Master’s Program in Aesthetics and Politics
West Hollywood Lecture Series
WHAP! stands for the West Hollywood Aesthetics and Politics lecture series. Launched in the Fall of 2011, the series is co-hosted by the City of West Hollywood and the MA program.
This year’s line-up ranges from political debates to film screenings and performances, as well as conversations about art, architecture, and philosophy.
All events are free and open to the public. Please consult the page below for more information about the time, location, and topic of the events we have lined up.
Most events will take place either in the Council Chambers (street level) or in the Community Room (upstairs) at the West Hollywood library, located on 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069.
Pay parking is available in the library parking structure, which you can enter on San Vicente or Robertson, just north of Melrose.
Political Fictions: Literature and the Political
- Wednesday, Jan. 30, 8-9:30 pm, West Hollywood Library
A panel with Peter Gadol (Otis College of Art and Design) and Martin Plot (CalArts). Read more
Bodies in Break: A Night of Queer Performance
- Friday, Feb. 15, 7:30 pm - 9 at Fubar, 7994 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood
Poet/Performer Ronaldo V. Wilson stages “queer” as an aesthetic action
in his multimedia presentations of oppositional poetics, b-boy bizness,
and hardcore signifying. Poet/Performer Douglas Kearney will host, play
interlocutor, and shifty straight-man in this evening of performance,
performativity and discussion. Read more
Screening: Dear Comrade
- Wednesday, Feb. 27, 8-9pm, West Hollywood Library
A documentary essay film (55 minutes) written and directed by Mady Schutzman (CalArts). Dear Comrade documents the story of Llano del Rio (1914-18), the most important non-religious communitarian experiment in western American history. Read more
Screening: La Huelga
- Friday, March 15, 8-9 pm, West Hollywood Library
Occupy West Hollywood! Come join us for a screening of Ken Ehrlich’s new documentary video La Huelga. Hosted by Martín Plot, with James Wiltgen as respondent. La Huelga is an experimental documentary video that examines a student strike at the largest public University in Mexico (UNAM) in 1999–2000, by juxtaposing participant interviews with a lyrical portrait of the campus architecture. Read more
- Friday, April 5, 7-9 pm, West Hollywood Library
Adrian Johnston and Suhail Malik join Dean of Critical Studies Amanda Beech to talk about the stakes of materialism--aesthetic, political, speculative, et cetera--today. Read more
Designing West Hollywood
- Friday, April 26, 7:30-9 pm, West Hollywood Library
MA in Aesthetics and Politics alumnus and West Hollywood Council member John D’Amico will wrap up the year with a conversation about urban design in West Hollywood. Read more
Debate: The Fight for Equality and Electoral Politics
- Friday, Sept. 21, 7:30-9 pm
West Hollywood Library, Community Room
Hosted by Martín Plot, this debate will focus not just on the upcoming US presidential election but on how to advance the cause of equality during such an election. Participants include Nancy L. Cohen and West Hollywood’s own John Duran.
Nancy L. Cohen is an author, historian, civic leader and political commentator who is recognized as one of the leading voices in the debate currently raging on women and women’s issues in American politics. Her recently published book Delirium has won widespread acclaim and earned her appearances on cable television including MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan and Up with Chris Hayes, C-SPAN BookTV, and the History Channel. She has been published in top publications including the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, the Huffington Post, and RollingStone.com. Delirium has been featured in Salon.com, Le Figaro, the Washington Post, the London Observer, and the Los Angeles Times. As a historian, she wrote a highly regarded book about the U.S. during the rise of corporate capitalism, The Reconstruction of American Liberalism.
John Duran, a West Hollywood councilmember and native Angeleno, has been involved in LGBT politics for over 25 years. He has been a gay rights attorney since 1987, with cases including ACT UP, medical marijuana, and needle exchange. As the former co-chair of LIFE AIDS lobby (1987-1992) and Equality California (2000-2008), he has been involved in political issues related to HIV as well as marriage equality battles. He is the co-founder of ANGLE--Access Now for Gay/Lesbian Equality (1989-1999), which propelled him into federal politics, and he co-chaired WESTPAC's reapportionment project for the LGBT community.
Martín Plot (PhD 2004, New School for Social Research, Alfred Schutz Memorial Award in Philosophy and Sociology) teaches at the CalArts’ School of Critical Studies and its Graduate Program in Aesthetics and Politics. He has published El kitsch político (2003), La carne de lo social (2008), and Indivisible (2011). He has also edited several books and published in many journals and reviews, including Constellations, Continental Philosophy Review, Theory and Event, International Journal of Communication, Umbrales, Punto de Vista, and Le monde diplomatique.
Screening: Simondon of the Desert
- Tuesday, Oct. 2, 6:30-9 pm
West Hollywood Library, City Council Chambers
Come celebrate the birthday of French philosopher of technology Gilbert Simondon (b. October 2nd, 1924) with the US premiere of François Lagarde’s documentary film Simondon of the Desert. Followed by a Q&A with the film director, and specialists of Simondon’s work.
Pascal Chabot studied philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the Free University of Brussels, and teaches at the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Communications Sociales (IHECS), Brussels. His many publications include a study of Gilbert Simondon’s work (Vrin, 2003). He is currently preparing a philosophical essay about the problem of burn-out for the Presses Universitaires de France. In 2009, he published a book with the photographer Sergine Laroux about the work of choreographer Michèle Noiret.
Arne De Boever teaches American Studies in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts. He also directs the School’s MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics. He has published numerous articles on literature, film, and critical theory and is editor of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. His book States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel was published by continuum.
Erich Hörl is Professor of Media Philosophy and Technology at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany and head of the Bochum Colloquium for Media Studies (bkm). His research interests cover the history and philosophy of cybernetics and the description of the cybernetization of our forms of life, and he has widely published in this field. For his current research, which involves the philosophy of Gilbert Simondon, he is developing a General Ecology of Media and Technology.
François Lagarde is a photographer and filmmaker who has been teaching art students for 24 years. He has edited several books, including the legendary Beat Hotel, inspired by the photographs of Harold Chapman. His films often operate as encounters with people he admires: during the 1970s and 80s, he made films about William S. Burroughs, Ernst Jünger, and Albert Hofmann, the inventor of LSD; during the 1990s, about Roger Laporte and Phillippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Simondon of the Desert, which he made with Pascal Chabot, was selected for the International Festival of Documentary Film in Marseille. With Marco Filoni, he is at work on a documentary about Alexandre Kojève.
Academic conference: The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism
- Friday, Nov. 9: 7:30 pm, Goethe-Institute
- Saturday, Nov. 10: 10 am-6:30 pm, West Hollywood Library, Community Room
- Sunday, Nov. 11: 10 am-12 pm, West Hollywood Library, Community Room
Hosted by Arne De Boever (MA in Aesthetics and Politics, CalArts), Warren Neidich (The Delft School of Design, TU Delft School of Architecture), and Jason Smith (Art Center), “The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part One” brings together philosophers/critical theorists, media theorists, scientists and artists to discuss the state of the mind and brain under the conditions of contemporary capitalism, in which they have become the new focus of laboring.
The conference begins on Friday, November 9th at the Goethe-Institute (5750 Wilshire Blvd.) with a keynote address by Franco “Bifo” Berardi (introduced by Sylvère Lotringer) and continues on Saturday, November 10th and Sunday, November 11th at the West Hollywood Public Library (626 N. San Vicente Boulevard). Speakers will include Jonathan Beller, Jodi Dean, Tiziana Terranova, Patricia Pisters, and Bruce Wexler.
For more information as well as a detailed schedule of events, please consult the conference webpage.
Performance: This Is Called the Show: Spectacle, Invisibility, and Scene
- Friday, Dec. 7, 7:30-9 pm
West Hollywood Library, Community Room
Join us for an evening about (and undoubtedly with some) performance. Hosted by Douglas Kearney, with Kate Durbin, Ernest Hardy, and Tisa Bryant.
Kate Durbin is a Los Angeles-based writer, performer, and transmedia artist. She is author of The Ravenous Audience (Akashic Books), E! Entertainment (Blanc Press Diamond Edition, forthcoming), and the conceptual fashion magazine The Fashion Issue (Wonder, forthcoming). She has also written five chapbooks. Winner of an &Now Innovative Writing Award, her projects have been anthologized and featured in media outlets such as Spex, Huffington Post, The New Yorker, Salon.com, AOL, Poets and Writers, TMobile's Your Digital Daily, Poets.org, VLAK, Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion, Black Warrior Review, Joyland, NPR, Bookslut, 1913, LIT, Fanzine, and The American Scholar. She is founding editor of Gaga Stigmata, an online arts and criticism journal about Lady Gaga, which will be published as a book from Zg Press in 2012.
Ernest Hardy’s film and music criticism has appeared in the LA Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Vibe, The New York Times, Rolling Stone and the Source. He is the winner of the 2006 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence, honoring his liner notes for the Chet Baker CD, Career 1952-1988. Blood Beats: Vol. 1, Hardy’s first collection of film and music criticism, won a 2007 PEN/Beyond Margins Award.
Tisa Bryant is the author of Unexplained Presence (Leon Works, 2007); co-editor/founder of The Encyclopedia Project, and co-editor of the anthology, War Diaries. She recently participated in a conference, “Emergent Communities,” with Janice Lee, and is on a reading tour with The Dark Room Collective, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of their founding of a nationally-renown African diasporic reading series and arts exhibition that was free, open to the public, and hosted in their living room. Tisa is faculty in the MFA Writing Program at the California Institute of the Arts.
Douglas Kearney's second manuscript, The Black Automaton, was chosen by Catherine Wagner for the National Poetry Series and published by Fence Books in 2009. His newest chapbook, SkinMag (A5/Deadly Chaps) is now available. He has received a Whiting Writers Award. He has been commissioned to compose poetry in response to art by the Weisman Museum in the Twin Cities, the Studio Museum in Harlem, FOCA and SFMOMA. Performances of Kearney’s libretti have been featured in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Europe. He teaches at CalArts.