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‘What Is the Contemporary?’: seminar with Peter Pál Pelbart

21 apr 2015
Public talk
The Showroom, London.

We are pleased to announce a free public seminar with Peter Pál Pelbart at The Showroom, London, based on a reading of ‘What Is the Contemporary?’, his text from the forthcoming issue 39 of Afterall journal.

Bruno Pacheco, Meeting Point, 2014, oil on canvas, 215 × 375cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist; Hollybush Gardens, London; and Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon. Photograph: Pedro Tropa

‘For Kant, the task [of modernity] consists in abandoning the state of tutelage, of dependency, of minority. Who would oppose the defence of autonomy, the demand to think for oneself, the formal claim to freeing oneself from tutelage, from dependency, from delegating thought to others? […] And yet, is it not clear that these demands of maturity, seriousness and responsibility come with a surreptitious expectation of obedience, bondage and submission? Does not the demand for majority conceal the demand for a so-called larger, dominant, hegemonic, even normative standard? Does it not seem that majority represents an ideal of servility and submission to an allegedly natural or moral already given humanity?

Hence, wouldn’t the most radical challenge consist precisely in escaping a majority that is individually and collectively imposed upon us, as an ideal, a nature, a progress or fate – questioning these majoritarian objectives, which always risk appearing (to the eyes of adults) frivolous, irresponsible and irrational, not to mention infantile and unreasonable?’

– Peter Pál Pelbart, ‘What Is the Contemporary?’, Afterall, issue 39, Spring 2015 (forthcoming).

Please join us for discussion. The text will be made available in the weeks leading up to the seminar.

Peter Pál Pelbart is a philosopher and an essayist. Born in Hungary, he studied in France and lives now in São Paulo, where he is a professor at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica (PUC). He has translated works by Gilles Deleuze into Portuguese and authored a number of books about madness, time, subjectivity and biopolitics. His most recent publication is Cartography of Exhaustion: Nihilism Inside Out (n-1 publications, 2013). He is part of the Ueinzz Theater Company, a schizoscenic project, and also co-publisher of n-1 publications.

‘What Is the Contemporary?’: seminar with Peter Pál Pelbart

Tuesday 21 April, 14:00–16:00

The Showroom
63 Penfold Street

This event is free and open to all: a PDF of the text is available here.

This event is a collaboration with Arika and The Showroom . Peter Pál Pelbart will also be participating at ‘Episode 7: We Can’t Live Without Our Lives’ organised by Arika at Tramway, Glasgow on 15–19 April 2015.