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Interrupting Kafka: Research Laboratory for Scholarship and Artistic Creativity

Interrupting Kafka

[RG # 160] Interrupting Kafka: Research Laboratory for Scholarship and Artistic Creativity 

October 22, 2019 – January 21, 2020

Organizers:

Ruth Kanner (Tel Aviv University),
Freddie Rokem (Tel Aviv University)

Research assistant: Adi Havin

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The aim of the Interrupting Kafka Research Group (RG) is to create a research laboratory where artistic creativity and academic research can interact with each other as complementary forms of thought and action, sharing the same physical and conceptual spaces. This approach reflects recent developments in the study and research of the humanities and the arts, recognizing that a direct dialogue between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ is crucial for both. The RG will consist of scholars in literary studies, theatre and performance studies, the history of ideas and philosophy as well as artists of theatre, performance and the visual arts.

Franz Kafka’s writings will serve as the point of departure for this collaborative investigation. The theoretical framework is based on Walter Benjamin’s observation in his 1934 landmark essay on the tenth anniversary of Kafka’s death, where he maintains that Kafka’s entire oeuvre “constitutes a code of gestures” for which the theatre, Benjamin emphatically added, is the given place of investigation. Benjamin also provides the basic methodological tools for this investigation by expanding the concept of the caesura, which originally refers to a break or pause in a verse, to include the comprehensive poetic, dramatic and performative principles based on the ‘Interruption’ (die Unterbrechung).

According to Benjamin, the Interruption is one of the constitutive features of Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre, creating gestures on which the principles of estrangement (verfremdung) are based. The RG will open up a new field of study to explore innovative forms of collaborative research by devising and examining a broad range of interruptive interactions and interferences both within and between such gestural codes as well as in the flow of thought and action themselves. These interruptive codes are the intermediate expressions of space/time Benjamin termed the ‘standstill’ (the pause or the break) through which it is possible to perceive, enact and even bring forth a radical change in the order of things.

Additional members of the group were actors from the Ruth Kanner Theater Group: Tali Kark, Shirley Gal, Adi Meirovich, Ronen Babluki, Ebaa Monder, Siwar Awwad, Arnon Rosenthal.

 

 

 

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Ruth Kanner

Ruth Kanner

ORGANIZER
Tel Aviv University
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Ruth Kanner is a Professor at the David and Yolanda Katz Faculty of the Arts at Tel Aviv University. She is also the director of the Ruth Kanner Theatre Group which explores  the surroundings, probing covert layers of the local scene and scenery, by searching for a local theatrical language interweaving storytelling, physical theatre and visual imagery. 

 

Read more about Professor Kanner here.

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Michael-Shadlen

Michael Shadlen

FELLOW
Columbia University

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Michael Shadlen is a Professor of Neuroscience at Columbia University, and a principal investigator at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. He investigates the neural mechanisms that guide decision making, thus offering a window into fascinating aspects of higher brain function, such as reasoning, planning and strategizing. 

2019-2020 Fellow: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Consciousness: an Interdisciplinary Approach to a Perennial Puzzle

Read more about Professor Shadlen here

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Lucia-Melloni

Lucia Melloni

FELLOW
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics

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Lucia Melloni is a Professor at the Department of Neuroscience at Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. She is also Professor at the Department of Neurology at NYU. Her studies investigate how the brain learns to segment continuous speech into relevant units, and where this takes place, by using statistical learning paradigms and intracranial recordings. 

2019-2020 Fellow: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Consciousness: an Interdisciplinary Approach to a Perennial Puzzle

Read more about Professor Melloni here

 

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Rafi Malach

Rafael Malach

FELLOW
Weizmann Institute of Science

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Rafael Malach is a Professor of Brain Research, at the Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science. His research focuses on relating neuronal activity and sensory perception in the human brain. The overall aim is to build an experimentally constrained neuronal theory of human perceptual awareness.

2019-2020 Fellow: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Consciousness: an Interdisciplinary Approach to a Perennial Puzzle

Read more about Professor Malach here

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Ran Hassin

Ran Hassin

FELLOW
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Professor Ran Hassin is currently a member of the Psychology Department The Hebrew University and the Center for the Study of Rationality, and the editor of Oxford University Press’s Social Cognition and Social Neuroscience book series. He is interested in understanding the capabilities of unconscious processes, and in using this knowledge, gain insights into the functions of consciousness. 

2019-2020 Fellow: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Consciousness: an Interdisciplinary Approach to a Perennial Puzzle

Read more about Professor Hassin here

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Daphna Shohamy

Daphna Shohamy

FELLOW
Columbia University

Daphna Shohamy is an associate professor in the Psychology department at Columbia University. Her area of interest is the cognitive neuroscience of learning, memory and decision making. She adopts an integrative approach that draws broadly on neuroscience to make predictions about cognition. Predictions are tested in behavioral and neuroimaging studies in healthy individuals, and in patients with isolated damage to specific brain systems. 

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Deconstructing and Reconstructing Consciousness: an Interdisciplinary Approach to a Perennial Puzzle

consciousness25

[RG # 159]  Deconstructing and Reconstructing Consciousness: an Interdisciplinary Approach to a Perennial Puzzle

September 1, 2019 - January 31, 2020

Organizers:

Leon Y. Deouell (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem),
Daphna Shohamy (Columbia University, New York)

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Consciousness is one of the most fascinating and least understood parts of human nature, and arguably, of nature at large. There is nothing we know more intimately than our conscious experiences – where we love and admire, hate and despise, plan ahead, reflect back, and decide. Yet, we know very little about how these subjective experiences come about; we know very little about the mechanics of what may be the most precious aspect of our mental life: conscious experience.

Understanding consciousness is crucial for modern theories of human cognition.  Without understanding consciousness’ antecedents, functions, and consequences, we cannot understand homo sapiens. Understanding consciousness is also crucial if we want to improve theories of functions that might seem to be especially human such as planning, holding long-term goals, empathizing, and acting according to moral beliefs.

The research group will address consciousness from interdisciplinary perspectives, including social sciences (psychology, cognitive and decision sciences), life sciences (neuroscience), and the humanities (philosophy). It brings together a diverse and extraordinary group of scientists, junior and senior, female and male, from European, American, and Israeli institutions.

 

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Leon Y. Deouell

Leon Y Deouell

FELLOW
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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Leon Deouell is Professor in Brain Research at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He researches the interface between conscious and non-conscious perception, roles of attention and spatial representation in conscious awareness.The focus of the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the Department of Psychology at the Hebrew University is on the interface between automatic, non-conscious stages of information processing in the brain and conscious perception and action. 

2019-2020 Organizer: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Consciousness: an Interdisciplinary Approach to a Perennial Puzzle

Read more about Professor Deouell here

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Ana Vas

Ana Vaz Milheiro

FELLOW
Lisbon University Institute
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Ana Vaz Milheiro is Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture and Urbanism, ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute. She is head researcher for the research project "Homes for the biggest number: Lisbon, Luanda, Macao". Her research interests cover Architecture and Urbanism in Former Portuguese Colonial Territories.

2019-2020 Fellow: Re-theorizing the Architecture of Housing as Grounds for Research and Practice

Read more about Professor Vaz Milheiro here

 

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Sharóne Tomer

Sharóne Tomer

FELLOW
Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design
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Sharóne Tomer is an architect, architectural historian and architectural educator. She is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at Virginia Tech. Her work sits at the intersection of architectural history and urban studies. Her research explores how architectural practices operate within and address conditions of urbanized inequality, with attention to issues of race, gender and climate change. 

2019-2020 Fellow: Re-theorizing the Architecture of Housing as Grounds for Research and Practice

Read more about Professor Tomer here

 

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Re-theorizing the Architecture of Housing as Grounds for Research and Practice

Re-theorizing the Architecture

[RG # 158] Re-theorizing the Architecture of Housing as Grounds for Research and Practice

September 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020

Organizers:

Yael Allweil (Technion Institute of Technology),
Gaia Caramellino (Politecnico di Milano)

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Humanity is facing an ongoing, global housing crisis with major consequences for social stability in cities and nations, and by implication for the lives and health of millions. Theorization of the crisis in housing studies points to neo-liberalisation processes which have since the 1980s transferred responsibility for housing provision from the state to global markets, corporate monopolies, and the dwellers themselves, assigning architects little agency to develop new methodologies for housing as a cultural product. ‘Architecture’ as a cultural product is thus often seen as distinct from ‘housing’ as a socio-economic need.

The vision of this Research Group is therefore a new outlook on the development of the housing crisis and on architecture’s role in addressing it, by rethinking the terminology used to discuss housing, and by developing anew the vocabulary for researching and designing housing for the general public.

 

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