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  • 1. THE MA IN CRITICAL THEORY 2 AND CREATIVE RESEARCHGeoffrey Mann Attracted to Light, Long Exposure Series (solid trace echo of a moth in flight, materialized)Photograph © Sylvain Deleu
  • 3. “Every image of the past that is not recognized bythe present as one of its own concerns threatens todisappear irretrievably.” —Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History”
  • 4. “What is a piece of ‘research’? To find out, we need some idea ofwhat a ‘result’ might be. What does one find? What does one want to find? What is missing? In whichaxiomatic field will the phenomenon be isolated, the meaning revealed, the statistical discovery placed?” —Roland Barthes, “Writers, Intellectuals, Teachers,” The Rustle of Language
  • 5. “Design quality grows from intellectual quality.” —Edward R. Tufte, Visual and Statistical Thinking: Displays of Evidence for Making Decisions
  • 6. “The immediate source of the art work is the humancapacity for thought, as man’s ‘propensity to truck and barter’ is the source of exchange objects,and as his ability to use is the source of use-things. These are capacities of man and not mere attributes of the humananimal like feelings, wants, and needs, to which they are related and which often constitute their content. . . . Thought isrelated to feeling and transforms its mute and inarticulate despondency, as exchange transforms the naked greed of desireand usage transforms the desperate longing of needs—until they all are fit to enter the world and to be transformed intothings, to become reified. In each instance, a human capacity which by its very nature is world-open and communicative transcends and releases into the world a passionate intensity fromits imprisonment within the self.” —Hannah Arendt, “The Permanence of the Worldand the Work of Art,” The Human Condition
  • 7. “You know that poesis is more than a singlething. For of anything whatever that passesfrom not being into being the whole cause iscomposing or poetry; for that the productionsof all arts are kinds of poetry, and theircraftsmen are all poets.” —Plato, Symposium
  • 8. “Here it becomes evident that the hallmark of the new type ofresearcher is not the eye for the ‘all-encompassing whole’ or the eye for the‘comprehensive context’ (which mediocrity has claimed for itself), but rather the capacity tobe at home in marginal domains. The men whose work is contained in this yearbookrepresent the most rigorous of this new type of researcher. They are thehope of their field of study.” — Walter Benjamin, “The Rigorous Study of Art”
  • 9. “This type of study stands to gain from the insight that the morecrucial the works are, the more inconspicuously and intimately their meaning-content[Bedeutungsgehalt] is bound up with their material content [Sachgehalt]. It is concernedwith the correlation that gives rise to reciprocal illumination between, on the one hand, thehistorical process and radical change and, on the other hand, the accidental, external, andeven strange aspects of the artwork. For if the most meaningful works proveto be precisely those whose life is most deeply embedded in theirmaterial contents . . . then over the course of their historicalduration these material contents present themselves to theresearcher all the more clearly the more they have disappearedfrom the world.” — Walter Benjamin, “The Rigorous Study of Art”
  • 10. “It is the very productions of science, technology and social relationswhich will drift towards aesthetic paradigms. . . . Today our societies havetheir backs up against the wall; to survive they will have todevelop research, innovation and creation still further--thevery dimensions which imply an awareness of the strictly aesthetictechniques of rupture and suture.” —Felix Guattari, “Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm”
  • 11. "Theory is the connecting force of intra-humanrelationships, to which we owe the production of information. Thepolitical wolves shred this information into pieces, and the economicsheep consume it, but in a theoretical space they will always bedialogically threaded anew.” —Vilém Flusser, Writings
  • 12. "The dichotomy between seeing the truth in solitude and remoteness and beingcaught in the relationships and relativities of human affairs becameauthoritative for the tradition of political thought. It is expressed most forcefullyin Platos parable of the cave, and one is therefore somehow tempted to see itsorigin in the Platonic doctrine of ideas. Historically, however, it was notdependent upon an acceptance of this doctrine, but depended much more uponan attitude which Plato expressed only once, almost casually in a randomremark, and which Aristotle later quoted in a famous sentence of Metaphysicsalmost verbatim, namely that the beginning of all philosophy is thaumasein,the wonder at everything that is as it is. More thananything else, Greek theory is the prolongation and Greek philosophy thearticulation and conceptualization of this initial wonder. To be capable ofit is what separates the few from the many, andto remain devoted to it is what alienates them from theaffairs of men.” —Hannah Arendt, "What Is Authority?"
  • 13. “In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but bywhat we refuse to destroy.” —John C. Sawhill, epigraph to E.O. Wilson’s The Future of Life
  • 14. "Images are not to be studied in pieces. An image is, infact, an integrating force. It converges the most diverseimpressions, impressions arising from all of the senses.Only under these conditions does an image acquire thestamp of sincerity and carry ones whole beingalong with it.” —Gaston Bachelard, "Preface (For Two Volumes): The Imagination in Matter and in Word," Earth and Reveries of Will
  • 15. “[T]he sense of an object for me goes only so far as my senses go (has onlysense for a sense corresponding to that object)—for this reason the senses ofthe social man are other senses than those of the non-social man. . . .The forming of the five senses isa labor of the entire history of theworld down to the present.” —Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
  • 16. “Two thousand years after Plato wrote it seems as if not only thegods but the wise have abandoned us, and left us alone with our partial knowledge and our ignorance. What is left to us inthe place of the wise is their writings, in their glinting brilliance and their increasing obscurity. They still lay in more or lessaccessible editions; they can still be read, if only one knew why one should bother. It is their fate—to stand in silentbookshelves, like posted letters no longer collected, sent to us by authors, of whom we no longer knew whether or not theycould be our friends. . . .Perhaps it occasionally happens that in such researches in the dead cellars of culture the long-ignored texts begin to Everythingglimpse as if a distant light flickers over them. Can the archives also come into the Clearing?suggests that archivists have become the successors of thehumanists. For the few who still peer around in those archives, therealization is dawning that our lives are the confused answer toquestions which were asked in places we have forgotten.” —Peter Sloterdijk, “Rules for the Human Zoo: A Response to the Letter on Humanism,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space