Department of Modern Languages and Cultures

Leap into the void: the lure of emptiness of French theory, art and music

A30 Lecture Theatre, Lakeside Arts
Thursday 10th May 2018 (17:30-19:30)

Free. All welcome. 

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For some reason, French writers, thinkers, artists and musicians have been very interested by the void, by nothingness, absences and emptiness. From Blaise Pascal in the mid 17th century to noise musicians today, it would appear that some sort of ‘nothingness’ or void lies at the centre of some of the most creative cultural productions, a sort of cultural dark matter.

In this talk, I am going to begin with the poetry of Mallarmé, the art of Yves Klein and Marcel Broodthaers, the theories of Blanchot, Baudrillard, Derrida and Deleuze, and end in the work of Romain Perrot (Vomir), leading exponent of harsh noise wall ‘music’. I’ll be hoping to demonstrate that when we start with nothing, and even end in it, we can see the potential of creativity emerge in ways that are far from empty, but instead offer new forms of fullness. Of maybe a new formlessness that is not replete with ordinary stuff, but brimming with excess.

  • Find out more about Paul and his research interests in his staff profile.


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