International Reading Series: Vinciane DespretSaturday, November 5, 2016 @ 8 p.m.
Join us for a reading with Vinciane Despret as part of our International Reading Series.
Vinciane Despret studied philosophy and, later, psychology, coming back to philosophy with her PhD in 1996. Her first field work was in the Negev desert, in Israel, where she explored the possibility of doing an ethology of the ethologists —similar to the anthropology of the laboratories Bruno Latour had proposed, with the difference that, in this case, the matter was to follow the ethologists while they were themselves following the birds they were observing. She then wrote her PhD about the scientific practices that study emotions in humans and in animals.
Currently Maître de conferences at the Department of Philosophy of the University of Liège, and at the Faculty of Anthropology and Social Sciences and Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of Education at the Free University of Brussels, she still works with animals, and with the humans who observe them, live with them or simply know them.
She has participated to the exhibition “Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy” Peter Weibel & Bruno Latour, held at the ZKM of Karlsruhe in 2005. She has been scientific curator of the exhibition “Bêtes et Hommes” held at the Grande halle de la Villette, in Paris, September 2007-January 2008. She has also been the co-organizer of the workshop “Ce que nous savons des animaux” (Co-director: Raphal Larrère), a workshop held in the Chateau de Cerisy (Normandy) in 2010.
Vinciane will be discussing her work investigating animals as artists.
These last few years, under the influence of the diffusion of works found on the internet, a number of animals have revived an old debate: can we grant them the status of artist? The idea that animals can create or participate in works of art is not new. It is nevertheless the case that, for a very long time, quite a few animals have collaborated, for the better and often for the worse, in the most diverse of spectacles, which have led some trainers to recognize them as artists in their own right. If we remain with pictorial works of art alone, the candidates today are quite numerous, though bitterly controversial. We must recognize, and without judging the result, that the question can be asked whether there is real intention in the production of a work of art. But is this the right question?