Thinking the Impossible

Alexi Kukuljevic
Art Sciences and Art Education, Art Theory
2022S, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S03860

Description

One is never happy making way for a new truth, for it always means making our way into it: the truth demands that we bestir ourselves.  Jacques Lacan

Perhaps the most radical and disturbing claim of Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents (Das Unbehagen in der Kultur) is that happiness is itself an impossibility for the human being. Yet, if happiness is impossible given the breadth of human suffering, what are we to make of the desire for happiness, not to mention the supposedly unalienable right, as the United States Declaration of Independence has it, to life, liberty, and its pursuit? What does the freedom to pursue happiness actually entail?

Furthermore, what does it mean to speak of the unalienable? Is that where the promise of happiness is to be located? Can alienation be overcome? Is that even an ideal? And if happiness was not merely a "promise" but achieved, would we in truth be happy? Have we all become prisoners of the American dream to borrow Mike Davis’ apt formula? Could it be that the very demand for happiness is precisely what makes us unhappy? Perhaps happiness itself is a horror?

With this final question, we can add a twist. If happiness is a horror, which means happiness is perhaps not all that happy, then thinking the impossibility of happiness is not itself an unhappy thought. This is the assertion around which this seminar turns. We will focus on four artistic approaches to the problem all of which in differing ways grapple both with the impossibility of happiness and a joy that is not at all happy: the Marquis de Sade, Samuel Beckett, Clarice Lispector, and Alfred Hitchcock. In addition to works by these authors, we will also consider interpretations of their respective artistic approaches by George Bataille, Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze, Hélène Cixious, and Lee Edelman.  

Reading List:

Marquis de Sade, Philosophy in the Boudoir and Selections from 120 Days of Sodom; The School of Libertinage and Juliette

Samuel Beckett, How it Is and Worstward Ho

Clarice Lispector, Hour of the Star, “The Egg and the Chicken,” and “The Disasters of Sofia”

Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds

George Bataille, “The Use Value of D.A.F. de Sade”

Jacques Lacan, “Kant with Sade” and Selections from Seminar VII, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis

Gilles Deleuze, “Exhausted”

Hélène Cixious, Reading Clarice Lispector

Lee Edelman, No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive

Meetings

08.03.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

15.03.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

22.03.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

29.03.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

05.04.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

26.04.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

03.05.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

10.05.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

17.05.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

24.05.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

31.05.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

14.06.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | SEMINARRAUM 24

21.06.2022 - 12:45 bis 14:15 | Seminarraum 23

 

Examination Modalities

Anwesenheit, Mitarbeit, ev. kurzer Text!

Course Enrolment

Via online registration

co-registration: possible

Art Education: subject kkp (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: aus Kunsttheorie

Art Education: subject kkp (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject kkp (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject kkp (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Seminar aus dem Bereich Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften

Art Education: subject kkp (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject tex (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject tex (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject tex (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Seminar aus dem Bereich Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften

Art Education: subject tex (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dae (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dae (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject dae (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Seminar aus dem Bereich Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften

Art Education: subject dae (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dex (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dex (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject dex (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Seminar aus dem Bereich Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften

Art Education: subject dex (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

TransArts - Transdisciplinary Arts (Bachelor): Theoretical foundations: Theoretical foundations

Expanded Museum Studies (Master): Electives: Art Theory

Media Arts: Specialisation in Transmedia Arts (2. Section): Wissenschaft, Theorie und Geschichte : Kunsttheorie

Media Arts: Specialisation in Digital Arts (2. Section): Wissenschaft, Theorie, Geschichte: Kunsttheorie

Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (Master): Electives Area 1: Art Theory

Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (Master): Electives Area 2: Art Theory

Design: Specialisation in Graphic Design (2. Section): Theoretical Basics: Humanities

Conservation and Restoration (2. Section): Geisteswissenschaften: Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte

Fine Arts (2. Section): Scientific and Research Practice: Art Theory, Cultural Studies, Art History, Philosophy

Fine Arts (2. Section): Scientific and Research Practice: Free Electives out of Scientific and Research Practice

Design: Specialisation in Applied Photography and Time-based Media (2. Section): Methodological and Theoretical Basics: Humanities

Individual courses: possible