Extracurricular  /  Seminars

Institutions and Interventions

The Problem of Social Emancipation from the Status Quo:
From Revolutions to Occupations

Thursday, 27 October, 7:00pm – 8:30 pm

Workshop for the Marcuse Society Conference Critical Refusals
Participants: Gabriel Rockhill (Villanova University, symptoms Collège International de Philosophie, Machete Group), Adam Takacs (Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary), Annika Thiem (Villanova University).

Slought Foundation
4017 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3513

This workshop, run in conjunction with the Machete Group's new series at the Slought Foundation, will focus on one of the central themes of Herbert Marcuse's work: the relationship between the institutions of the status quo and the acts of critical intervention that seek to overcome them through projects of social emancipation. More specifically, it will concentrate on the paradoxical situation of social criticism, which purports to transcend the status quo while being squarely situated within a social nexus. This problematic of immanent transcendence is further complicated by the necessity of not only breaking with the status quo but also establishing alternative institutions that aim at orienting society in a new direction. In short, the central question of this workshop will be: how can we transform society from within, and what role can philosophy play in this process?

Rather than a traditional academic panel, we would like to propose a workshop that explores the legacy of Marcuse's socio-philosophical project and its relevancy to the contemporary conjuncture. We thereby seek to call into question traditional modes of knowledge production and transmission in the name of mobilizing theoretical tools from the past for pressing practical issues in the present. To this end, each participant in the workshop will explore the conundrum of social criticism through a concise presentation of a specific social institution in order to generate a larger, collective discussion. The respective titles of the individual presentations are: “Can History Have an Emancipatory Power? Reflections on the Possibility of a “Revolutionary” Historical Science” (Takacs), “New Affects for a New Society: Beyond Repression vs. Liberation” (Thiem) and “Revolution or Recuperation? Overcoming False Polarizations in the Art World” (Rockhill). The methodological orientation of the entire workshop will be to draw on the work of Marcuse in order to discuss modes of critical intervention in the current conjuncture of status quo institutions.


Machete on Marcuse at Slought

Marcuse's The Aesthetic Dimension: A Performative Symposium on Art and Politics

Thursday, October 27th, 9pm-11pm
Slought Foundation
4017 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3513

As part of our continual effort to investigate the interactions between art, philosophy, and politics, the Machete Group hosts a presentation/conversation on Marcuse's The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (1978) as part of our series, “Prisms of the Possible.” The goal of this symposium is to stage an aesthetic and theoretical constellation through which we collectively test and explore – with all those in attendance – the performative power of theory. Each of the three short presentations by Avi Alpert, Alexi Kukuljevic and Gabriel Rockhill will function as individual prisms to refract Marcuse's work and open up possibilities for its use and interpretation – as we struggle with ideas, thoughts and images that speak to our present condition.

Please note:

As this will be a participatory and interactive symposium, attendees are encouraged to review Marcuse's The Aesthetic Dimension in order to take part in a dynamic public exchange.

Download Herbert Marcuse “The Aesthetic Dimension” (1.1MB)

For more information: http://machetegroup.wordpress.com/