READING GROUP 1
Writing and Language Politics: Feminine, Feminist, Female
February 7–March 14,
The reading group will focus on feminist literary criticism and language philosophy, cover works on the phenomenon of female writing and female speech. Participants will be offered the opportunity to reflect on what is a ‘female literary language’ and ‘female writing’, and whether it is possible to defy patriarchal tradition of meaning production and find female exsistentia by the means of language and words. Why is it necessary to recode and reappropriate language monopolized by the patriarchal matrix? Is there a possibility for a ‘female coup’ in the communication system that is currently dependent on economics of male desire? Does this dichotomy require rereading in the context of the newest language politics?
Lolita Agamalova — feminist, prosaist, student at the Philosophy Faculty at State Academic University for the Humanities.
Oksana Kita — feminist, junior researcher at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, author of articles and poetic texts.
READING GROUP 2
Texts and Theories in Twentieth Century Architecture
February 8–March 22
Contemporary architecture goes through an exceptional period of self-criticism and reflection in reaction to unprecedented social and economic change. Attempting to break away from the past and find new ways for development, architects strive for combination of two seemingly contrasting roles—active practitioner and philosopher ideologist.
Reading group participants will be offered the opportunity to look at the history of twentieth century architecture through a prism of texts written by leading theorists and practitioners of the previous century, trace key directions in architecture’s evolution from the end of the nineteenth century to the present—both for traditional global capitals (Western Europe, Russia, USA) and for the new building culture hubs (Japan, Brazil, Finland).
Moderator: Kirill Stepanov – architect, Master's in Architectural History and Theory (University of Edinburgh), lecturer at the department of architecture in Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU), PhD student at Research Institute of architectural history and theory and urbanism, member of the editorial board Problems of Universal History of Architecture.
READING GROUP 3
Design and Art: Between Utilitarian Object and Cultural Sign
February 13–March 27
Design often ‘replaces’ art and seeks to surpass it in attempts to embody the visual outlook of the time. Design objects cease to act as merely utilitarian and claim a status of a work of art. Interaction of art and design gets hyperbolized forms, giving rise to a whole new branch of artistic project work, connected to production of objects, characterized by functions previously only attributed to works of art.
Reading group participants will be offered the opportunity to study texts on principles of art and design interaction and to answer the question of whether it is possible to equate the two disciplines.
Moderator: Margarita Morozova (PhD in Art History), is a member of Russian Union of Designers, senior lecturer at Department of History and Theory of Design and Media Communications at Saint-Petersburg State University of Industrial Technologies and Design (2008-2014).
READING GROUP 4
Lacanian Psychoanalysis and Signifying Desires
March 21–April 25
Jacques Lacan is author of the ‘mirror stage’ concept, the starting point for subject’s self-identification. This concept was described in the philosopher’s eponymous article, and in his further works Lacan proclaimed a radical turn connected to understanding of nature of human desire and the question of sex. Texts by Jacques Lacan sparked heated debates, that are ongoing till the present day.
Reading group participants will be offered the opportunity to study the key terms in psychoanalysis relating to the issues of desire and ‘desiring subject’—some of the most controversial categories of psychoanalysis.
Moderator: Alexander Bronnikov is practicing psychoanalytic, a former student of Jean-Michel Vappereau. He is co-leader of the seminar on Lacanian topology at Russian State University for the Humanities. He completed fellowships at clinical institutions in Paris, took part in the collaborative education program of Université Rennes 2 (France) and Moscow State University of Psychology & Education.
READING GROUP 5
New Photography Theory
March 22–April 26
Photography theory of the twentieth century is often associated with works of such famous authors as Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Susan Sontag, Rosalind Krauss, John Berger and Michael Fried. In the meantime, works written after 1980—especially in the 2000s—remain predominantly overlooked. Yet technological progress and cultural shifts of the previous decades lead to dramatic changes in photography theory and practice, that are necessary to consider on a principally new level.
Rejection of Cartier-Bresson’s ‘decisive moment’ concept and hegemony of the ‘Western’ point of view, transition from physical to digital mediums, wide spread of photography on the Web—all these and many other questions will be studied alongside works on photography theory from the 2000s. Group participants will not only read and analyze texts, but also see photo series and projects that illustrate them and even discuss their own experience of making photographs.
Moderator: Viktoria Musvik — PhD in Philology, researcher specializing in visual studies, art critic. Researcher at the Laboratory of Visual and Cultural Studies at the European Humanities University (Vilnius).