For the next reading group, following on from The Power of the Powerless by Vaclav Havel (1978) I would like to introduce two forms to the session. The first is an online archive created by artist and professor Marysia Lewandonska called The Women’s Audio Archive.
The archive reflects Lewandonska’s semi nomadic existence at the time having left Poland and living between places in Canada, New York and London. It also reflects her cultural upbringing in a totalitarian, communist state which she writes gives her:
‘a sensitivity to the power of representation, to the original and manipulation of images, thereby influencing her perception of how history is constructed, who keeps the documents, and who has access to public broadcast’
It admits to being a selective commentary in the form of audio recording of private conversations and public recordings from the years 1983 to 1990.
I would like the session to focus on a recording within the archive of a public lecture by Jacques Derrida (1930 – 2004) where he puts forward his position concerning the organising structures of pedagogy. The discussion is based around the practical example of the college International de Philosophie in Paris which he founded in 1983 alongside François Châtelet and Jean-Pierre Faye as an alternative to the mainstream university system. According to Derrida, the university model is a hegemonic pyramid in which philosophy is held as the apex. The aim, Derrida argues, should be to engage in non goal-orientated research. Although Derrida speaks here in the defence of philosophy, he argues this is an issue that affects other subjects such as medicine and cinema, where research is even more heavily linked to economic gain.
The recording is just over an hour and can be found here: http://www.marysialewandowska.com/waa/detail.php?id=4920#