The Department of English is pleased to announce an upcoming talk by Christoph Brunner, currently a visiting professor in the Department of English and recipient of the John G. Diefenbaker Award (https://canadacouncil.ca/spotlight/2019/06/molson-and-diefenbaker). Christoph’s talk is entitled “Activist Sense – Towards an Aesthetic Politics of Experience.”
Location: Wendy Patrick Room (118 Wilson Hall)
Date/Time: Tuesday, 21 January, 4pm
Christoph Brunner is currently a visiting professor at the English Department at McGill University and recipient of the John G. Diefenbaker Award. He also works as assistant professor for cultural theory at Leuphana University Luneburg. In his work he focuses on the aesthetic dimension of activist media practices and their sensuous politics. During his stay at McGill he will be working on his book project entitled Activist Sense: Towards an Aesthetic Politics of Experience. In Luneburg he is directing the ArchipelagoLab for Transversal Practices, is member of the SenseLab and the euopean institute for progressive cultural policies (eipcp). His works have appeared in Third Text, Inflexions, transversal, Journal for Aesthetics & Culture, Conjunctions and fibreculture amongst others.
Activist Sense – Towards an Aesthetic Politics of Experience
In this talk I will outline first developments of the concept “activist sense.” With this term, I propose to approximate the notions of action, activation and activism with the concept of sense in its threefold meaning: as sensuous, as sense-making, and in the French sense as direction. How does the activation of the sensuous lead to the fabrication of meaning and what are its movements? How are supposedly subjective instances of experience part of an expanded sensuous field through which resonances form collective perceptual relays? And how can such affective politics become an aesthetic politics that resists both preemptive modulation or redundant capture? In looking at specific media-activist practices and their contemporary forms of political enunciation, I will in particular focus on their aesthetic dimensions. The modes of mobilizing bodily, perceptual and affective fields of experience through aesthetic politics are at the heart of contemporary struggles on both ends, the New Right and an increasingly diverse and translocal left-wing global movement. Highlighting two examples, the alternative media center FC/MC during the G20 summit in Hamburg 2017 and the Identitarian Movement in Europe, I will propose first steps towards an aesthetic politics of experience. Activist sense, I suggest, becomes a key operation of such aesthetic politics, foregrounding how fields of experience define a crucial domain contemporary struggles and how to develop modes of resistance against populist and rightwing resentments.