Master’s Program in Aesthetics and Politics

Master’s Program in Aesthetics and Politics

Master’s Program in Aesthetics and Politics

Welcome! This is a program for artists and thinkers who are interested in the crossover of aesthetics and politics in the contemporary world. This program encourages new interrogations of the expanded field of the arts through readings of texts, artworks, group discussion and a rich calendar of public events.

About the Program

We offer a dynamic and intensive experience that develops a shared vocabulary and critical framework in which we discuss phenomena ranging from the Arab Spring to neo-benshi, from bioart to neoliberalism, from human rights to queer hiphop and third world cinema.

Students develop ideas through presenting ongoing written work in a discursive environment with peers and are encouraged to focus their work by choosing credits from a list of elective courses. We offer a set of core courses in aesthetic theory, political thought, critical discourse in the arts and the media, and theoretical writing that are the foundation of the degree. In addition, students are able to specialize in one of three areas of concentration--critical theory, global studies, or media and urban studies--to work towards a written thesis submitted at the end of the program. The program values individual development by providing one-to-one mentorship with specialists within your field, student fora and a rich variety of internationally renowned visiting speakers.

Selected applicants are awarded Teaching Assistantships that can be turned into a Research Assistantship in the Spring semester. All MA-candidates significantly improve their reading and writing skills, oral presentation skills, and creative and critical abilities during their one-year intensive training with us. The scope of the program enables students to achieve their ambitions in their career choices and opens the doors to new possibilities for life after postgraduate study. The program helps prepare students for careers in a range of vocations, including art criticism, critical art-making, curatorial practice, politics, research at PhD-level, and more.

For more information about our curriculum, faculty, and the events we have on offer, please click through the page-links on the left. Join us in Los Angeles for the year-long WHAP! series or contact our admissions counselor if you want to visit us and observe a class.  

We look forward to welcoming you to CalArts.

Last edited by adeboever on Jan 07, 2013

News & Events

Fall 2015

  • L.A. rejoice: Armen Avanessian is in town for the rest of the semester... Armen's MA course begins October 7th with a screening of the film HYPERSTITION. The screening will be in the butler building, room BB4. We will start at 6pm and go until 9pm. This will the US premier of the film--so don't miss it. 
  • The schedule for Thierry de Duve's course and public lectures is now up on the Theorist in Residence page. 
  • This year's WHAP! program--well, most of it--has been posted on our WHAP! page. Mark your calendars...
  • We are very pleased to announce our Visiting Faculty (VF) and Theorist in Residence (TIR) for the Fall 2015 semester: Armen Avanessian (VF) and Thierry de Duve (TIR). MA Faculty Martín Plot takes on a new role as the MA program's Research Fellow in Political Thought. 
  • Info about core and elective courses has been posted. The Visiting Faculty and Theorist in Residence pages have been updated. Also: check out the program for our Fall conference, "When is art political?" More soon! 

Spring 2015

  • Congratulations to Elliot Vredenberg, who is the first MA Aesthetics and Politics alumn to be selected for the new Reef Residency
  • Check out Arne De Boever's interview with MA Theorist in Residence Judith Butler for the Los Angeles Review of Books. 
  • 04/09, Café A, 4:30-6pm: A&P visiting scholar Nasrin Himada will speak about "activist passion". Activist passion, as a concept, contributes to a rich field of research on how art practice creates new modes of engagement that alters the relation between subject and object. The use of the term “passion” draws inspiration from Deleuze’s reading of Spinoza’s “joyful passions,” as “the power to affect and be affected.” Activist passion arises out of an ethical concern that engages with artistic, curatorial, cinematic and writing interventions where there is an attempt to cohabitate and co-struggle with others. These transversal practices not only engage the political, but create spaces for deeply ethical collaborations between artists, writers, filmmakers, curators and the agents of social struggle with whom they engage. From this form of interdisciplinary cohabitation emerges an affective condition that is “activist passion.” Please join Nasrin Himada for a discussion of the ethics and politics of activist passion. Within this theoretical framework, and in relation to various cross-cultural texts, topics for engagement will include—but are not limited to—images of Palestine, spatial violence, political philosophy, becoming/unbecoming, passion, affect and artfulness.
  • We are delighted to announce that the contemporary art theorist Thierry de Duve will be our Theorist in Residence in the Fall 2015 semester. Our Visiting Faculty that semester will be Armen Avanessian, a leading voice in the contemporary debates about speculative realism and accelerationism. More information about both initiatives will be released in Summer 2015.
  • Wednesday, March 11th, 6-7:30pm, Butler Building #4: Alex Galloway speaks about "The Changing Fortunes of Contemporary French Theory". 
  • February 12, Thursday, 4-6pm Butler Building #4. The MA Aesthetics and Politics program presents: "A VIOLENCE INDIFFERENT TO HOPE: ON AN IMAGE FROM BLACK LIVES MATTER". A lecture by Jared Sexton, Director of African American Studies/ Core Faculty of the Culture and Theory PhD Program, Associate Professor, Film & Media Studies, School of Humanities, UC Irvine.
  • The School of Critical Studies and the School of Art are pleased to offer recent graduates of the MA Aesthetics and Politics Program, MFA   Creative Writing Program, MFA Programs in Art, Art and Technology, Graphic Design and Photo/ Media the opportunity to apply for the first CalArts REEF Residencies. Four artists and writers (2 from each School) will receive cost-free space in a large shared open studio from April 1st September 30th, 2015. Recipients will also receive a small award to support their work over this time. For more details on eligibility requirements and how to apply, download an informational PDF, here: Reef residency call- 2015-Final-1.pdf

Fall 2014

  • Professor Judith Butler will be visiting our program to teach a 2-credit block seminar in January and February. While the seminar will only be open to current MA A&P students, professor Butler will also be giving four public lectures while she is with us. More details about the lectures will be announced during the Fall.
  • Professor Jacques Rancière will be giving a lecture for us on Tuesday, January 20th as part of WHAP!. 
  • Our yearly Fall conference will be titled “This Isn’t About the Future: Black Digital Culture Today”. The conference will take place November 14th and 15th at REDCAT and the West Hollywood public library. The speaker line-up will include Alexander Weheliye, Jennifer González, Timothy Allen Harris, Stephanie Greenlea, Anna Everett, and others.
  • Welcome! The CalArts course catalogue is now available online. Browse the graduate courses in the School of Critical Studies to review core and elective courses. The pages from program's website have been updated to reflect the core and elective course offerings for 2014-2015. Information about events will become available later this Summer and during the Fall. 

Spring 2014

  • Today, Friday April 25th, at WHAP!: Sara Wookey and Pascal Gielen, workshop 3-6pm. Pascal Gielen and Matias Viegener, evening lecture 8pm. Topics: The Ethics of Art (Valiz, 2013) and "Creativity and Other Fundamentalisms". Join us for the last WHAP! events of the academic year... More info on the WHAP! page. 
  • Norman Klein and Margo Bistis at the Goethe Institute about The Imaginary 20th Century, May 8th.


  • Join us for the Constellations journal conference, New School, April 25th-27th, featuring Martín Plot.
  • Join us for the Animation/Reanimation conference, UC Berkeley, April 18th, featuring Arne De Boever. 
  • Congratulations to MA A&P alumn John D'Amico, who will be inaugurated as mayor of the City of West Hollywood on April 21st!
  • Nathaniel Deines (Aesthetics & Politics MA '14) has received a grant for an 8-month graduate internship at the Getty Research Institute where he will be working in both the Research Projects & Programs and Digital Art History departments. The GRI's Research Projects & Programs section manages the GRI's institutional research agenda, leads individual research projects, and oversees all of the GRI's public and educational programming. The Digital Art History department oversees and/or collaborates on digital initiatives and research projects throughout the GRI and across the Getty. Nathaniel will engage in research, project and program management, the digital humanities, aspects of scholarly and applied research, digital research and development, team-based research, writing for multiple audiences and outlets, program planning and coordination, and institutional documentation. 
  • Tuesday, April 8th, 12n-1:30pm, CUBE: Joshua Simon's book Neomaterialism (Sternberg Press, 2013), engages with notions of the commodity, the general intellect, debt, labor, subjectivity, thingness, the dialect of material and dialectical materialism. Joshua is director and chief curator at MoBY – Museums of Bat Yam. He is co-founding editor of Maayan Magazine for literature, poetry and ideas, Maarvon (Western) – New Film Magazine, and The New & Bad Art Magazine, all based in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Simon is a 2011-2013 fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School, New York, and a PhD candidate at the Curatorial/Knowledge program  at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is the editor of Solution 196-213: United States of Palestine-Israel (Sternberg Press, 2011), and author of Neomaterialism (Sternberg Press, 2013).
  • On Tuesday, April 1st, Ian Bogost is giving a public lecture as part of the "Interventions" course. The lecture will begin at 7pm, in Butler Building 4. Ian is an award-winning author and game designer whose work focuses on videogames and computational media. He is Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. More info on the Interventions page on the left. 
  • On Thursday, April 3rd, Sam Binkley is a giving a talk in D206, from 4:15pm until 5:30. Sam will be presenting his book Happiness as Enterprise: An Essay on Neoliberal Life (SUNY P, 2014). Sam is Associate Professor of Sociology at Emerson College, Boston.  
  • Coming up: from Tuesday, March 18th until Thursday, March 20th we will be hosting our Spring 2014 Theorist in Residence, Fred Moten. Fred will be giving a series of workshops and talks related to his text "Black Kant (Pronounced Cant)". More info on our Theorist in Residence page. Previous theorists in residence included John Mullarkey, and Erin Manning and Brian Massumi.  
  • MA A&P candidate Johanna Kozma was interviewed by UCLA classics professor Alex Purves about her Odyssey play. The interview is up on the KCET website.
  • Aesthetics and Politics Visiting Scholar Dr. Heather Davis will give a talk March 6th, 4-6 pm, in Cafe A. Her talk is entitled, "Art that Loves People, or the in-between of social practice". A light reception will follow. 
  • On Friday, February 28th, we are hosting Santiago Zabala as part of WHAP! From 3-6pm, Santiago will run a workshop on "critical theory and eurocentrism". At 8pm, he will give a talk titled "Only Art Can Save Us: The Emergency of Aesthetics". Ashley Hunt from the photography and media program will be the respondent. More info on our WHAP! page on the left.  
  • The site for the international center of Simondon studies, dedicated to the work of the French philosopher of technology Gilbert Simondon, has now been launched. Due to our many activities around Simondon in the past few years, the MA program was invited to be an international partner for the center. In Spring 2014, MA visiting scholar Heather Davis and Arne De Boever will run a workshop on Simondon in James Wiltgen's Contemporary Aesthetic Theory course.
  • March 4th: giovanni singleton is giving a talk as part of Interventions. More info through the Interventions link on the left.  
  • On Thursday, February 6th, Stephen Wright will be visiting the MA aesthetics and politics program in the context of our partnership with the European School of Visual Arts in France. We'll host a one hour workshop, from 4-5pm in D206. The workshop will be about a lexicon of usership that Stephen recently wrote for the Museum of Arte Útil. Stephen Wright (born 1963) is a theorist, writer, curator, and independent researcher invested in theoretical alternatives to the current capitalist framework of the contemporary art world. Wright’s projects investigate the use-value of art in society, focusing on collective work that exists beyond objects, authorship, and spectatorship. Wright’s curated projects include: Rumour as Media, Akbank Sanat, Istanbul, 2006; Dataesthetics, Gallery Nova, Zagreb, 2006; In Absentia, Centre d’Art Passerelle, Brest, 2005; and The Future of the Reciprocal Readymade, Apexart, New York, 2004. He is on the editorial advisory committee of the journal Third Text, has held positions as Programme Director at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, and is corresponding editor of Parachute magazine. Wright lives and works in Paris.
  • Promo-sheet for The Ethics of Art: Ecological Turns in the Performing Arts, edited by Guy Cools and Pascal Gielen, and with a contribution by Arne De Boever: Info Ethics of Art ENG - Guy Cools.pdf. The book focuses on the European dance scene and raises theoretical questions that are central to the field of aesthetics and politics. Publisher Valiz will be represented at the LA art book fair, Jan. 30th-Febr. 2nd. Book editor Pascal Gielen will be speaking in our WHAP! series, on April 25th. 
  • Tuesday, Jan. 28th: Bruce Robbins is screening his film "Some of My Best Friends are Zionists". Followed by Q&A with the director, and with Critical Studies visiting scholar Thomas Altheimer as respondent. Introductions by Atsuko Okatsuka and Nathaniel Deines. 
  • Chaos and Cosmos, a multimedia exhibit co-curated by Suzanne Kite, Martin Plot, and Charles Gaines, and produced by Calarts students, opens Thursday, January 21st in the Cube inside the Butler Building at California Institute of the Arts. This group exhibition interrogates the political and philosophical dimensions of Jorge Luis Borges’ thought and writings, and is inspired by the Critical Studies course, “Borges and the Political,” taught by Borges scholar and political theorist Martin Plot. Participating artists include: Anya Levy, Andrew Young, Chris Dyson, Alice Lang, Cori Redstone, Daniel Bruinooge, Danielle Bustillo, Drew Straus, Jihyun Kim, Joey Cannizzaro, Johanna Kozma, Justin Crosby, Lucia Prancha, Nicholas Johnston, Nick Saltrese, Nick Hanson, Christopher Cole, Stephanie Deumer, Maria Valentina Pelayo, Megan Broughton, Nathaniel Deines, and Suzanne Kite. The closing party will take place on Thursday, January 30th from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in C-Art, and from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in the Butler Building. Wine and cheese will be served. At 8:00 p.m. closing performances will take place in the Cube (inside Butler Building.) The exhibition will also be accompanied by an artist book, which includes an introduction by Martin Plot and original texts by the artists. More info: Chaos_&_Cosmos.pdf
  • Continental Philosophy Review has published MA alumn Dan DiPiero's review of Martín Plot's edited collection Claude Lefort: Thinker of the Political.  
  • Welcome back! Spring 2014 Interventions line-up is now available through the link on the left. Visiting speakers are Bruce Robbins, giovanni singleton, Fred Moten, and Ian Bogost. Fred Moten is also our Theorist in Residence for the Spring. 

Fall 2013

  • Video from our Fall 2013 "The Politics of Parametricism" conference is now available through these links:

Part 1: Keynotes, Friday 15th November 2013

Part 2: Panel 1, Saturday 16th November 2013

Part 2: Panel 2, Saturday 16th November 2013

Part 2: Panel 3, Saturday 16th November 2013

  • Video from the Hannah Arendt conference earlier this semester, featuring Martín Plot: Please find a link to the videos of the lectures of the first conference day at the Villa Aurora on the following website: or at
  • Double feature at the West Hollywood Public Library, on Friday November 22nd: from 3-6pm, poet and literary theorist Stathis Gourgouris will discuss his new book Lessons in Secular Criticism. This will be Stathis' second visit to the program. At 8pm, WHAP! presents a "Science and Its Fictions" panel, with Amanda Beech, Arman Avanessian, and Reza Negarestani. We know it's a long drive to West Hollywood, but this is a two-for-one deal... 


  • The School of Film/Video, in collaboration with the MA Aesthetics and Politics program, ICAP & The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences proudly presents “The First Lady of Iranian Cinema”, Award-Winning Filmmaker Rakhshan Banietemad in residence at CalArts and REDCAT, November 18-22.

REDCAT, Mon. Nov. 18, 8:30 pm, Jack H. Skirball Series: “The Hidden Cost of Violence”.

Iran’s most celebrated female filmmaker, Rakhshan Banietemad, screens two passionate and fascinating explorations of the impact of the recent electoral processes in Iran. We Are Half of Iran's Population (Ma Nimi Az Jameiate Iranim, 2009, video, 42 min) shows a diverse coalition of women’s rights activists engaged in the political debate. In the world premiere of See You Tomorrow Elina! (Farda Mibinamet Elina, 2013, DVD, 52 min), Banietemad returns to the kindergarten where she had enrolled her daughter, Baran—now an actress and activist who has since appeared in many of Banietemad’s narrative films. The film compares the violence witnessed by Iranian kindergarten students during the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s with that of the recent political protests following the country’s 2009 elections.

CalArts, Tue. Nov. 19, 7:00 pm, Bijou Auditorium, “Structuring Strategies”: Under the Skin of the City (Zir-e Pust-e Shahr, 2001). 

Rakhshan Banietemad's urban drama centers on Tuba (Golab Adineh), a factory worker and matriarch of a raucous Tehran family. Her older daughter is pregnant and married to an abusive husband. The younger one (Baran Kosari), a high school student, is consumed with worry over a neighbor girl who suffers abuse at the hands of her father. Her youngest son is caught up in political radicalism and in danger of derailing his college aspirations, and the older one, Abbas (Mohammad Reza Forutan), is disgusted with his dead-end job and will do almost anything to realize his dream of moving to Japan to support the family… 

Thursday, Nov 21, 1:00 pm, Bijou Auditorium: A joint event between the Seminar “Femininity as Performance,” the FDP Visiting Artist Program and the MA Aesthetics and Politics program: Nargess (1992). 

Banietemad’s fourth narrative feature, Nargess, brought her renown with its enthralling story of a young working-class woman who captivates a lonely thief. Estranged from his family, the criminal turns to his accomplice and sometime lover for her assistance in securing Nargess’s hand in marriage. The older woman agrees, on the condition that he remain her partner in crime and that they rekindle their relationship. Banietemad uses the fractured love triangle as a poetic compass to chart the map of a nation torn between traditional social and gender roles and driven by a raw cupidity for wealth at any cost. 

  • Livestream the Politics of Parametricism Conference here.
  • From MA candidate Tatiana Vahan; and with some of the art students who have been taking our core and elective courses over the years... 

  • Friday, November 15th and Saturday, November 16th, at REDCAT: "The Politics of Parametricism: Digital Technologies and the Future(s) of Sociality". Organized by MA program alumn Manuel Shvartzberg and Matthew Poole, this conference is part of the digital studies initiative that the MA program launched in collaboration with French philosopher of technology Bernard Stiegler in the Fall of 2012. The conference will continue some of the themes of our Fall 2012 "The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism" conference.


  • Thursday, November 14th, 4-7pm, at CalArts (Butler Building 4): a workshop about parametricism, with architect Liss C. Werner. Titled "Parametricism: Aesthetics and Architecture--a Continuum", the workshop will introduce students to key issues related to parametricism.
  • Lydia Davis reads from her work Tuesday November 12th, 7-9pm, at LANGLEY! This reading is part of the Interventions course. There will be another reading tomorrow at REDCAT. More info on the REDCAT website. 
  • Martín Plot at "What is Politics?" conference about Hannah Arendt. November 9th and 10th, at Villa Aurora and Skirball Cultural Center. 

  • Douglas Kearney and Tisa Bryant on "textual orality" at Eastern Michigan University this week
  • CalArts and UCLA present: "Three lectures by Bernard Stiegler". Bernard Stiegler is the director of the department of cultural development at the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris and also a professor at the University of Technology of Compiègne where he teaches philosophy. Before taking up the post at the Pompidou Center, he was program director at the International College of Philosophy, Deputy Director General of the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, then Director General at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM). In 2010 he founded the high school and international graduate school of philosophy, Ecole de Philosophie d’Epineuil-le-Fleuriel. Stiegler has published numerous books and articles on philosophy, technology, digitization, capitalism, consumer culture, etc. He is one of the founders of the political group Ars Industrialis based in Paris, which calls for an industrial politics of spirit, by exploring the possibilities of the technology of spirit, to bring forth a new “life of the mind.” With the support of the Mission Culturelle et Universitaire of the French Embassy in the US.


“On Automatization”, Saturday, October 26th, Reception 4pm, Lecture 5pm, UCLA, Architecture and Urban Design, 1317 Perloff Hall

 “On Abbas Kiarostami’s Close Up, Monday, October 28th, Lecture 3pm, CalArts, MA Aesthetics and Politics, West Hollywood library Community Room, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd.

“On Friendship and Neighbors”, Tuesday, Oct 29, Lecture 4pm, UCLA, Humanities Building 193.

  • The Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts invites you to the Retirement Concert of Contemporary Musical Artist and African-American Creative Music Legend, Wadada Leo Smith. Wadada, the Golden Quartet and the Pacific Red Coral Ensemble will perform three sections of his Pulitzer-nominated (finalist) Ten Freedom Summers collection. 

Panel Discussion: Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 2 pm, Wild Beast.

Emancipatory Aesthetics

Anthony Davis, Guest Speaker (UCSD, composer of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X)

Charles Gaines (School of Art)

Douglas Kearney (School of Critical Studies)

Wadada Leo Smith

Concert: Ten Freedom Summers

Wednesday, October 23, 2013, Noon, Main Gallery

  • "Is there anyone here?" I was asking about the city. Please join us for World Two of the "Interventions" Series, as literary innovator Renee Gladman reads from and discusses her ongoing series about the invented city-state of Ravicka. Reception to follow. Tuesday, October 22nd, 7-9 pm. Butler Building #4, CalArts. Gladman is assistant professor of Literary Arts at Brown University. She received a B.A. in philosophy from Vassar College, and a Master’s degree in poetics from New College of California. She is the author of six works of prose, and one collection of poetry. Since 2005, she has operated Leon Works, an independent press for experimental prose and other thought-projects based in the sentence, making occasional forays into poetry.
  • Join us for the yearly MA thesis reading on Thursday October 3rd, at 7pm, in the library. Speaker line-up will include students from the 2012-2013 academic year. This event will also be the book launch for our MA student writing anthology, In/Form. This year's volume, edited by Douglas Kearney and designed by Jacob Halpern, is titled Poly-. Come get your free copy! 

  • The third volume of Cahiers du post-diplôme, published by our partner program in France (European School of Visual Arts), is now out. The volume includes a text by MA faculty Arne De Boever.


  • The Italian philosophy journal Azimuth publishes its aesthetics and politics issue, with contributions by MA faculty Arne De Boever and Martín Plot and MA program alumn Manuel Shvartzberg. Other contributors include Fredric Jameson and Thomas Macho.

  • Does the secret to neo-liberalism's success lie in the novels of Ayn Rand? Come hear noted cultural studies scholar Lisa Duggan unpack Rand's affective intervention into the twentieth--and twenty-first--century U.S. political landscape. Enjoy a lively discussion with MFA Creative Writing Program and MA Aesthetics & Politics students and faculty as we kick off our "Interventions" visitors series. Tuesday, September 24th, 7--9pm in BB4 Seminar Room, with wine and cheese reception to follow. More info on our Interventions page.


  • In the Spring 2014, we'll be welcoming Fred Moten as our Theorist in Residence. This residency will mark Fred's second visit to the program. More info on our Theorist in Residence page. 
  • We're extremely pleased to announce that Travis Wilkerson will be joining us this semester as Visiting Faculty. A filmmaker working in the tradition of "third cinema", Travis will be teaching the MA core course "Critical Discourse in the Arts and the Media". More info on our Visiting Faculty page. 
  • Welcome back! All of our WHAP! events are up. Most of the speakers in our brand-new Interventions course have now been announced. The program for our Fall conference on parametricism--see image below--has also been posted. So mark your calendars!

Image courtesy Peter Vikar

Spring 2013

  • Congrats to our graduates! Enjoy the Summer! 
  • New issue of Parrhesia live now! 
  • Friday, may 3rd, at 1 pm: Conversation about media, architecture, and speculative fiction of the American landscape with artist Connie Samaras, Kate Marshall, and curator Matthew Poole as a respondent, Caldwell Gallery, Armory Center for the Arts, 1 pm, 145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, 91103. 
  • April 17th-18th: film-philosopher John Mullarkey joins us as our Theorist in Residence. John will be teaching a faculty seminar on Wednesday and a student seminar on Thursday, and give a public lecture on Thursday, at 4pm, in LANGLEY on cinema, objects, and animals. With Michael Pisaro from the School of Music as a respondent.
  • For her show, "we don´t just want a piece of the pie, we want the whole fucking bakery!" (April 15th-19th, Mint Gallery), Karin Winkler will be hosting Emory Douglas, former minister of culture of the Black Panther Party. Douglas will lecture at CalArts on Monday April 15th, at 7pm, A211 H (art office). The lecture will be followed by a conversation about the Black Panther Party and the grammars of current movements, moderated by Paula Cobo Guevara (MA candidate, Aesthetics and Politics). 
  • Thursday, April 11th, 6pm, F200: Anton Vidokle and Julieta Aranda from e-flux. In collaboration with the School of Art's Paul Brach Visiting Artist Lecture series. 
  • On Thursday, April 11th the MA program will host, in collaboration with Rebecca Baron from the School of Film/Video, graduate students and faculty from the European School of Visual Arts. We will meet on Thursday, April 11th, from 4-7pm at the Bijou for some screenings curated by Rebecca and her students, and for an open discussion about translation with ESVA faculty Stephen Wright and MA faculty Arne De Boever.
  • CalArts' MFA Creative Writing Program is delighted to welcome Edwidge Danticat as the inaugural voice in its new writer-in-residence program. On  April 10, 2013, Danticat will give a public presentation in BB#4 on the CalArts campus from 7:30 - 9:00 PM.  We hope you can join us! Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the American Book Award, the Pushcart Short Story Prize and a MacArthur “Genius Award," Edwidge Danticat's work focuses on Haitian and Haitian-American experiences, particularly the lives of women and their relationships.  Her eight books include Breath, Eyes, Memory; Krik? Krak!; The Dew Breaker; The Farming of Bones; Brother, I’m Dying and Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work. She holds a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.F.A. from Brown University and has served as a visiting professor of creative writing at New York University (from 1996 to 1997) and the University of Miami (from 2000 to 2008).
  • April 7: LA Walking Tour led by Aesthetics and Politics faculty, Norman Klein. The tour will start at 10:45 AM, at the corner of Douglas and Carroll Avenues, in Angelino Heights, with lunch at Philippe's in Chinatown. Of the tour, Klein says: “The fissures and contested spaces within this seemingly gentrified space reveal dozens of plans that went sour, dozens of events that only exist as traces today... The location allows us to box the compass, and begin to understand how power, infrastructure, race and class have evolved over the past century; and essentially where to look next.”  
  • Thursday, March 14th: workshop with Brian Massumi and Erin Manning. At LANGLEY, from 4-7pm. More info about Brian and Erin on the TEDx website, linked in the item below.
  • Poetry Magazine has a podcast with Douglas Kearney reading one of his poems published in their March 2013 issue.
  • On March 9th, our colleagues from the Center for New Performance are hosting TEDx CalArts, on "Performance, Body, and Presence." Douglas Kearney is part of the line-up. Franco "Bifo" Berardi will be skyping in from Berlin. Our MA students are writing up responses to the conference that will be published in the event catalogue.
  • If you are in Berlin March 7th-9th, join us for The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 2. Arne De Boever is speaking on Friday, the 8th, in response to a panel featuring Maurizio Lazzarato and Matteo Pasquinelli. On Saturday, March 9th the book from the first psychopathologies conference, hosted by the MA program in LA in November 2012, will be launched. On Friday, March 7th, Arne is also running a workshop about his own books at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. And one more event to attend: Dean of Critical Studies Amanda Beech is lecturing about her own work at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt on Thursday, March 6th... So a full calendar for next week!
  • Thursday, February 28th: at REDCAT, at 8:30pm: In Search of UIQ, with James Wiltgen. From the REDCAT brochure: Following the publication of A Thousand Plateaus, a work that marked a highpoint in his creative partnership with Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari began working on a screenplay for a science-fiction film, Un amour d’UIQ. This script, which preoccupied Guattari’s attention for seven years, represented a blueprint for a subversive popular cinema through an imagined hyper-intelligent infra-cellular life substance—“UIQ” (Universe Infra-quark)—capable of controlling global communications networks and plugging into the “desiring machines” of a community of squatters. After discovering the unpublished script, Paris-based artists and filmmakers Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson initiated a multiform research project that culminates in their film essay In Search of UIQ, which takes on Guattari’s central quandary: how to give shape to a bodiless entity, seemingly without spatial or temporal limits. 
  • Talk: "What is a Paradigm? On Examples and Exceptions in the Philosophy of Giorgio Agamben". Monday, Febr. 25th, 12n-1:30pm, Butler Building (Cube). Leland de la Durantaye is the author of Style is Matter: The Moral Art of Vladimir Nabokov (2007) and Giorgio Agamben: A Critical Introduction (2009).  Alongside of his academic work he writes for Bookforum, Cabinet, The Believer, The Boston Globe, The Harvard Review, the Village Voice  and The New York Times. He is an Associate Professor of Literature at Claremont McKenna College. 
  • On Monday, January 28th the MA program is hosting Alberto Toscano. Alberto will be giving a talk titled "Socialist Transparency and Capitalist Ventriloquism: Political Economies of Representation". Butler Building (Cube), 12n-1-30pm. Alberto teaches at Goldsmiths, University of London. He sits on the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism and edits the Italian List for Seagull Books. He is the author of Fanaticism: On the Uses of an Idea (London: Verso, 2010), and is currently completing a book on the aesthetics of capital with Jeff Kinkle, Cartographies of the Absolute (forthcoming from Zero Books).
  • Welcome back! Check out the program for the Aesthetics and Politics lecture series and the WHAP! series following the links on the left. The A&P lecture series is hosted by Martín Plot and promises to immerse you in some of the most exciting political thinking and art-making today. This semester's installment of WHAP! looks like a best-of Critical Studies: with events featuring Martín Plot, James Wiltgen, Douglas Kearney Mady Schutzman, Ken Ehrlich, Amanda Beech, and some of our alumns, the series includes debates about politics, lliterature, architecture, urban design, as well as film-screenings... 

Fall 2012

  • From Janet Sarbanes, director of the MFA writing program: I'm pleased to announce that the Writing Program will be co-sponsoring the 2013 EMP.LA Pop Music Conference, which will take place from April 19-20th at USC and REDCAT. This is a really lively conference that includes not only cultural studies scholars and musicologists, but music writers, musicians and fans. The preferred deadline for proposals is December 21st. The theme is "Locals Only" but you are not required to write about LA, just encouraged to think about music and location.  
  • Coming up: The first SPRAWL event of the year will take place on Wednesday, November 28 at 7:30pm in The Cube (BB #4)! This is an open mic event. MFA1's and 2's in the Writing, Writing for Performance, and Aesthetics and Politics programs are invited to share original work and hear what their peers have been working on, all while enjoying some adult beverages (read: there will be a bartender) and FOOD. Really, what could be more delightful? Nothing. We want to hear poems, short stories, excerpts of longer pieces, plays, songs, musical instruments-- whatever you've got, we're not picky. Just keep it under 10 minutes for the first round, please! 
  • Join us Fri. Nov. 9th-Sun. Nov. 11th for: The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part One. Hosted by Arne De Boever (MA Aesthetics and Politics program, CalArts), Warren Neidich (Delft school of Design, TU Delft School of Architecture), and Jason Smith (Art Center). The conference begins on Friday, November 9th, 7:30 p.m. at the Goethe-Institute (5750 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles) with a keynote address by Franco “Bifo” Berardi (introduced by Sylvère Lotringer) and continues on Saturday, November 10th and Sunday, November 11th beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the West Hollywood Public Library (626 N. San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles). Speakers will include: Jonathan Beller, Jodi Dean, Tiziana Terranova, Patricia Pisters, and Bruce Wexler. No registration is required and the public is invited for free. The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 2 will be held at the ICI-Berlin, March 8-10, 2013. More info on our conferences page.
  • Global studies alert (2): Film at REDCAT & The School of Film/Video in collaboration with Intercultural Arts Project Committee (ICAP), The Office of the Provost & The MA Aesthetics and Politics Program proudly present: 3 screenings/presentations by Trinh T. Minh-ha. Join us Wed. Nov. 7th, 8:30 pm at REDCAT for Surname Viet, Given Name Nam; Thu. Nov. 8th, 7:00 pm at CalArts, Bijou Auditorium for Shoot for the Contents; and Fri. Nov. 9th, 4:00 pm at CalArts, Bijou Auditorium for Naked Spaces - Living is Round. Born in Vietnam, Trinh T. Minh-ha is a filmmaker, writer and composer. She has traveled and lectured extensively—in the States, as well as in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand—on film, art, feminism, and cultural politics. She taught at the National Conservatory of Music in Dakar, Senegal; at universities such as Cornell, San Francisco State, Smith, Harvard, Ochanomizu (Tokyo), Ritsumeikan (Kyoto), Dongguk (Seoul); and is Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Global studies alert (1): James L. Gelvin, Professor of Middle Eastern History at UCLA, author of the recent book, The Arab Uprising: What Everyone Needs to Know, will come speak on Wednesday Nov. 7th at CalArts, in the context of MA faculty Chandra Khan’s “Nonviolent Social Movements” course. We will meet in Langley from 2-3:15 pm. The title of Professor Gelvin's talk will be: "The Arab Uprisings: What We Have Learned After Two Years."
  • From our friends in the MFA writing progam: On Saturday October 27th, you'll have the opportunity to hear readings by six different conceptual women writers at three different alternative art venues in Chinatown Los Angeles.  Audience members are invited to choose the order in which they experience this “distributed” book launch.  Co-sponsored by the CalArts MFA Writing Program and Les Figues Press, Some Assembly Required celebrates the exciting new anthology I'll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing By Women (Les Figues 2012), which features work by 64 writers from 10 countries, including CalArts faculty members Jen Hofer and Christine Wertheim.

  • Check out the interview with MA faculty Norman Klein in the Los Angeles Review of Books
  • For those of you who are interested in speculative realism/ materialism: Armen Avanessian will be giving a talk on Tuesday, October 23rd, titled "Speculative Poetics: Introduction to a Work in Progress." We'll meet at 12n, in the Butler Building (Cube). Born in Vienna, Armen Avanessian studied philosophy and political science in Vienna, and in Paris with Jacques Rancière. After completing his dissertation in literature, “Phenomenology of the Ironic Intellect: Ethics, Poetics, and Politics of Modernity,” he worked as a freelance journalist and editor (at Le Philosophoire) in Paris, and then in publishing in London. In 2007, he returned to academia to begin his current position as a researcher at the "Collaborative Research Center 626: Aesthetic Experience and the Dissolution of Artistic Limits,” at the Free University Berlin. In 2011, he was a Visiting Fellow in the German Department at Columbia University.


  • MA program alumn Shoghig Halajian is curating Nothing is forgotten, some things considered, which opens at UKS in Oslo this Friday, October 19th. The group show includes work by MA alumn Jumana Manna (in collaboration with MA faculty Norman Klein). Nothing is forgotten, some things considered explores the politics of image-making and its impact on individual and collective identity. At a moment when the dominance of neoliberalism and its attending crisis questions the smooth image of corporate capitalism, the exhibition brings together artists who challenge dominant modes of representation within historical and political discourses. It investigates the multifarious sites of power that construct identity, ranging from national archives to media coverage of protest, and consequently presents a generative tension between ideology and experience. Contributors include: Liz Glynn with Mark Allen, William E. Jones, Raimundas Malašauskas with Valentinas Klimašauskas, Jumana Manna with Norman Klein and Rana Issa, Laure Prouvost, Christine Rebet, Emily Roysdon and Wu Tsang with Roya Rastegar.  
  • The new journal ARCHITECTURE_Media_Politics_Society publishes a paper by Manuel Shvartzberg. The paper was written while Manuel was a student in the MA program. 
  • On Tuesday, October 2nd, we are screening François Lagarde's new documentary film Simondon of the Desert as part of WHAP! This will be the US premiere of the film. The director will be present to discuss the film with us afterwards. Read more about it on the 24700 blog. 
  • On Sunday, September 30th, we continue our collaboration with the City of West Hollywood at the West Hollywood book fair. Douglas Kearney will be reading from his work from 12:45-1:45pm on the Poetry Corner stage. Martín Plot will be moderating a panel titled "State of the Union", featuring Nancy L. Cohen, Paddy Hirsch, Robert Scheer, and Mel White (Park Stage, 1-2pm).
  • Tomorrow, at 6pm, Martín Plot's contemporary political thought course is hosting Avery Gordon. Gordon is Professor of Sociology at the University of California Santa Barbara and Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Center for Research Architecture, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is the author of Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination and Body Politics. Her work focuses on radical thought and practice and over the last several years, she has been writing about imprisonment, war and other forms of dispossession and how to eliminate them. Gordon has co-hosted “No Alibis,” a weekly public affairs radio program on KCSB 91.9 FM Santa Barbara. In collaboration with the School of Art. 

  • From our friends at UC Irvine: Being Political Popular: South Korean Art at the Intersection of Popular Culture and Democracy, 1980-2010--held at UAG, University of California Irvine. The show is up until November 20.
  • This Thursday, September 20th @ 7pm, three graduating MA students--Linette Park, Manuel Shvartzberg, and Seth Stewart--will present their theses in the library. Please join us in celebrating their work! Topics will range from the Occupy Movement, to the concept of radicality in art and architecture, to dandyism and the care of the self. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be served. 
  • The MA Aesthetics and Politics program returns to West Hollywood for WHAP!, a year-long series of lectures and events. This Friday, September 21st, Martín Plot will be hosting author, historian, civic leader and political commentator Nancy Cohen and West Hollywood councilmember John Duran for a conversation about electoral politics and the fight for equality. The conversation will take place in the library community room (upstairs), from 7:30-9pm. All of our events are free and open to the public. Pay parking is available in the library structure, and we'll validate your parking ticket for you. For more information about the other events we have lined up for the semester, please go to our website.
  • MA-program orientation: Thursday, September 6th, at 1pm, in room D-206. Come and hang out with the faculty and your fellow students, and meet our new dean, associate dean, and the administrative staff!  

Summer 2012

  • For those of you who are enrolling for courses: the list of Fall electives has now been posted on our electives page. Core course descriptions have also been updated... 
  • We are delighted to announce that Rita Gonzalez, Associate Curator in the Department of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will be our Visiting Faculty for the Fall 2012 semester. Rita's course (the Fall 2012 Aesthetics and Politics lecture series seminar) will explore current conversations and debates driving the contemporary art curatorial field. More info to be posted on our Visiting Faculty page soon. 
  • In the Fall of 2012, the MA program is starting a collaboration with the internationally known French philosopher of technology Bernard Stiegler, a recent visitor to the program. Within the framework of the New Industrial World Forum held annually at Centre Pompidou for the last 5 years, Stiegler's Institute for Research and Innovation will dedicate the upcoming 2012 forum to the question of Digital Studies. We were invited to contribute to "a public and international scientific debate on the status of digital technologies in contemporary societies and those societies to come.” 
  • As part of the digital studies-initiative (see previous item), and in conjunction with the 2012-2013 WHAP! lecture series, we will host from Friday, November 9th until Sunday, November 11th a conference on “The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part One” at the Goethe-Institute and at the West Hollywood public library. Featured speakers include: Jonathan Beller, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Jodi Dean, Patricia Pisters, Tiziana Terranova, Bruce Wexler. The conference will include a graduate student panel. The second part of the conference will take place at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, in March 2013. In collaboration with Warren Neidich and Jason Smith.
  • With designer and CalArts student Armando Martinez-Celiz, Douglas Kearney and Arne De Boever have been putting together the first MA-program publication: an anthology of student writings titled In/Form. The volume, which will become part of a yearly series, will be launched in September, during our yearly thesis reading event (hosted by Brena Smith).
  • Theory Tuesdays becomes Theory Thursdays: MA-candidates Linette Park and Manuel Shvartzberg will curate a year-long series of reflections on "The Commons". Meetings will take place on selected Thursday afternoons, between 4-7pm. CalArts has recently set aside this time as a 3-hour period during which no classes are scheduled and interdisciplinary work between students from different schools can happen. "The Commons" is launched as the MA students' contribution to this exciting new intiative.
  • WHAP!, or the West Hollywood Aesthetics and Politics lecture series, will continue in 2012-2013 with a year-long line-up of debates, film screenings, and other events. Check out the series' webpage in early September for a list of what will be on offer.
  • François Lagarde's documentary film Simondon of the Desert (with Arne De Boever) was selected (hors compétition) for the International Festival of Documentary Film in Marseilles. The film, which revolves around the enigmatic French philosopher Gilbert Simondon, will be screened--with English subtitles--on Tuesday, October 2nd as part of the West Hollywood lecture series. More info, including a trailer, here (French required...).

Spring 2012

  • Congratulations to the 2010-2011 MA-candidates who are graduating today! Come join us for the party at CalArts... and have a great Summer! 
  • In theaters this Summer: Heidi Smith's animated feature ParaNorman. Heidi was a student of Norman Klein's at CalArts, and the character of Norman in the film is partly based on him. Trailer below.

  • Join us on Wednesday, May 9th for the book launch of CELL, a collection of essays and fiction created out of the Body Cluster courses from the Fall 2011 semester. The books will be available and free to take! There will be a few brief readings from the publication, as well as discussion of the Body Cluster and the work it inspired to create. Refreshments and snacks will round out your bodily experience. Time: 7-9 PM. Location: Butler Building 4 (Cube).
  • On Friday, May 4th, MA candidates Geoff Derven and Manuel Shvartzberg will be presenting their work at "Principles of Uncertainty", an interdisciplinary conference on Critical Theory hosted by the Comparative Literature Department at the CUNY Graduate Center. Manuel's paper is titled "The Uncertain Architecture of Democracy" and Geoff's is called "Beyond Interpretation?". They are presenting on the panel, "Art and Aesthetics", moderated by Professor Nico Israel. The panel will go from 9:30-11am, and will be held in room 8402. Come join the conversation if you're in New York!
  • On Friday, May 4th we are hosting the last WHAP! event for this academic year. Architect Ric Abramson and MA faculty Norman Klein will be discussing the future of West Hollywood, in a conversation moderated by MA program alumn and West Hollywood city councilmember John D'Amico. More info on our WHAP! page
  • MA faculty Douglas Kearney talks to Melissa F. Alvarado on blogtalkradio. Tune into the conversation here
  • Theory Tuesdays closes on April 24th with a performance piece by artist Warren Neidich: The Noologist's Handbook. We'll start at 12n, and go until 1:30pm. Pizza and soda will be served. Bring three objects that are meaningful to you... All are welcome!
  • On April 17th, the MA program and the Herb Alpert School of Music are hosting French philosopher François Noudelmann as part of the Theory Tuesdays forum. François will present material from his recently translated book The Philosopher's Touch, which deals with Sartre, Nietzsche, and Barthes at the piano. We'll be meeting in the Butler Building (Cube), from 12n-1:30pm. Pizza and soda will be served.

  • MA faculty and program founder Martín Plot just published "Our Element: Flesh and Democracy in Merleau-Ponty" in Continental Philosophy Review and "Lefort and the Question of Democracy--In America" in Constellations. Last week, he delivered the academic year's "Inaugural Lecture" at IDAES/UNSAM in Argentina: "Political Theology, Political Aesthetics".
  • Theory Tuesdays continues, on Tuesday April 10th, with Stathis Gourgouris. Stathis' talk will be entitled: "Archè and Infinity of a Political Cosmos." Stathis Gourgouris received his PhD in Comparative Literature at UCLA in 1990. He has published two books: Dream Nation: Enlightenment, Colonization, and the Institution of Modern Greece (Stanford UP, 1996) and Does Literature Think? Literature as Theory for an Antimythical Era (Stanford UP, 2003). He is also a poet, with three books of poetry in Greek, and many poems published in English in anthologies and journals such as Harvard Review, Jacaranda Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, Compages, and the LA Weekly. As usual, we'll meet in the Butler Building (Cube), at 12n. Pizza and soda will be served.


  • MA-candidate Manuel Shvartzberg is presenting a paper titled "The Architecture of Radicality: Between Soft and Hard Institutions" on April 7th at the UCSD "New Institutions" conference. Grant Kester will be the respondent for his panel. 
  • Double WHAP! in the first week after Spring break: on Tuesday, April 3rd, Catherine Malabou will be speaking at the West Hollywood library. We'll meet there again on Friday, April 6th, for a screening of two films by Érik Bullot. Arne De Boever and Critical Studies' resident biologist Mike Bryant will be responding to Malabou's talk; on Friday, we'll be joined by Rebecca Baron (Film/Video) and Jon Nelson-Wagner (MFA writing) for conversation after the screening. Rebecca Baron's film The Idea of North will be on the bill as well...


  • MA-candidate Linette Park is curating this week's Theory Tuesdays: Please join us for a double-serving on March 20th with MA faculty Douglas Kearney and Music faculty Michael Pisaro, whose elective courses have wowed MA students over the years. They will offer presentations about the cut and the pocket found in music, the "mess," and aesthetics--along with a close-listening of Dilla's "Donuts." The presentations will held at the Butler Building from 12-1:30pm. Pizza and soda will be provided. 
  • Theory Tuesdays, on March 13th, with MA in Aesthetics and Politics visiting scholar Birk Weiberg. The title of Birk's talk will be: "Aesthetics and Techniques of Cinematic Composite Images". We'll be meeting in the Butler Building (Cube), at 12n. Pizza and soda will be served. All welcome!
  • Join us for a conversation with political thinker Étienne Balibar this Friday, at the new West Hollywood library! The topic of Étienne's talk will be the relation between the political and the religious. For more info, see our WHAP! page. Below, CalArts students Geoff Derven (MA) and Jamie Pea (BFA) at WHAP! 


  • We're having a theory tuesdays on February 28th (12n, Butler Building/Cube) with Jaspar Joseph-Lester from Sheffield-Hallam university in the UK. Jaspar will be presenting some of his own work; he'll also be introducing the practice-based PhD program at Sheffield-Hallam with which we began to collaborate last year. As usual, pizza and soda will be provided. Below, the cover of the new Transmissions Annual, titled Provocation, and edited by Jaspar. 

  • On February 25th, MA program alumn Claudia Slanar will be presenting her work on a panel on feminist art education today: What is the value of feminist arts pedagogy today? In the years since Judy Chicago initiated the first Feminist Art Program in 1970, women students have called for their own opportunities to define and discuss their relationship to feminism. At CalArts, twice in the past 15 years, students have unearthed the documents of the Feminist Art Program, and organized symposia to convene multiple feminist generations for discussion. What do current scholarship and art practices reflect, regarding feminism? Is there a need for women-only studio classes? In addition to a lively discussion of these questions, we will screen “Define,” a video meditation on the semiotics of ethnic female identity by O.Funmilayo Makarah, and scholar Claudia Slanar will deliver an illustrated lecture on previously undiscovered 1970s feminist works.
  • This Wednesday, February 22nd, MA in Aesthetics and Politics Visiting Faculty Kate Elswit is hosting theatre and performance scholar Nicholas Ridout for a conversation about theatre and politics today. We will be meeting at the West Hollywood library, at 7pm. For more info, check out our WHAP! page. 
  • On Thursday February 16th, the MA program and the Film Directing Program will be screening Dominique Deruddere's film Everybody's Famous!, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2000. Dominique will join us for a Q&A at the Bijou after the screening. For details, check the schedule outside of the Bijou... 

  • From Chandra Khan: Wednesday February 1, 3:30--5:00 PM, CalArts Main Gallery: A Forum on Violence Against Women. This Dynamic Forum will present multiple perspectives on Issues of violence against women, highlighting mass rapes in militarized zones and grassroots efforts to end violence against women. Presented as part of the Collaborative course cluster, “Women, Community Engagement, Resistance and Transdisciplinary Activism.” This Calarts event is part of  Getty Pacific Standard Time events throughout Southern California. For this event, we will be working with artist Suzanne Lacy.
  • Welcome back everyone! First theory tuesdays of the semester will be on Tuesday, January 24th, with MA program visiting faculty Kate Elswit. The title of Kate's talk will be: "Watching After Weimar: Dance's Intellectual Property and the Protection of Memory". As usual, we will be meeting in the Cube, from 12n-1:30pm. Pizza and soda will be served.


  • Out now, with Edinburgh University Press: Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology, co-edited by Arne De Boever. This collection of essays, including one by Simondon himself, outlines the central tenets of Simondon's thought, the implication of his thought for numerous disciplines and his relationship to other thinkers such as Heidegger, Deleuze and Canguilhem. The work on the cover is by artist Phil Ross, who spoke at our bioart event last year. 

  • From our friends at UCLA: on Monday Feb. 27, from 4-6pm, in Royce 306, Martin Treml (Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung, Berlin) will be giving a talk entitled “Paulinian Enmity: A story of the correspondence(s) of Jacob Taubes & Carl Schmitt.”
  • From Tom Leeser: In the political hotbed of the 1970s, some artists merged their practice in video or film with their political concerns in an explicit manner, and these artworks play with basic elements of media creation and perception. This screening includes Vicarious Thrills (Roberta Friedman and Grahame Weinbren, 1979), restored print from the Academy Film Archive, and Opposing Views (Tom Leeser, 1980). Dangerous Ideas: Political Conceptual Work in Los Angeles, 1974-1981. On Sunday, January 8th, 3pm, at MOCA (Ahmanson Auditorium). 
  • Check out Adam Berg’s upcoming show Endangered Spaces at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, from January 14th until February 25th.

Fall 2011

  • Last Aesthetics and Politics lecture series event for the semester: Douglas Kearney is hosting Sianne Ngai, who will be giving a talk titled "The Zany Science." For more info, check the lecture series webpage.

  • From faculty member Chandra Khan: The UAM, in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), will mount Peace Press Graphics 1967–1987: Art in the Pursuit of Social Change, a survey of the press’ work and their connections to artist collectives of the time. Founded in 1967 by a unique group of L.A. activist-artists who created an “alternate everything” printing and publishing business, the Peace Press (1967-1987) emerged from the tangle of progressive political and alternative groups that flourished during the decades between 1960 and 1990. The poster archive, now housed at the CSPG in Los Angeles, exemplifies an important element of visual and cultural history: art that reflects the desire and intention to create social and political change, as well as artists who attempt to affect change through both their work and their actions. For more info, check here
  • Last WHAP! event for the semester: this Friday, december 2nd, at the West Hollywood library, Frédéric Neyrat will be speaking about vocabularies and images of catastrophe. For more information, please consult our WHAP! webpage
  • Join us for a conversation on sustaining a creative practice in a condition of collapse: on Monday, 11/21, from 7-9pm, in C-108 (Center for Integrated Media). With Arne De Boever, Anne-Marie Oliver (PNCA), Norman Klein, and Tom Leeser (Art and Technology). Video of the event now available here

  • Out now: Parrhesia 12! The issue includes a special dossier on Jean-François Lyotard's Discourse, Figure, a feature essay by Eugene Thacker titled "Dark Life," and an article by Joseph Tanke on the work of Jacques Rancière. Edited by Arne De Boever, Parrhesia is an open access journal published by the Open Humanities Press
  • "Why is contemporary art addicted to violence?" That is the title of the New York Times' review of Maggie Nelson's The Art of Cruelty. Join us on Friday, November 18th for the third West Hollywood Aesthetics and Politics lecture series event: Maggie will be reading from her book, and the reading will be followed by a discussion with the audience. All are welcome!

  • On Thursday, November 17th, the body cluster is hosting Belgian film director Michaël Roskam. Roskam's award-winning feature film Bullhead will be screening at the Bijou, starting at 1pm. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

  • Two of MA alumn Taras Matla's recent works are featured in See Line Gallery's exhibition Ground Control. Join us at the Pacific Design Center from 5-8pm on Thursday, November 17th for the opening.
  • Aesthetics and Politics lecture series, with Kyla Wazana Tompkins: "Eating the Other, and the Other Eating". Join us at CalArts for the third event in Douglas Kearney's Fall 2011 lecture series. Location: Langley. Time: 7:30-9pm.

  • Third theory tuesdays of the semester, with Andrea Fontenot. The title for Andrea's talk is: "Deeply Superficial": Affect and Collectivity on the Surface. In response to accusations of the superficiality of his work, Warhol once famously proclaimed: "I am deeply superficial." This talk takes Warhol's quip--and the play with surfaces in his work, especially Screen Tests--as a lens through which to explore recent theoretical developments in the humanities that turn away from interpretation as the primary activity of criticism, with particular attention to the practice of surface reading in contemporary queer cultural studies. Location: Butler Building (cube). Time: From 12n-1pm. Pizza and soda will be served.
  • Several MA faculty (core and elective) are involved in the Los Angeles Review of Books, as authors and/or editors. The LARB is a new, Los Angeles based publication that brings together many of our program's interests. Follow the review online, or through its epubs.


  • Last year, Bernard Stiegler visited the MA program and gave a talk titled "The Proletarianization of Sensibility." The talk, translated by Arne De Boever, is now out in Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion. Bernard's visit was organized with the help of our friends at UCLA and UC Irvine, Kenneth Reinhard and Stephen Barker. 

  • Tuesday, November 1st, 12n-1:30pm: second Theory Tuesdays of the semester, with French philosopher Frédéric Worms. The title of Frédéric's talk will be "Care as an orientation in the present time." Location: Butler Building, Cube. Open to MA and MFA students. Pizza and soda will be served. 
  • For students pursuing the global studies concentration: on Monday, October 31st, Vandana Shiva is speaking at Cal Poly Pomona on "Hunger in an Age of Plenty."  More info on the website of the Ahimsa center. 
  • From our friends at USC, for students pursuing the global studies concentration: The Department of French and Italian of the University of Southern California is pleased to announce a one-day symposium marking the fifty-year anniversary of October 17, 1961. On that date, thousands of Algerians demonstrated peacefully in the streets of Paris to protest a curfew imposed upon them in the last days of the Algerian war; dozens if not hundreds were killed in the police crackdown that ensued. Scholars and artists from France, Algeria, and the United States will discuss the history, representation, and legacy of this event. 
  • Join us in the Occupy Wall Street movement today!

  • WHAP!, our brand-new West Hollywood lecture series, starts this Friday, October 14th, with a conversation on street art. Speakers will be the fabulous Sam Durant from CalArts' School of Art, graffiti artist Marquis Lewis (RETNA), and MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch. For more info, please consult our lecture series webpage

  • MA program alumn Nate Schulman gave a lecture and workshop at USC entitled "Getting Graphic: A Lecture and Workshop on the History of Graphic Design in Queer Activism." The slideshow for his talk is below. 

  • Tuesday October 4th: first lecture in the Fall 2011 Aesthetics and Politics Lecture Series! Ernest Hardy will be speaking about "Post Post-Blackness/Queerness in the Visionary 90s". More info here

  • On Wednesday, October 5th the Body Cluster will be hosting Ed Cohen. Ed will be giving a talk entitled "Appreciate Your Genius" in the Butler Building (BB#4) at 7pm. Here's a sneak preview of a video project that Ed is working on with Ardele Lister:
  • REDCAT presents: Faustin Linyekula/Studios Kabako: more more more… future, Wed. Oct. 5 – Sat. Oct. 8, featuring legendary Kinshasa guitarist Flamme Kapaya. more, more, more... future is akin to a live rock concert with a full band accompanying three agile male dancers. Exceptional guitarist, Flamme Kapaya, inserts into the spirit of Congolese pop a hefty dose of punk range and extraordinary energy as a passionate response to Congo’s legacy of war, terror and economic collapse. “To be positive is the most subversive,” Linyekula writes. “Celebrating is a way of resisting.”
  • CalArts Plays Itself opens tomorrow at PACT (Zeche Zollverein) in Essen, Germany. The image below is a still from MA-candidate Jumana Manna's work Coach

  • First Theory Tuesdays coming up, with Spring 2011 visiting scholar Christian Hite: on Tuesday, September 20th, from 12n-1:30pm, in the Butler Building (Cube). Pizza and soda will be served. Open to MA and MFA students as well as faculty. 

  • Register for one or two courses in the interdisciplinary course cluster--Arne De Boever's Contemporary Aesthetic Theory (core course) or Maggie Nelson's class on Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (elective)--and contribute some of your writing to the book that will be designed in Gail Swanlund's BFA class...   

  • Orientation: We will be meeting on Thursday, September 8th from 1-4pm in room D206 for a quick and informal introduction to the program, the curriculum, the core and elective classes, as well as the various events we have lined up for the semester. Around 3pm, we will relocate to the Butler Building for a late lunch with the incoming MFA writing students. At 3:45pm, Alecia Menzano will join us for a brief introduction to the computer lab. Enjoy the last days of the Summer... 
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