Seminar • Objects of Mediation – Mediation as Object


12 Nov 2016
14:00 - 20:00
Bienal Pavilion • Auditorium (Basement)

The seminar aims to examine ideas and practices of mediation through a dialogue between Brazilian and Russian traditions in the fields of critical theory, psychology and radical pedagogy. A contested and elastic concept, ‘mediation’ has been used to call up a thinking (social) body. In this way mediation, and objects that mediate, are deemed central to fundamental, embodied activities – sensing, making, learning, knowing, communicating. In terms of both individual and collective experience it refers to the linking of differences or opposites, and it is politically charged in relation to technologies of power as well as visions of utopia. Organised by the artist Emanuel Almborg and the curator Lars Bang Larsen, the program includes film screenings and lectures, with the participation of Søren Andreasen, Maria Chehonadskih, Rodrigo Nunes, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, and Luiza Proença.

Registration via form


2 pm | Welcome and introduction

2.15 pm | Emanuel Almborg: Screening of Talking Hands / Говорящие руки (2016)
A film about the emergence of human consciousness, philosopher Evald Ilyenkov and pedagogical experiments in Soviet deaf-blind education at the 1960s Zagorsk School. Based on 16mm archive footage from the school recovered by Almborg, the maker and exact date of the film are unknown. The only information attached to the film was a title; "Talking Hands".

3.15 pm | Maria Chehonadskih: Mediating Poor Life: communist individuation in Soviet Marxism and Beyond
This talk will address Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s theories of “mediation”, “activity” and subject-object relations, developed in the 1920s. Chehonadskih will argue that Vygotsky overcomes stultifying conceptions of the social and collective, and outlines a political theory of communization as an “adequate form” of individuation. By doing so, she brings him in contact with the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon, Etienne Balibar and Paolo Virno.

3.45 pm | Q&A

4 pm | Break

4.15 pm | Søren Andreasen and Lars Bang Larsen: Translating Utopia, Mediating the Impracticable
Charles Fourier’s writings about a libidinal socialism were an outspoken critique of early 19th century post-revolutionary, post-Enlightenment, European reality. Perhaps most of all, his texts demonstrate the power of a radical imagination to resist common sense and consensus. The presentation will depart from a critique of mediation understood as economic abstraction to discuss the novelist Italo Calvino’s problems with translating and making sense of Fourier.

5 pm | Rodrigo Nunes: Tension and Telos: Rethinking Process in Pedagogy and Politics
Recent years have seemingly exacerbated an intellectual tendency to view notions of finality and mediation in politics as tainted by their problematic philosophical and political associations. This can result in an attempt to obviate the problem of telos and how to attain it by conceiving of a political act that is self-contained, an end in itself. This presentation starts by pointing out what that move supposes in terms of temporality and what theoretical and practical costs it involves. It then brings together the work of Gilbert Simondon, Deleuze and Guattari and Brazilian radical pedagogy in order to argue for an understanding of telos that would make it compatible with a more substantial idea of process.

5.40 pm | Sidsel Meineche Hansen: PHARMACOPORNOGRAPHER. Screenings and talk.
This presentation will focus on the female avatar ‘EVA v3.0’ which is a 3D product used in computer games and virtual adult entertainment. The EVA v3.0 avatar is the main protagonist in Hansen's recent video work and an object for her research on post-human sex, questioning the avatar's mediation of disembodied sex work.

6.30 pm | Panel discussion with all participants, Q&A


About the participants

Emanuel Almborg is an artist based in Stockholm, Sweden, and currently an artistic PhD candidate at The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm. His work involves research and often includes film, photography and publications.

Maria Chehonadskih is a writer and philosopher who lives and works in London and Moscow. She is a PhD candidate at Kingston University, CRMEP. works on the problem of Soviet epistemologies across philosophy, Marxism and art of 1920s.

Sidsel Meineche Hansen (DK) is a London-based artist whose research-led practice manifests as exhibitions, interdisciplinary seminars and publications. She is an associate professor at the Funen Art Academy in Denmark.

Søren Andreasen is an artist who lives and works in Copenhagen. He works with installations, graphics, publications and other ways of combining abstract images and texts about art, its politics and relationship with everyday social situations.

Rodrigo Nunes is a philosopher who works at the PUC Rio de Janeiro, as well as a writer, an activist, and a translator.

Luiza Proença is a curator of mediation and public programs at the MASP, São Paulo.

Lars Bang Larsen is a Copenhagen-based art historian, writer and curator, and a co-curator of INCERTEZA VIVA, the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo.