'Surrealism and Theory' workshop

Event date: 
Friday 1 November
Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, 2 Hope Park Square

Surrealism and Theory Workshop

To attend this free workshop, please contact Kristoffer Noheden, the organiser. <email>

This workshop brings together specialists on surrealism from such fields as art history, comparative literature, and film studies for an open-ended inquiry into the relationship between surrealism and theory. Surrealism is best known as an art movement, yet it has also engaged with and contributed to many facets of intellectual culture. The movement was instrumental in popularizing psychoanalysis and employing its findings in the creation of art and poetry.  Participants have also turned to, and sometimes contributed to, a range of different disciplines and traditions, including but not limited to psychology, philosophy, ethnography, art history, biology, physics, occultism, and mythology. If surrealism’s integral approach to knowledge anticipates interdisciplinarity in academic research, underlying its multivalent epistemophilia is what its founder André Breton in 1942 described as ‘a thirst for universal knowledge’. Such pursuits challenge current scholarly approaches and so call for a more discerning analysis of surrealism as a culture of knowledge often drawing on, but ultimately pursuing a different path than, academic scholarship. How can surrealist texts be read as theory? What does it entail applying theory to surrealist works? What is the relation between theory and practice in surrealism? These are some of the questions that underpin this workshop.

10.00: Introduction by Kristoffer Noheden (IASH & Stockholm University)

10.15: Session 1

Patricia Allmer (University of Edinburgh), ‘Surrealist Visions: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore’

Naomi Stewart (University of Edinburgh), ‘Surrealist Photography, in Theory’

11.30: Break

11.45: Session 2

Krzysztof Fijalkowski (Norwich University of the Arts), ‘Subject, Object, Project: Surrealist Research as Material Theory’

David Sorfa (University of Edinburgh), ‘The Phenomenology of Insects’

13.00: Lunch

14.15: Session 3

Kristoffer Noheden (IASH & Stockholm University), ‘“A Man or a Stone or a Tree”: Surrealism and Non-Anthropocentric Thought’

Donna Roberts (University of Helsinki), ‘Surrealism, Mind, and Nature: A Twenty-first Century Perspective’

15.30: Break

15.45: Roundtable discussion led by David Hopkins (University of Glasgow)

17.00: Wine reception sponsored by the Dada and Surrealism Research Group