Please join us for two events with Eugenie Brinkema, Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
On Monday January 22, from 4:00-6:00pm, Professor Brinkema will present a public lecture in LB 646, Sponsored by the Centre for Expanded Poetics: “Drabness and Ethics (on the Values of Formalism)
On Tuesday January 23, from 1:00-3:00pm, Professor Brinkema will present a seminar in FB 630.15, sponsored by the Global Emergent Media Lab: “Formalism and Violence” (Methods of Reading and Writing). Reading for the Seminar: “Ars Formularia: Radical Formalism and the Speculative Task”
Lecture: DRABNESS AND ETHICS (on the Values of Formalism)
This talk takes as a starting point an aesthetic evaluation that greets the arrival of brutal death squads in Wes Anderson’s 2014 film, The Grand Budapest Hotel: “I find these black uniforms very drab.” Using the problem of drabness, and a reciprocal term that is yoked to it in the film—that of glimmer—Prof. Brinkema considers how problems of cinematic form related to light, saturation, and quality formally articulate an impersonal account of general historical violence and loss. The problem of color—and the aesthetic question of values—thus poses the broader question of the value of formalism as both a reading method and a speculative grappling with ethics and politics.
Eugenie Brinkema is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently a fellow at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Her research in film and media studies focuses on violence, affect, sexuality, aesthetics, and ethics. In dialogue with critical theory and continental philosophy, she argues for the speculative value of formalist readings in texts ranging from horror films to works of the new European extremism, from gonzo pornography to contemporary photography. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Angelaki, Camera Obscura, Criticism, differences, Discourse, film-philosophy, The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, LIT, qui parle, and World Picture. Her books include The Forms of the Affects (2014) and Life-Destroying Diagrams (2022), both published with Duke University Press. She is currently working on a book about color.