Online Veranstaltung


Impossible practices of sensation: 

Presented by Joseph Barker

16. April. 2020 | 18:00 – 22:00 / Online 17:45


In the previous session of Public Research we discussed the work of Saidiya Hartman, examining her method of critical fabulation as a writing practice traversing the academic and the artistic, and by doing so opening up new spaces and modes of engagement with critical writing which are both rigorous, poignant, vivid and affective.

Aiming to continue our interrogation of Hartman’s methodologies and explore hybrid modes of transmission and discussion that her work might generate, our upcoming session will open with a performative reading by Joseph Barker, followed by a close reading of short pieces of text by the authors intertwined within the performance: Saidiya Hartman and Pierre Klossowski (see attached link).

This is how Joe describes his performance “Erotic Hereotopias”:

This performative reading focuses on the queer experiments that African-American feminist historian Saidiya Hartman’s analyses in the formation of the ghetto in the early twentieth century America. It opens up these queer, anarchist experiments in living by bringing them into constellation with earlier erotic utopias and distopias. In particular, Pierre Klossowski’s take on the Sadian abolition of self-ownership and Charles Fourier’s utopia of a free, non-economic exchange of sensation. Between the binding violence and the impossible freedom of these practices of sensation, the reading finds a path of escape in the constrained experimentation that Hartman celebrates. Alongside the more theoretical and poetic intertwinings, the sonic dimension of the performance rhythmically upsets any overly-formalistic tendencies of the voice, while the somatic dimension of the choreography ruptures the separation of language from lived experience.


In these Dropbox links you can find selected reading by Pierre Klossowski, Sade and Fourier, and Saidiya Hartman, extract from Beautiful Lives, Wayward Experiments

Please try to read the attached texts before our meeting. If you are not able to do so time-wise you can of course join us nevertheless. 

Sessions are held in English but other languages are welcome. Translation is our common duty.

Devised by: Dirk CieslakGerko EgertStefan Hölscher, and Netta Weiser.

Public Research is part of the program gesellschaften in the new and beautiful House of Commons, designed by Olf Kreisel at Vierte Welt.

With support of Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, Berlin.

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