*16th-19th May* Hannah Arendt’s Crisis in Culture 50th Anniversary: Reflections, Implications, Speculations

Posted on May 2, 2012

Hannah Arendt’s Crisis in Culture 50th Anniversary:

Reflections, Implications, Speculations

Presented by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and co-hosted by Goleb

16th, 17th, 18th, 19th May 2012

VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105

Goleb, Burg. De Vlugtlaan 125, Amsterdam

Facebook Invitation

More of a working session than a conference, this gathering will break open new lines of thought in the relatively under-researched terrain connecting Hannah Arendt’s work and contemporary cultural practice.

“The Crisis in Culture: Its Social and Its Political Significance” published in 1961, was Arendt’s contribution to the debates of her time concerning avant-garde and kitsch, high and low culture. The 2011 fiftieth anniversary served as an occasion to take up this text and elaborate upon it through a series of reading-sessions and talks held last year in London, Berlin and Amsterdam. This commemorative jubileum culminates in May with a gathering of participants and speakers from the previous sessions, presented by VU University Amsterdam and co-hosted with the artist’s initiative Goleb.

The central structure will be three reading sessions in which Arendt’s “Crisis in Culture” essay will be read aloud and opened up for discussion, with each morning introduced by key authorities in the field. Accompanying the reading sessions will be two roundtable discussions – first focusing on clarifying Arendt’s work on culture and the second bringing those insights to bear upon our own present day debates.  Additionally, VU  Research Masters students will present some of their ongoing work around the subject and the event will be launched with a reception and introductory presentation on Arendt by Jeremiah Day.

All events are open to the public, with no advance preparation required for participating in the reading sessions.

Wednesday May 16th: (Hosted by VU University Amsterdam) 

  • 17:30 – Tour #1 – The Former Van Heutsz Monument – Svea Juergenson – to avoid the common disconnection between symposium and their situ, and to share in the ongoing projects by VU Research Master’s students, two short walking tours will be offered parallel to the program.  The first is a case study of art’s capacity to both reflect and obscure history.  Meeting point: VU main entrance.
  • 19:00 – Launch Reception and Introductory Presentation – VU Kerksaal – 16th floor.  Held in the University Chapel, with a panoramic view of the whole city, this informal reception will be hosted by Jeremiah Day, including a presentation of Ines Schaber’s “Revolution, Violence and Power: A Correspondence – Hannah Arendt and Hans Jurgen Benedict.”

Thursday May 17: (Hosted by Goleb)

  • 11:00 AM – Reading Session 1, introduced by Jeremiah Day: “Pop Culture, Kitsch Criticism”
  • 16:00 – Forum on Arendt and Culture – with Fred Dewey, Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb, Wolfgang Heuer, and Gertrud Sandqvuist – Arendt is known as the thinker of revolution – how are we to understand her work on culture and its relation to her broader project?

Friday May 18: (Hosted by Goleb)

  • 11:00 AM – Reading Session 2, with an introductory dialogue between Fred Dewey and Wolfgang Heuer: “The Importance of Culture for Hannah Arendt”
  • 15:00 – Tour #2 Amsterdam New-West – Roel Griffioen (VU) and Taf Hassam (co-founder of Goleb) take up the landscape surrounding Goleb as an artefact of utopian urban planning and contemporary cultural struggle.

Saturday May 19: (Hosted by Goleb)

  • 12:00 PM – Reading Session 3, introduced by Susannah Gottlieb and Getrud Sandqvist
  • 16:00 – Forum II – the title of Arendt’s text – ‘crisis in culture’ – might apply well to our own time: what implications, speculations and points of departure can be made from Arendt’s work to our contemporary debates and practical problems?  This final session serves not to conclude, but rather to open up new questions and lines of thought.  Responses by Jeremiah Day, Fred Dewey, Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb, Wolfgang Heuer, Elena Loizidou, Gertrud Sandqvuist, and Michael Schultze.
  • 20:00 – Performance – Maquis by Jeremiah – Given the ongoing conflicts about the nature of the European project, and particular Geert Wilders’ assertion that the upcoming Dutch elections should be “about one thing: Europe,” this presentation serves not only to conclude the Arendt Crisis in Culture event, but to bring the theoretical discussions into contact with practical ones. https://projectgoleb.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/19th-may-maquis-by-jeremiah-day

Post-script event: Monday May 21: (Hosted by the Cultural Embassy at the Lloyd Hotel)

  • 20:00 – Benefit to Save the Arts – a project by Angela Bartholomew along with launch party for VU Research Masters publications.

Featured contributors:

* Fred Dewey – Writer, publisher, and teacher, developed the Arendt reading group method in Los Angeles, where he also helped place neighborhood councils on the city charter. He directed Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Centre (in LA) 1995-2010 and has written A Polis for New Conditions, a pamphlet.

*Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb – Professor of English, Northwestern University, Chicago. She is the author of Regions of Sorrow: Anxiety and Messianism in Hannah Arendt and W.H. Auden and the editor of Hannah Arendt: Reflections on Literature and Culture.

*Taf Hassam – Artist, organizer, founding member of Goleb, Amsterdam. Recent projects include f.i.r.e.i.n.c.a.i.r.o. and the lecture series (Self) Conscious Over You both appeared as part of We Are The Time: Art Live in the Age of Global Transition, conference-week, Gerrit Rietveld Academie.

*Wolfgang Heuer – Teaches political philosophy at Free University, Berlin, Founder of HannahArendt.net – A Journal of Political Thinking, and co-curator of the Hannah Arendt Denkraum, Berlin 2006.

*Elena Loizidou – Senior Lecturer at the School of Law, Birkbeck College. She is the author of Judith Butler: Ethics, Law, Politics. She is currently working on a book Anarchism an art of living, an edited collection Disobedience:concept/theory and is a regular contributor to the blog Critical Legal Thinking.

*Gertrud Sandqvuist – Curator, critic; Professor of Art Theory and Dean, Malmo Art Academy, Lund University.

*Michael Schultze – Artist, curator and founding member of General Public, Berlin. Hosted General Public’s 2011 “Crisis in Culture” reading and lecture series. Schulze’s interdisciplinary art practice has been presented in such venues as the 4th Berlin Biennial and Centre d’art Brest. He is presently at work on a novel.

*With contributions from VU Research Master’s:

Angela Bartholomew, Svea Juergenson, Roel Griffioen, Vincent Van Velsen

Organized by Jeremiah Day

Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Arts in collaboration with VU University Amsterdam and MaHKU, a pilot project supported by Mondriaan Fonds/NWO.


VU University Amsterdam is located at De Boelelaan 1105 in Amsterdam-South.  Public transport – tram 5, 16, 24 and metro-line 51 – and a short walk from the Amsterdam-South (Zuid) train station.

Goleb is located at Burg. De Vlugtlaan 125, in Amsterdam New-West.  Public transport – tram 7 or 14, stop “Burg. De Eliasstraat.”

*Special thanks to the VU Faculteit der Letteren for their generous support and making this event possible. 

*For questions or reservations please contact: golebreadinggroup@hotmail.com or visit https://projectgoleb.wordpress.com

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