Last Minute Announcements

Dear visitors of the Night,

as in any events of such scale, a few of our confirmed speakers won’t be able to join us!

Toni Negri, Judith Revel and Frédéric Keck are unfortunately withheld in France.

Be assured that you’ll still have the difficult task to choose between many enticing debates, lectures, screenings and artworks simultaneously happening!

A Survival Kit for Your 1st Night of Philosophy

Tip no. 1: Make plans!

Download the programme of the Night of Philosophy in advance (here) and plan your night according to your interests. You can choose between political philosophy, bioethics, philosophical reflection of art, commented film screenings, “Power of Images”, “Animal” or “The End of Man & End of the World”. In the programme, each theme is marked by a different colour.

Tip no. 2. Enjoy both venues!

The Night of Philosophy takes place at the Faculty of Philosophy and the Trade Fair Palace. The journey between the venues takes 7 mins by tram. You don’t need to run around like crazy, but you also don’t have to worry about the transport after midnight: Prague Public Transit assured a direct tram line between the Philosophical Faculty and the Trade Fair Palace which departs every 15 mins!

Continue reading A Survival Kit for Your 1st Night of Philosophy

War at a Distance and Serious Games: Tribute to Harun Farocki

An introduction to the screening “War at a Distance” and “Serious Games” by Kristin Gissberg

What role do images have in the production, documentation, and understanding of war? How have we become accustomed to war images, and indeed images of war, and to what extent does this familiarity shape our perceptions, including the emotional landscape of warfare’s preparation, reporting, and debriefing?

What is the technology of war today, and from which trajectory has this emerged? In this time of increasingly sophisticated technological iterations, have we lost sight of the thread linking production and destruction? If so, to what extent has the prevalence of images sculpted our myopia, saturated our framing of otherness, influenced our understanding of what’s real and what’s virtual?

Harun Farocki’s investigative politics of images invites us to raise such questions, to sit with them, as it were, via cinematic presentation. Highlighting selections of two of his films – War at a Distance and Serious Games – The Night of Philosophy’s tribute to Farocki’s iconic examination of images of warfare aims to reopen precisely these questions.

Unfolding the link between warfare and images, we will follow Farocki from War at a Distance, beginning with The Gulf War – a war in which, for the first time, as the film claims, warfare and war reporting became one. Transitioning to clips from each of the four installments constituting Serious Games, our discussion will touch upon the ambiguity of image, the stripping away of affectivity in image creation, and the re-production of memory in image production.

Unknown copy 9Kristin Gissberg

Voices of Philosophers. From the French INA Archives

ImprimerScreened at the Malá Dvorana and at the Studio Hrdinů

  • Derrida : on the Train back from Prague (1982), 7:30-7:37 PM/11:00-11:07 PM. Derrida explains how he was detained while going back to France from Prague.
  • Right to Hope or Right to Lose Hope? (1977), 7:38-7:58 PM/11:08-11:28 PM. With Michel Foucault, Maurice Clavel, Christian Jambet and André Glucksmann. About the giving up of Marxism by French intellectuals after the 1956 events in Hungary.
  • In Solidarity with Solidarity (1982), 7:59-8:09 PM/11:29-11:39 PM. With Michel Foucault and Simone Signoret. About the Polish trade union Solidarity.
  • The Cellar Stairs can only be Walked Down (1961), 8:10-8:20 PM/11:40-11:50 PM. With Gaston Bachelard. A portrait of this philosopher.
  • Patočka’s Last Stance (1977), 8:21-8:25 PM/11:51-11:55 PM. With Jan Patočka and Jiří Hájek. About repression against Charter 77 signatories.

A debate around Homecare (2015) by Slávek Horák

A. Mihulová a E. Matalová
A. Mihulová a E. Matalová

The Night of Philosophy is proud to host a very special debate between film director Slávek Horák and philosopher Jaromír Matějek around the 2015 feature film Homecare, Czech submission for 2015 Academy Awards.

They will discuss about ethics, care and compassion.

The debate will follow a screening of an extract of the film!

When: 23:15-00:15 AM
Where: Faculty of Arts, room 300

Vylepšování/ Enhancement/ Augmentation

Hribek2An introduction to the debate “Should Humans Be Enhanced?” by Tomáš Hříbek (Filosofický ústav AV ČR)

In the last few years, more and more philosophers have concerned themselves with a set of questions that are suggested by the new possibilities of biomedicine and technology. So far we have been able to treat, more or less successfully, people whose natural capacities were disturbed or impaired by a disease or handicap. However, it seems that the new era is coming when we shall be able not only to treat people, i.e. either to renew the natural functioning of their capacities, or to enable them to do things they had not been capable of, but which are natural to most of the others. The contemporary medicine and other disciplines promise to enhance people, i.e. to provide them with capacities that no human being has possessed so far. Genetic manipulations, cloning, billions of nanobots flowing through an organism and repairing its failures, a fusion of the human and machine intelligence – some of these things still sound like science-fiction; yet we can already at least in principle imagine how they could work. But crucially, their availability could in time lead to an emergence of beings who would not be quite human anymore. They would be much stronger, faster, incomparably smarter, immeasurably longeval – perhaps, for all practical purposes, immortal. People speak in this regard about transhumanism, as a practical movement as well as a philosophy that aim at such an enhancement of humankind. Some authors speak even of posthumanism, by which they mean that radically enhanced beings will advance so much over ordinary mortals that these posthumans will not be members of our species anymore.

Continue reading Vylepšování/ Enhancement/ Augmentation

Kristin Gissberg

Kristin Unknown copy 9is an independent scholar based in Berlin, specialized in Hegel, gender & feminist thought, and 20th Century Philosophy. After completing two years with Erasmus Mundus Europhilosophie, she went on to finish her doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. She is passionate about questions of time & temporality as well as art, film, music, & their curation.

Monika Rogowska-Stangret

Monika RozgowskaMonika Rogowska-Stangret is a theorist and researcher in the fields of philosophy, gender studies and animal studies. She collaborates with the Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw. Monika received scholarships from the Kosciuszko Foundation, ERSTE Stiftung and WUS Austria (in the frames of PATTERNS Lectures programme) and from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education. She is a Member of Management Committee of European network: “New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’”, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST). She collaborates with “Przegląd Filozoficzno-Literacki,” has translated Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” (Czarna Owca 2014) and works by, among others, Judith Butler, Elizabeth Grosz, and Susan Sontag. She is the author of Ciało – poza Innością i Tożsamością. Trzy figury ciała w filozofii współczesnej” (Słowo/Obraz Terytoria, Gdańsk 2016, English title: “The Body – Beyond Otherness and Sameness. Three Figures of the Body in Contemporary Philosophy”).

Pierre Huyghe, Human Mask, 2014

© Pierre Huyghe
© Pierre Huyghe

Pierre Huyghe, (Untitled) Human Mask (Film still), 2014
Film, colour, stereo, sound, 2:66
Running time: 19 minutes
Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, London and Anna Lena Films, Paris

This exceptional artwork will be introduced in English by Adam Budak twice during the Night. Meet him in the Moving Image Department of the Trade Fair Palace at 9:30 PM or at 11:45 PM!

Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei

(c) Národní galerie v Praze
(c) Národní galerie v Praze

The series of twelve bronze Zodiac Heads was created in 2010 as public sculptures. Ai Weiwei first exhibited them around the Pulitzer Fountain in New York’s Central Park and since then one of the series is touring around the world. The other one was generously lent by the artist to the National Gallery in Prague as the first of Ai’s works to be presented in the Czech Republic. A monumental site-specific installation for the Big Hall of the Trade Fair Palace will follow next year.

When working on the Zodiac Heads, the artist was, according to his own words, trying to produce a witty and natural installation, that would enliven the serious and grey reality of an American city with its playfulness and straightforwardness. At the same time, however, the work has deep historical context. The heads are exact copies of the statues that had once been placed around a fountain in the Old Summer Palace in Beijing. This place was designed by Jesuit missionaries commissioned by the Emperors of the last Qing dynasty (1644-1911) of the imperial China. The park and its architecture were, however, destroyed in 1860 in the looting that ensued after the Second Opium War. Many of the heads were smuggled away from China, ending up in a number of art collections around the world. Continue reading Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei

Distorted History, Stolen Images and Faked Memory (An Excerpt)

Petr Koťátko, Distorted History, Stolen Images and Faked Memory (reading & performance)

V. VondráčekKotatkoActing:
Vojtěch Vondráček (Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts)
Petr Koťátko (Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences)

N (= Narrator) in an ordinary dress freely walks about the stage; C (= pretend Casanova) is in bed, preferably in pyjamas or a nightdress, embellished with some accessory from a Rococo cavalier’s wardrobe; with the exception of N’s introduction, both read their part aloud from the diary of the pretend Casanova. Continue reading Distorted History, Stolen Images and Faked Memory (An Excerpt)

Étienne Balibar

balibarDistinguished Professor at the Paris Ouest Nanterre University and at the University of California, Irvine, Étienne Balibar is a prominent figure of contemporary philosophy. His works mainly deal with political philosophy (as in Politics and the Other Scene, published in English in 2012, or Equaliberty: Political Essays in 2014 ). A former student of Louis Althusser, he was excluded from French communist party in March 1981 after writing in the press against the party’s racist stance. A member of the French Human Rights League, he has been committed in defending rights for the undocumented migrants and asylum-seekers. Since 2007 he’s headed the France Jan Hus Association founded in 1982 by Jacques Derrida. His latest publications in English include a thorough reflection on the fate of Europe (as in his book translated into English in 2004, We, the People of Europe? Reflections on Transnational Citizenship; or in his last book in French, Europe : crise et fin ? in 2016). 

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Adam Budak

budakAdam Budak is the Chief Curator of the National Gallery in Prague. He acted as International Curator for Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (2012-14). He worked with artists such as Louise Bourgeois, John Baldessari, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Cerith Wyn Evans and Monika Sosnowska, and has curated a large number of international exhibitions. Adam Budak has published extensively, and edited a number of publications, including two-volume anthology of texts “What Is Architecture?” (Krakow, 2002, 2007).

Anne Gléonec

0AnneAnne Gléonec is a doctor and professor agrégée of philosophy. After teaching for five years in France, she continued to pursue research and teaching activities in Prague at the CEFRES, the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University, and at the Institute of philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences. She devoted her Ph.D. dissertation to the analogy between the body and the political body, and wrote a book on Merleau-Ponty’s conceptions of Institution and Passivity, before focusing her philosophical research on the most contemporary links and transferences between natural and social sciences, specifically in the fields of bio-politics and bio-ethics.

Ondřej Švec

IMG_6900newOndřej Švec spent almost eight years of his youth in France, where he became passionate about philosophy, its application to everyday problems and its critical presence in public debates. From 2009 to 2015, he directed the Center for the Study of Language, Mind and Society at the University of Hradec Králové. His publications include a book about phenomenology of emotions and various articles about the problem of objectivity, the scientific explanation of reality and its link to the Lifeworld. He is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

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Images, Sciences and Politics – Prague 2016