Lecture by Andrey Velikanov: Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven // The mandatory and the accidental

Date

From 04 March 2018

Schedule

17:00–19:00

Place

Garage Education Center
Lecture by Andrey Velikanov: Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven // The mandatory and the accidentalLecture by Andrey Velikanov: Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven // The mandatory and the accidental

DESCRIPTION

Andrey Velikanov will analyze Mark Twain’s literary oeuvre through the lens of determinism as a system of philosophic ideas.

From the determinist perspective, everything happening in the world, including the march of human history, is preordained. These beliefs are not necessarily religious. Pierre-Simon Laplace, for instance, described the world as a mechanism of inherently predetermined phenomena and processes. Echoing such ideas is the famous cliché that history has no subjunctive mood. Mark Twain’s literary experiment Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven saw the protagonist get to heaven where people are rewarded according to their potential fate that would’ve been just for them—rather than in accordance with their factual earthly life. Apparently, this type of heaven is no less paradoxical than the version of hell suggested by Jean-Paul Sartre. 

“That is the heavenly justice of it--they warn't rewarded according to their deserts, on earth, but here they get their rightful rank. That tailor Billings, from Tennessee, wrote poetry that Homer and Shakespeare couldn't begin to come up to; but nobody would print it, nobody read it but his neighbors, an ignorant lot, and they laughed at it. Whenever the village had a drunken frolic and a dance, they would drag him in and crown him with cabbage leaves, and pretend to bow down to him; and one night when he was sick and nearly starved to death, they had him out and crowned him, and then they rode him on a rail about the village, and everybody followed along, beating tin pans and yelling. Well, he died before morning. He wasn't ever expecting to go to heaven, much less that there was going to be any fuss made over him, so I reckon he was a good deal surprised when the reception broke on him.”

(Mark Twain, Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven, 1907)

ABOUT THE LECTURER

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).

HOW TO TAKE PART

Free admission