Aesthetic Technologies (rescheduled for March 2015)

Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, 25th-28th of November 2014 (Rescheduled for March 2015, more information will follow)

Up until the “technological turn” of the nineties, “aesthetic technologies” had the ring of a provocative catachresis, uniting two concepts from two spheres that were thought of as distinctly different, even antithetical. Today, when most of the hubbub surrounding the once challenging new disciplines of media archaeology, digital humanities, ludology, archive aesthetics, computer culture, and the like, has abated, the time seems ripe for a retrospect and a reassessment. An obvious starting point is that the aesthetic field’s conditions of existence have been completely reshuffled. Regardless the perspective, be it that of the literary critic, the art historian, the film scholar, the musicologist or the architect, it has become a truism that aesthetic objects are imbued with technology.

So what does the present hindsight seem tell us about the effects of the advent of the information age and computer technology for the objects of aesthetic studies? Have they been the same for all the arts? Which consequences for the internal relationship between the arts can be identified? How have these changes influenced literature and the arts, not only from the point of view of production but also from that of consumption? And, last but not least, what seems to have been the institutional and political consequences?

One of the central figures in the theoretical and conceptual shift towards technology conscious humanities was the Czech-Brazilian philosopher and writer Vilém Flusser. Having over the last decade been increasingly recognized as a modern classic and an important theorist, his thinking and work on aesthetics, art, media, and communicology, are receiving a rapidly growing international audience. The host for this seminar, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, is one of the centers of Flusser Scholarship and the keynotes will address the actuality of his work.

Under the heading of “aesthetic technologies”, participants are invited to examine these recent theoretical and disciplinary developments from the perspective of their relevance to their own work. This might take the form of a discussion of a text drawn from the reading list, an analysis of a specific work of art, or a general presentation of themes, issues or problems that might be of general relevance to the topic. And, as always, the course is also open for those who would prefer to present and discuss a draft of a chapter from their ongoing work. This invitation goes to PhD.students from all the aesthetic disciplines – literature, art history, musicology, cinema studies, architecture, drama, dance, etc.

The program will consist of plenary lectures (45 minutes + 30 minutes of discussion) and group work. It will begin with a welcoming lecture in the afternoon of Tuesday the 25th and end with a dinner party on the Friday the 28th.

Keynote speakers:

  • Erick Felinto, professor in Media Studies, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
  • Bernardo Krause, professor in Literary Theory, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
  • Karl Erik Schöllhammer, professor in Literature, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro

Further details of the keynotes and the program will follow.

The course is organized by the Norwegian Research Training School in Text, Image, Sound, Space and will be open to students from the Catholic University of Rio, PUC, and the University of Copenhagen. Estimated number of PhD candidates: 20-25 (excluding staff). Participants are expected to submit papers (max. 15 pages), to be discussed in groups (30 minutes each).

PUC, Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Details will follow.

Credits for participation are 5 points (ECTS) with paper and 2 points without.

Reading materials will be made available by Dropbox. 
The PhD students will be asked to submit their papers to their allotted group by e-mail.

Deadline for application: October 1st.
Please include a title and a short abstract (300 words), alternatively indicate if you would prefer to present an article from the reading list (will follow).
Deadline for paper: November 10.

For registration and further information, please contact
In Norway: Knut Ove Eliassen
In Denmark: Frederik Tygstrup - NB! Danish participants should register with Frederik Tygstrup befor 1th of March