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Workshop "Improvisation & Design"

axe 3
16/03/2018 (Europe/Vienna / UTC100)
Centre universitaire de Norvège à Paris
Nom du contact
Karin Kukkonen, Henri Keazor, Ros Ballaster, Michael Wheeler,Guillaume Dumas, Julien Laroche, Alexandre Lehmann, Anne Duprat
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Workshop ALEA 2017-2018

 “Improvisation and Design"

16 March 2018

Centre Universitaire de Norvège à Paris

Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Bureau A3-08
54, Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris

resp. Karin Kukkonen


The negotiation of contingency in culture does not only depend on representations of coincidence, exceptional events and what-if scenarios within literary texts and works of art. Indeed, the creative practices through which these works come into being play through contingency and enact its structures. The composition of a work of art, the melody of an opera or the stream of narrative in a novel all emerge as their creators move between the poles of conscious design and serendipitous improvisation.

This workshop will investigate how artistic practices negotiate the problem of contingency in the creation and performance of the work of art, how poetics reflect on the relationship between these conceptual and practical dimensions and how today’s mind sciences might conceptualise this process.

We will discuss possible approaches to design and contingency with recourse to the historical archive of manuscripts, records of performance and traces of their genesis left in the texts themselves. An important role for the interpretation of these documents will be played by research in neurosciences and the cognitive sciences on processes of creativity and interpretation, in order to develop a multi-disciplinary picture of how artistic practices promise to harness the experience of contingency across history.


10h00-10h05   Welcome

10h05-10h30   Anne Duprat (Picardie, Comparative Literature) : ALEA

10h30-11h30   Ros Ballaster (Oxford, English Literature)

Texts: Ros Ballaster, “Authors” in Being There: The Fiction of Presence in Eighteenth-Century Theatre and the Novel (ms.); Henry Fielding. Eurydice. 1737.

11h30-12h30   Henry Keazor (Heidelberg, Art History)Text: Henry Keazor, “Penser à côté”: The Creative Conditions for Innovations

12h30-13h30   Lunch

13h30-14h30   Karin Kukkonen (Oslo, Comparative Literature)

Text: Karin Kukkonen, “Pens, Pins and Paper” in How the Novel Found its Feet: Embodiment in Eighteenth-Century Fiction. New York: University of Oxford Press. Forthcoming.

14h30-15h30   Guillaume Dumas (Institut Pasteur, Neuroscience)

Text: Guillaume Dumas, Julien Laroche and Alexandre Lehmann, “Your Body, my body, our coupling moves our bodies.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8 (2014).

15h30-16h00   Coffee

16h00-17h00   Michael Wheeler (Stirling, Philosophy)

Text: Michael Wheeler, “Talking about more than Heads: the Embodied, Embedded and Extended Creative Mind” in Gaut and Kieran, eds. Creativity and Philosophy. London: Routledge. Forthcoming.

17h00-18h00   Asaf Bachrach (CNRS - SFL UMR 7023)

Joint Improvisation (in lieu of a final discussion)

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