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Lecture by Andrey Velikanov. Homo Studens: The Learning Man. School and propaedeutics

Lecture Cycle. Homo Mutabilis: The Man Who Changes the World, Ideas that Change the Man.
25 November 2018


The lecturer will examine the diverse understandings of studying, students, and teachers.

Acquiring new knowledge is an interesting and pleasant process. This is exactly why the word “school” in Ancient Greek meant “free pastime”. A philosopher could share his knowledge and experience with people or enter into conversations with other philosophers in a leisurely way. But the Greeks also developed a strict system of testing the data and skills acquired by young men in order to delegate them civil rights and freedoms in full measure. This is how two different types of teaching methods emerged: the first one implies that the student himself is set to master his knowledge and free thinking, whereas the other is based around control, duty, and discipline in order to gain professional or civil status.

“Not so much like drops of water, though water, it is true, can wear holes in the hardest granite…” <…>

“Till at last the child’s mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child’s mind. And not the child’s mind only. The adult’s mind too-all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides- made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions!” The Director almost shouted in his triumph. “Suggestions from the State.”

(Aldous Huxley. Brave New World. 1932)


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).


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