‘Sound Pictures’ pre-watch launches today

The British Society of Aesthetics is delighted to sponsor Sound Pictures, a zoom conference featuring original pre-watch/listen/read keynotes, musical performances, philosopher, film composer and artist interviews.

लाल लीला (Lāl Līla) by Nicola Durvasula – Graphic Notation no.1

Register here

The Theme

Imagine a sculpture made to be heard, or a picture that can be played on a banjo. Although many artworks are multi-sensory in the sense that they invite appreciation by sight, sound, movement and even touch (e.g film and immersive theatre) it might seem odd to say a simple drawing is genuinely multisensory. We don’t expect a drawing to look like the taste of strawberries, just as we don’t expect warm vanilla to taste like triangles.   

This expectation carries over to appreciation. It is natural to think that when your friend remarks on a painting  they will say something about how it looks, rather than how it sounds. But, given that multi-sensory appreciation is held to be ‘the rule and not the exception in perception’ (Shimojo and Shams, 2001) do we ever appreciate a work with a single sensory mode? Does adequate appreciation of (apparently) single sensory artworks (for example, a painting) require input from the other senses? 

Confirmed Speakers

Mitchell Green (UCONN)

Derek Matravers (OU)

Jenny Judge (NYU)

Natalie Bowling (Goldsmiths)

Jason Leddington (Bucknell)

Colette Olive (King’s College London)

Register here

About cross-sensory artforms and graphic notations

Several art-forms speak to the question of multisensory confusion, integration and enhancement. For instance, the concept of music is fundamental to Kandinsky’s work. He believed one should ‘see’ his paintings aurally. Likewise, Goethe declared that architecture was “frozen music”. An example pertinent to philosophical reflection is that of graphic notation, where a piece of music is ‘directly depicted’ rather than written down in conventional musical notation. Visual works of art to be appreciated musically were brought to public attention by Earle Brown and John Cage. The experimental movement reached a peak with Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise (1963-1967).

Important Dates

Registration for Conference now open here

Pre-watch materials online 10 June 2021 (register for access)  

Live keynote + Q&A 10th July 2021                                                             

Artist Contributors

Film Composer Anne Chmelewsky (BAFTA nominee, LA newcomer Winner,)

Graphic Notation artist Nicola Durvasula (Tate ModernRoyal Drawing School),

Violinist and Composer Anna Phoebe (Royal Albert HallRoyal Festival HallGlastonburyFuji Rock Festival and Montreux Jazz FestivalRock Legends FestivalNotte della Taranta Festival )

Pianist and Composer Jenny Judge (Pet Beast)

Pianist and Composer Jørgen Dyrstad (King’s College London)

Organising Committee

Vanessa Brassey

Giulia Corti

Contact

For any and all enquiries, please contact the organisers through philosophyandvisualarts@gmail.com

Tomorrow’s Workshop : Solidarity in EU refugee and asylum policy

7 -8 June 2021

About the workshop

Almost everyone thinks that the current EU system of rules governing asylum seekers and refugees is problematic. The system has failed to harness the bloc’s collective resources to address, in a just manner, the challenge posed by the sudden influx of migrants in 2015 and the continued arrivals since. And it is no doubt ill-prepared for the future of regular and irregular flows to Europe. But what would be a better system and why? In September 2020, the European Commission released its ‘New Pact on Migration and Asylum’. The pact includes a reform package to Dublin regulations; significantly, it purports to strike the right balance between responsibility and solidarity. But many commentators are skeptical that the new pact brings anything new to the table, and, in many areas, may be a step back.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together top legal and policy-oriented scholars with political philosophers working in related areas to discuss what a just system of rules for EU asylum seekers and refugees would look like. In particular, participants are encouraged to reflect on the question of what a fair distribution of responsibilities for the protection of asylum seekers and refugees requires in Europe. The aim of the workshop is to be bold in its proposals and principles, in the realization that ‘to achieve the possible we must sometimes reach out for the impossible’ (Weber). The workshop is funded by an ERC Grant, no. 771635, ‘Solidarity in the European Union’ (EUSOL) and is in collaboration with RefMig

For more information and registration (required):  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/solidarity-in-eu-refugee-and-asylum-policy-tickets-153981971221

Catch John Callanan on the BBC

Yesterday, Dr. John Callanan joined Melvyn Bragg Broadcaster and host of In our Time, Fiona Hughes Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Essex, and Anil Gomes Associate Professor and Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Trinity College, Oxford to discuss the insight into our relationship with the world that Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) shared in his book The Critique of Pure Reason in 1781. It was as revolutionary, in his view, as when the Polish astronomer Copernicus realised that Earth revolves around the Sun rather than the Sun around Earth. Kant’s was an insight into how we understand the world around us, arguing that we can never know the world as it is, but only through the structures of our minds which shape that understanding. This idea, that the world depends on us even though we do not create it, has been one of Kant’s greatest contributions to philosophy and influences debates to this day.

In case you missed it you can catch the episode here:

The ‘Sound Pictures’ Conference – registration for Pre-Watch/Listen/Read – now open

The British Society of Aesthetics is delighted to sponsor Sound Pictures, a zoom conference featuring original pre-watch/listen/read keynotes, musical performances, philosopher, film composer and artist interviews.

लाल लीला (Lāl Līla) by Nicola Durvasula – Graphic Notation no.1

Register here

The Theme

Imagine a sculpture made to be heard, or a picture that can be played on a banjo. Although many artworks are multi-sensory in the sense that they invite appreciation by sight, sound, movement and even touch (e.g film and immersive theatre) it might seem odd to say a simple drawing is genuinely multisensory. We don’t expect a drawing to look like the taste of strawberries, just as we don’t expect warm vanilla to taste like triangles.   

This expectation carries over to appreciation. It is natural to think that when your friend remarks on a painting  they will say something about how it looks, rather than how it sounds. But, given that multi-sensory appreciation is held to be ‘the rule and not the exception in perception’ (Shimojo and Shams, 2001) do we ever appreciate a work with a single sensory mode? Does adequate appreciation of (apparently) single sensory artworks (for example, a painting) require input from the other senses? 

Confirmed Speakers

Mitchell Green (UCONN)

Derek Matravers (OU)

Jenny Judge (NYU)

Natalie Bowling (Goldsmiths)

Jason Leddington (Bucknell)

Colette Olive (King’s College London)

Register here

About cross-sensory artforms and graphic notations

Several art-forms speak to the question of multisensory confusion, integration and enhancement. For instance, the concept of music is fundamental to Kandinsky’s work. He believed one should ‘see’ his paintings aurally. Likewise, Goethe declared that architecture was “frozen music”. An example pertinent to philosophical reflection is that of graphic notation, where a piece of music is ‘directly depicted’ rather than written down in conventional musical notation. Visual works of art to be appreciated musically were brought to public attention by Earle Brown and John Cage. The experimental movement reached a peak with Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise (1963-1967).

Important Dates

Registration for Conference now open here

Pre-watch materials online 10 June 2021 (register for access)  

Live keynote + Q&A 10th July 2021                                                             

Artist Contributors

Film Composer Anne Chmelewsky (BAFTA nominee, LA newcomer Winner,)

Graphic Notation artist Nicola Durvasula (Tate Modern, Royal Drawing School),

Violinist and Composer Anna Phoebe (Royal Albert HallRoyal Festival HallGlastonburyFuji Rock Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival, Rock Legends Festival, Notte della Taranta Festival )

Pianist and Composer Jenny Judge (Pet Beast)

Pianist and Composer Jørgen Dyrstad (King’s College London)

Organising Committee

Vanessa Brassey

Giulia Corti

Contact

For any and all enquiries, please contact the organisers through philosophyandvisualarts@gmail.com

Registrations open: The YTL Centre Annual Lecture in Politics, Philosophy and Law, “The Dignity of Old Age” by Jeremy Waldron (NYU).

You can now register for the Annual Lecture of the YTL Centre here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-ytl-centre-annual-lecture-the-dignity-of-old-age-tickets-156900279961

This year the lecture will be given by Jeremy Waldron (NYU), with replies from Stephen Darwall(Yale), Frances Kamm (Rutgers), Rae Langton and Richard Holton (Cambridge).

The lecture will take place on Teams on 8 July 2021, 16:00 – 18:00 BST.

Please join us by registering on Eventbrite.

Review: Cécile Fabre, “‘Snatching Something from Death’: Value, Justice, and Humankind’s Common Heritage” (KCL Annual Peace Lecture 2021)

Dan Elbro (Phd Candidate)

Cécile Fabre claims, firstly, that some ‘heritage goods’ – things valued partly because they are part of the past, and which we are disposed to preserve – are part of humankind’s common heritage (HCH); and, secondly, that we have duties of justice to preserve and ensure access to those goods. Fabre’s talk was incredibly rich, touching on issues ranging from the nature of value; the good life; why we all feel (or ought to feel) the loss of structures such as Notre-Dame cathedral or the Buddhas of Bamiyan; and controversies surrounding cultural appropriation and the ownership and repatriation of artifacts procured through, for example, looting, conquest or colonialism, such as the Elgin marbles. I cannot cover all of these points in this short review, so I’ll make a couple of points about her claim that we have duties of justice to preserve and ensure access to HCH.

This claim is based on the idea that if a heritage good is part of HCH, it has universal value: we all have reasons to value it. If there are such goods, then it is plausible, as Fabre claims, that access to them is part of a flourishing human life. And since it is also plausible that justice demands we each have equal opportunities to attain a flourishing life, Fabre’s claims that we have (a) a negative duty not to impede access to HCH, and (b) a positive duty to provide others with the means to access it, seem well founded.

These claims have potentially revisionary implications for ethical, political and legal theory. For example, if it is a duty of justice to ensure access to HCH, then governments may have duties to allow immigration, so that immigrants can access parts of HCH which can be found in a particular country. For that reason, it’s important that we know exactly which goods we have duties of justice to preserve and provide means of access to.

To this end, Fabre argues that we have duties of justice regarding the goods themselves, rather than replicas or digital copies of the goods. She argues that justice demands we promote understanding of HCH, most pressingly those parts concerning crimes against humanity like the slave trade, rather than mere knowledge of it; and that access to the originals is required for understanding. But don’t we also have some kind of duty to make, preserve and increase access to replicas? And if so, is that also a duty of justice?

It seems that we have, at least, some kind of duty regarding replicas of HCH. Although having access to a replica certainly seems not to have the same value as having access to the original, it seems that access to replicas can nevertheless improve, firstly, our access to and, secondly, our understanding of the real thing. But, since these duties seem to have the same grounds as our duties of justice regarding access to originals, it might seem that our duties regarding access to replicas are duties of justice.

Firstly, we can use replicas to improve access to HCH by increasing our knowledge of them. I am thinking particularly of the use of replicas in schools to teach children about artworks or practices that are part of our common heritage. For example, a photograph of Picasso’s Guernica, even seen on a badly lit PowerPoint presentation in a noisy art class, might grant a child knowledge about a piece of our common heritage; or a recording of a Gamelan performance in a music class might increase a student’s knowledge of what music can be.

It seems to me that increasing our knowledge of these goods in these ways can be a means of improving access to the original. If someone doesn’t know that these goods exist, then they cannot know where to go to seek out the originals, or even that they ought to. And if, as seems likely, access to knowledge about goods belonging to HCH is not equally distributed among, say, levels of income, then access to the originals is therefore not equally distributed either. So, ensuring that children have access to replicas of HCH in schools seems a way to equalise opportunities for accessing the originals. But if making and improving access to replicas of HCH can improve access to the original, it seems that our duties of justice include duties to make and improve access to replicas, not only originals.

Secondly, it seems that using replicas in the classroom can also be a means of increasing understanding. Returning to the two examples just given, a teacher might be able to use a replica of a particular heritage good to improve a student’s understanding of it. They might be able to point things to listen out for, such as unfamiliar instruments, in a Gamelan performance. Or they might be able to point out things to look out for in Guernica, or provide important the important historical context of the Spanish Civil War crucial to properly understanding and fully appreciating the work. If the student had not known what to look out for beforehand, they might feel bewilderment, rather than admiration or awe, in the presence of the original. So it seems that sometimes, access to replicas of HCH is necessary in order to gain understanding when in the presence of the originals.

But if our duties to provide replicas of HCH are duties of justice, this poses a problem for Fabre’s account. The problem is that it is easier to provide access to replicas than originals, but we also have a sense that they are ‘second-best’ to the originals. If justice demands that we provide access to replicas, and this is easier than providing access to the originals, then it seems we would be permitted to take the easier option and ensure wide access to replicas while doing nothing to improve access to the originals. If that is right, then it might be that governments don’t have the duties to allow immigration I mentioned earlier. But since it seems that replicas are ‘second-best’, it therefore seems that we would somehow be failing to fulfil our duties by ensuring access only to replicas.

One solution might be to point out that the condition for our having duties to provide replicas of HCH is that they improve access to and understanding of the originals. So, perhaps we cannot have duties to improve access to replicas unless we also have more fundamental duties of justice to improve access to, and not to destroy, the originals.

This response is complicated, however, by historical intangible goods like performances and cultural practices. One of Fabre’s examples of HCH is a 1904 recording of Alessandro Moreschi, the last castrato and the only one to make a solo recording. Although we can never be in the presence of original historical performances such as this, we are lucky to have the recording—arguably, itself a replica—as it provides us a kind of access to the performance itself. If the performance itself was the original and the recording is a replica, then we cannot provide access to the original but we can provide access to the replica relatively easily. It seems that in this case, we have a particularly strong duty to ensure access to the replica because we cannot have a duty to ensure access to the original. I look forward to future work from Fabre on this fascinating topic, particularly as it applies to intangible heritage goods.

Today at 5pm The Annual Peace Lecture

Join us for the Annual Peace Lecture – online link to follow.

Tuesday 11 May 2021, 17:00-19:00

Cécile Fabre:

Snatching Something From Death: 

Value, Justice, and Humankind’s Common Heritage

When Notre-Dame Cathedral was engulfed by fire on April 15, 2019, the world (it seemed) watched in horror. On Twitter, Facebook, in newspapers and on TV cables ranging as far afield from Paris as South Africa, China and Chile, people expressed their sorrow at the partial destruction of the church, and retrospective anguish at the thought of what might very well have happened – the complete loss of a jewel of Gothic architecture whose value somehow transcends time and space. My aim in this lecture is to offer a philosophical account and defence of the view that there is such a thing as humankind’s common heritage, and that this heritage makes stringent moral demands on us. I first offer an account of the universal value of (some) heritage goods, and then offer a conception of justice at the bar of which we owe it to one another, but also to our ancestors and successors, to preserve that heritage.

Professor Cécile Fabre is a Fellow of the British Academy, Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, and Professor of Political Philosophy at Oxford University.

The lecture will be chaired by Professor MM McCabe, FBA, Chair of the British Academy Philosophy Section and Professor of Ancient Philosophy Emerita, King’s College London.

The Peace Lectures are due to Alan Lacey, a life-long pacifist who taught philosophy at King’s College London for some fifteen years, and who left a generous bequest to fund a lecture series promoting peace.

Final Call for the Annual Peace Lecture

Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Join us for the Annual Peace Lecture – ZOOM LINK BELOW.

Tuesday 11 May 2021, 17:00-19:00

Cécile Fabre:

Snatching Something From Death: 

Value, Justice, and Humankind’s Common Heritage

When Notre-Dame Cathedral was engulfed by fire on April 15, 2019, the world (it seemed) watched in horror. On Twitter, Facebook, in newspapers and on TV cables ranging as far afield from Paris as South Africa, China and Chile, people expressed their sorrow at the partial destruction of the church, and retrospective anguish at the thought of what might very well have happened – the complete loss of a jewel of Gothic architecture whose value somehow transcends time and space. My aim in this lecture is to offer a philosophical account and defence of the view that there is such a thing as humankind’s common heritage, and that this heritage makes stringent moral demands on us. I first offer an account of the universal value of (some) heritage goods, and then offer a conception of justice at the bar of which we owe it to one another, but also to our ancestors and successors, to preserve that heritage.

Professor Cécile Fabre is a Fellow of the British Academy, Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, and Professor of Political Philosophy at Oxford University.

The lecture will be chaired by Professor MM McCabe, Fellow of the British Academy and Professor of Ancient Philosophy Emerita, King’s College London.

The Peace Lectures are due to Alan Lacey, a life-long pacifist who taught philosophy at King’s College London for some fifteen years, and who left a generous bequest to fund a lecture series promoting peace.

All very welcome!

Register here:

ZOOM LINK:

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/95772690136?pwd=eHQxdmRZd0pmeTZVeWJVaVdOcjAvQT09

Meeting ID: 957 7269 0136

Passcode: 840650