Feb 12, from 6 pm - open end
Sönke Hallmann, Tanja Widmann, Inga Zimprich

Hiatus Gag Gesture - The Place of Speech in Giorgio Agamben’s Ethical Thinking


Hiatus Gag Gesture - The Place of Speech in Giorgio Agamben’s Ethical Thinking. The act of reading as a form of collective practice forms the springboard for this, and indeed all, sessions at the Department of Reading, an online reading module established in 2006 that interconnects physical settings to provide opportunities for interaction with given essays—by means of commentary, discussion, or even direct intervention. This allies the Department of Reading with practices of deconstruction as well as appropriation, presenting as it does a space between writing and reading that allows readers, through the figure of a close reading put into writing, to experimentally encroach on the apparent authority of the texts.
This Reading Session for Lakeside takes up texts by Giorgio Agamben. With the concept of the «life form,» Agamben puts forward a figure counter to conventional definitions of life, with the aim of leading us out of the paradox of sovereign power and trying to open up a kind of politics beyond the entanglement of rights with life. In the process, crucial importance is attributed to the interconnection of two concepts - namely, the experience of language in the guise of an experiment, and the addressing of a potential character of life, of life’s possibilities.
Agamben ties these two concepts to the paradigm of literary experience. He draws on experiments in literature, on poetological mutations of language in which it is not «the truth of the statements but rather the way of life» that is up for discussion, and hence nothing less than the concept of what it is to be human— the life form with the gift of language. The words Hiatus, Gag, Gesture call up these paradigms of experience in Agamben’s writings. This Reading Session at the Department of Reading asks what political potential can be attributed to the literary experiment, and which place language has in Agamben’s ethical thinking. The session, conducted on Skypechat and Wikipage, will be projected in the room, with participants able to join in the reading/writing process either on site (laptop) or online (via the contact data provided). Following the session, the practices of the Department of Reading itself will be put up for discussion.

Reading Session

Inga Zimprich, (1979 DE) lives and works in Berlin. In formats such as the CCCK, Center for Communication and Context Kyiv, and the Faculty of Invisibility, Inga Zimprich designs working platforms for investigating the conditions under which we become public. She attended the Jan van Eyck Academie Maastricht (2005/2006), co-coordinated the project space Public Space With A Roof Amsterdam (2004/2005) and worked at various intervals at the Iaspis Studio Program Stockholm, the Media Center REX, Interspace Sofia and, most importantly, with the CCA Kyiv, Ukraine.
Exhibition participation: A Short Institutional Affair (CCA Kyiv and Union of Artists of the Ukraine, Odessa, 2007), Master Humphrey’s Clock (Leidsche Rijn, Netherlands, 2008), Periferic 8—Art as Gift (Iasi, Rumania, 2008), What about Power Relations (Gallerie SKUC Ljublijana, 2008).

Sönke Hallmann, (1974, DE) lives and works in Berlin. His essays in the field of literary scholarship deal chiefly with the relationship between games and language, as well as with issues of the temporality of reading. Sönke Hallmann founded the Department of Reading in 2006 and has since then devoted his work to reading and writing in performative settings.