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Film and Philosophy Seminar: Aesthetics of Clarity

Over the last two years we have focused on topics such as contingency, uncertainty, and affiliated ways of dealing with the epistemological, phenomenological, ontological and aesthetic dimensions of contemporary conditions of restlessness and disquietude. This academic year, we take a contrary point of departure and investigate the aesthetics of clarity in film, art, media culture, and contemporary thought. What are the attraction and powers of clear thoughts, models, forms, structures, relations, and conditions?

The seminar uses the concept of clarity as a pivot to move into the different, often contrastive directions the term implies. Can a discourse and demand for clarity itself turn into uncertainty? Can we understand clarity precisely as that which allows one to conceive of antonyms such as opacity? How has clarity been understood in aesthetics through attention to form, for example, in modernism as opposed to the (neo)baroque, in racialized practices of coloniality and decoloniality and in transitions to market economies? Why do aesthetic and political experience provoke discussions of clarity? How do forms of clarity relate to discussions of contemporary capitalism, subjective consciousness, ecologies, and language? Can we make distinctions between emotional clarity, formal clarity, analytic/expository clarity, and messianic/visionary clarity, and what do these entail?