Arthemis presents “Perfectionism’s Ironic Transport (Reading Now Voyager After Cavell)” a lecture by D.N. Rodowick. Feb. 28 16h00 MB 3,270
“Rereading Cavell’s later works on moral perfectionism, I examine a number of themes that I consider central to what I call a philosophy of the humanities, in which art and film play important roles. Some of these include: the primacy of ethics as the evaluation of a mode of existence that requires contesting and evaluating a community or a form of life; the demand for an education, apart or alone, in situations that require tests of your own moral standing no less than those who would befriend you; and film’s expression of the power of metamorphosis and the capacity for change, which often takes the form of a certain reflexivity and the projection of a divided self. Perfectionism’s principal question is: How is change possible, or better, how is human change possible? Here the question of becoming on film, how the concept of becoming is projected in film–its automatisms, its elements or forms, its genres–must now be connected, philosophically, to the perfectionist problem of self-reliance defined as self-disobedience and aversion to conformity, or of overcoming one’s fixed or stagnated self as a recovery of human existence.”
D.N. Rodowick is the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous essays as well as six books: Elegy for Theory (HarvardUniversity Press, 2013); The Virtual Life of Film (Harvard University Press, 2007); Reading the Figural, or, Philosophy after the New Media (Duke University Press, 2001); Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine (Duke University Press, 1997);The Difficulty of Difference: Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference, and Film Theory (Routledge, 1991); and The Crisis of Political Modernism: Criticism and Ideology in Contemporary Film Theory (University of Illinois Press, 1989; 2nd edition, University of California Press, 1994).