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"The Scattered Community of the Eclipsed": Paradigms of Belonging in the Wake of the 2020 Pandemic

Venue: Online

This online roundtable discussion is organised by Birkbeck Research in Aesthetics of Kinship and Community, a research centre based at Birkbeck, University of London and established 11 years ago. The main aim of the centre is to analyse, promote and commission artistic works of representation of the human bond in all its configurations, across cultures and history.

The event will centre around the screening of a short film in French with English subtitles, entitled Le noir de l’éclipse (The darkness of the eclipse), made during the lockdown by Eniko Fekete. The film, with strong Debordian accents, reflects on the various forms of belonging that have taken shape during the strange period of lockdown in the year 2020, when half of the world’s population was confined home in order to slow down the spread of a deadly virus. In this period, which Eniko Fekete likens to an eclipse, a type of darkness engulfed much of humanity, a new way of seeing normality was imposed on it, and alternative forms of being together had to be invented.

We will be joined by specialists on the aesthetics of community from around the world, to discuss the film and reflect on the many questions that stem from it. How might events like the lockdown, social distancing, whole household isolation, reconfigure our interpretation of artistic works that reflect on the multifarious concepts of community? Which philosophers, past and present might help us understand the new paradigms of belonging that have taken shape in recents months? And what forms of exclusion, of solitude or loneliness have these brought to light or made more acute? What does the slight shift in reality which we experienced tell us about old paradigms of togetherness, perhaps the ones we will go back to, perhaps not? And what does it tell us about our ability to adapt to new ways of being? We will be referring to literary, philosophical works, films, and other art works to illustrate our ideas and inform our discussion.

Guest speakers will include:

Niall Bond (Lyon 2, France), Irving Goh (NUS, Singapore), Ian James (Cambridge, UK), Élodie Laugt (St Andrews, UK), Cory Stockwell (Bilkent, Turkey | currently in the USA), Nathalie Wourm (Birkbeck, UK).

To book a place and receive a link nearer the time, please register.

The link to the film that will be screened is:

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