Andrey Velikanov. H — Humpty Dumpty. / School. Schizoanalysis

Andrey Velikanov. H — Humpty Dumpty. / School. SchizoanalysisAndrey Velikanov. H — Humpty Dumpty. / School. Schizoanalysis


This lecture of Andrey Velikanov’s course is devoted to the paradoxes of language.

Must all words have a meaning? And if they do have one, where does it come from? Did we just agree to associate certain words with specific meanings or is the meaning inherently present in every word? Lewis Carroll was a master of philosophical, mathematical, and logical paradoxes. His Humpty Dumpty claims that words have the meaning he attaches to them, yet it’s unclear what he actually is—an egg or a castle from a game of chess. In philosophy, the argument about words and their meaning led Karl Popper to formulate the concept of methodological essentialism and then criticize it, which, however, did not put an end to essentialism itself.

'Don't stand chattering to yourself like that,' Humpty Dumpty said, looking at her for the first time, 'but tell me your name and your business.'

'My name is Alice, but—'

'It's a stupid name enough!' Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. 'What does it mean?'

'Must a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully.

'Of course it must,' Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: 'my name means the shape I am—and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.'

Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking Glass


Andrey Velikanov is a philosopher, art theorist, and artist. His publications on art and cultural theory include Am I a Trembling Simulacrum, or Do I Have the Right? (NLO, 2007). He has taught at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russian State University for the Humanities, UNIC Institute, Wordshop Communications Academy, Moscow 1905 Art Academy, MediaArtLab Open School, Center of Avant-Garde at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, and Free Workshops Art School, and regularly gives talks and takes part in discussions at various venues. He is also a recipient of several media art awards and prizes including Ostranenie (Germany), DADANET (Russia), Art on the Net (Japan), TrashArt (Russia), Southwest Interactive Festival (U.S.A.), and Split (Croatia).


Free admission.

Participants in the study group will be expected to spend extra time on further reading and studies, individually as well as in the group. 

Information about the course and admission to the group.