Boris Groys – Searching for the True Self



Event Date 8 – 9 May 2013

Room 22/26
Senate House
University of London
London WC1E 7HU

Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy


Romantic Transdisciplinarity: Art and the New Conference

2011–2013 (AHRC 914469)

This conference is dedicated to discussion of the transdisciplinary legacies of early German Romanticism in contemporary theory and practice in the arts and humanities, with particular reference to the construction of the concepts ‘art’ and ‘the new’. Themes to be discussed include: Romanticism and disciplinarity; aesthetics as a transdisciplinary field; transdisciplinary constructions of art, nature and the new; medium, media and transmedia as transdisciplinary concepts.

The conference is in collaboration with the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

Professor Boris Groys (Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University) – Searching for the True Self

Romantic art started a revolt in the name of the ‘true self’. Here the question is not if the true self is real or merely a metaphysical fiction: the question of identity is not a question of truth but a question of power. Who has the power over my identity: I or society? And, more generally: Who has the control, the sovereignty over the social taxonomy, social mechanisms of identification: the state institutions or I? That means that the struggle against my own public persona and nominal identity in the name of my sovereign persona, or sovereign identity also has a public, political dimension because it is directed against the dominating mechanisms of identification – the dominating social taxonomy with all its division and hierarchies. Here, the artistic project directing towards the discovery of the true self transforms itself into the revolutionary project of creation of a true society.

Boris Groys is Global Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science at New York University. His many books include The Total Art of Stalinism (1988; trans. 1992; 2011), Under Suspicion: A Phenomenology of Media (2000; trans 2012); The Communist Postscriptum (2006; trans. 2009), Art Power (2008) and History Becomes Form: Moscow Conceptualism (2010). He was the curator of the Russian pavillion at the 2011 Venice Biennale.






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