Aron Vinegar on Barthes' Tendencies
In this lecture, Aron Vinegar, professor at the Dept. of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, will explore the question of "holding forth" that emerged in Roland Barthes' late lecture courses at the Collège de France (1977-80)
Abstract: In this talk, I want to explore the nature of holding forth in Roland Barthes late works. An attentive reading of his three lecture courses and seminars held at the Collège de France between 1977 and his death in1980, as well as other cognate works from around this time, show an obsessive interest in French verbs and nouns derived from the Latin stem “ten” such as tenir, tendant vers, ténacité, ténuité, exténuer, étendre, maintenir. These are the figures—the stances, postures, and bearings—that sustain the force of his late work and embody its ethos. These tenuous yet tenacious gestures are crucial for the way Barthes opens up a way of inhabiting nuance that is neither a hermeneutics, nor a phenomenology, or even a semiology, but rather an intractable and intransitive aesthetics of indifference. I will put these thoughts through their paces by focusing on a section in Barthes’ lecture course The Neutral, where he engages with the grisaille outer panels from Hieronymous Bosch’s winged triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1490-1500).
Aron Vinegar is Professor of Art History in the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo, Norway. His main areas of interest and publication include: modern architecture, design, and the built environment; the intersections of art history, visual studies, theory, and aesthetics; and philosophical approaches to art and architecture. These domains of inquiry are driven by two intersecting constellations of concern: habit and the ‘unthought’, and issues of suspended judgment and ontological indifference. Vinegar is the author of (among other) I AM A MONUMENT: On Learning from Las Vegas (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2008), Heidegger and the Work of Art History (Ashgate Press, 2014, with Amanda Boetzkes) and Relearning from Las Vegas (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009, with Michael Golec)