Elisabeth von Samsonow
Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) is pleased to present the public lecture „The scandal of the autoplastic mind.“ by Elisabeth Von Samsonow, a brief history of feminism and magic,
Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) is pleased to present the public lecture „The scandal of the autoplastic mind.“ by Elisabeth Von Samsonow, a brief history of feminism and magic, the autonomizing potential of magic as an anti-neuropower practice and the problem of internalization of inquisition in modern thought.
Samsonow’s paper unrolls the story of magic as an important philosophical incident of renaissance and early modern thought. Close (re)reading renaissance texts makes evident that the discussions about magic were highly differentiating the relevance it had for an autonomous operativity of mind sets, much more than being the supposed proof of superstition; magic thus became an important part of philosophy in a specific segment which might be called something like an early brain theory or a meta-metaphysics of shaping consciousness. For instance, the writings of Giordano Bruno, Raimundus Lullus and later of Paracelsus can be taken as meta-theoretical inquiries on belief and „(auto)binding“ the mind. Highlighting this aspect the large early modern debate makes clear why the (magic) strategy of individual and collective autonomization was brutally destroyed by inquisitory means, not to forget the practice of burning witches and sorcerers under the slightest suspicion of practicing magic. Brunos calls the practice of magic the activity of „sealing of the mind“, meaning a way of employing deliberately and intentionally the mind in complex symbolic „sets“. It is, according to him, though nothing else than magic that philosophy turns out to be a master discipline. After the following brutal inquisitory story to which Bruno himself fell prey it took quite some time to come back to it, other than in underground circles. Mary Daly thus recalls first of all in her book „Gynecology“ the story of inquisition and the holocaust of women trying to put together a puzzle of intellectual relics that may have once formed a consistent architecture of thought. Samsonow proposes early texts by Starhawk, Carol P. Christ and Zsusanna Budapest and try to follow the lines of magic feminist resistance and the authors attached to this program. Samsonow hypothesizes that this formation of thought going on in feminist second wave discussions may offer a concise program of subversion and autonomization to late neurocapitalist technological takeover of the brain. Her idea is to envision how a sad story of thousands of sacrificed witches can be turned into a contemporary subversive anti neuropower asset.
Elisabeth von Samsonow is an artist, professor at the Akademie der bildenen Künste Wien, guest professor at Bauhaus University Weimar (2012), and member of GEDOK Munich. In addition to presenting international exhibitions and curatorial work, she teaches and researches on philosophy and history in relation to a theory of a collective consciousness – on the relation of art, psychology and politics in history and present times, on the theory and history of the image/concept of woman and the female identification (Mädchentheorie), and on the sacral androgyny and the modern loss-of-the-self (“Ich-Zerfall”). In her artistic practice she uses sculpture, performance, painting and video. She focuses on subjects like the systematic and symbolic location of female sculpture in the canon of art and in the ecological esthetic, or the geo-logic, of the body. Publications include: Epidemic Subjects. Radical Ontologies, Zürich-Berlin-Chicago 2017; Egon Schiele=Wiener Enzyklopädie, mit Ursula Storch, Wien 2016; Egon Schiele Sanctus Franciscus Hystericus, Wien 2012; Egon Schiele: Ich bin die Vielen, Wien 2010; Anti Elektra. Totemismus und Schizogamie, Zürich-Berlin 2007 (frz. L‘Anti Electre. Totémisme et Schizogamie, traduit par Béatrice Durand, Genève 2015, Anti Electra. Totemism and Schizogamy, transl. by Stephen Zepke and Anita Fricek, MU Press Minneapolis 2018). Selected recent exhibitions include: SEX (Taxispalais Innsbruck), Schiele reloaded (Leopold Museum Wien 2018), History of Psyche (Galerie nächst St.Stephan Wien 2018), The Parents‘ Bedroom Show (mit Juergen Teller), MaximiliansForum München, Austrian Performance Season (Solyanka State Gallery Moskau 2017), Transplants (Dominikanerkirche Krems 2016, curated by Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein), The Nervous System of the Earth (Galerie Jünger Wien 2014), Hippo Hypno Schizo Hoch Zeit (Freud Museum 2011), ELEKTRA (Belvedere Wien im Rahmen von GOLD, curated von Thomas Zaunschirm), SAMSONOW TRANSPLANT PARASONIC ORCHESTRA (brut Theater at Künstlerhaus 2012, curated by Thomas Frank), THE SECRETS OF MARY MAGDALENE (The Jerusalem Show 1.0, curated by Jack Persekian, 2008).
Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) is a nomadic, intensive summer academy with shifting programs in contemporary critical theory. SFSIA stresses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between art and politics. The program consists of seminar-style lectures, deep readings, and workshops. An evening lecture program is free and open to the public. SFISA was founded and is directed by Warren Neidich and is co-directed by Barry Schwabsky. Sarrita Hunn is the artistic coordinator.
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