the IDSVA Topological Studies Italy Residency of 2015.

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Florence, Revealing Spannocchia Residency May–June 2015

By Erin Gleason Cohort ’15

As I traveled with my cohort on the way to Florence and on the way to my past, I was curious to discover if the city would be at all like my memories of it 17 years ago, when Fortune gifted me the opportunity to live there for a summer to study Italian. I had not been to the Tuscan capital since. Would it still be the Florence – my Florence – I explored during my youth? Would the city reveal ghosts of myself as I walked its streets? What filters would I see the city through; what lost perspectives would be rediscovered?

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Irfan Yavru: Art, Politics and Philosophy A Conversation in Two Parts Translators: Arda Saracan and Omer OU Uysal

By Yon Tande (né Whitney V. Hunter), Cohort ’13

The Istanbul residency offered me two very distinct experiences which perhaps represent Istanbul itself. The first days of the residency were dedicated to IDSVA activities. Visiting the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Museum, the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul Modern, and Bosphorus river, indulging in the culinary fancies of Istanbul and gaining a historical perspective on the city while simultaneously considering the resonances of Pamuk’s Istanbul. After the residency ended I stayed on a few days and transitioned over to the new town, which offered an entirely different perspective, one which seemed more modern and western in its presentation.

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Being Such That It Always Matters, Brown Residency July 2015

By Juliet Araujo, Cohort ’13

IDSVA’s Statement of Purpose speaks of our “pioneering curriculum—fusing distance learning with intensive residencies.” The third year summer residency at Brown University was the start of this next chapter in the many journeys that have brought us together as a community. The work consisted in the shaping of the heart within and without the deep polyphonic immersions that always matter for our residencies. This is my installment in the ever-becoming process of being that answers the call as Cohort ’13.

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Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT) Philosophy Conference, September 2015

By Mike Adams, Cohort ’13

As a Seattle-native I did not have to travel far to the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition (PACT) conference in late September hosted by Seattle University. This was the seventh annual meeting of PACT, with the theme of The Feast. PACT is an organization of philosophers and other thinkers (including artists) focusing on Continental philosophy in contrast to the other predominant mode of Western philosophy, called Anglo-American.

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