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“But I saw something that others did not see”

November 06-08, 2019

“But I saw something that others did not see” 
International Colloquium on the encounter between the work of Werner Herzog and philosophy

 


The visual and written oeuvre of Werner Herzog carries with it a series of contradictions and paradoxes that have been nourished by the author since the beginning of the 1960s. For example, Herzog repeatedly contested any connection to the German tradition (e.g. romantic painting, Weimar cinema) though his films obviously attest of such a connection. Similarly, he always refused an interpretive and scholarly approach to his work and defended its autonomy and irreducibility vis-à-vis discourses other than those found in the films themselves. Contrary to some of his contemporaries in the New German Cinema (e.g. A. Kluge or R.W. Fassbinder) who explicitly refer to existing systems of thought, Herzog never burdened his films with any intellectual reference. Instead, he developed himself a rich thought, showing through his texts and films that the blurring of limits between fiction and documentary is itself paradoxical: the truth of fiction films depends on the actors’ exposure to the material character of the filming process, while, in documentaries, truth can only emerge through a process of rewriting and radical poetization of the real. One of the recurrent topics in Conquest of the Useless sums up all the contradictions and paradoxes at work in Herzog’s oeuvre: what seems peaceful is illusory. The real is turbulent and unstable – it disturbs the senses and leads to a crisis of the intelligibility at the very core of perception itself. However, the author’s response to this crisis is yet another paradoxical gesture for he chooses – similar in this to the protagonists of his films – to exacerbate the problem: rather than turning to a raw and distantly sober cinema as Straub and Huillet, for example, Herzog engages in a cinema of excess – of the excessive character of perception –, the only way for him to escape the logic of representation.

Owing to its inherent paradoxes and contradictions, Herzog’s cinema is a thinking cinema. It pushes us to scrutinize its unsolved aporia, not in order to solve them by identifying the inner logic at work in his films, but to open them up to systems of thought which are not a priori contained in them. This is why we need to approach Herzog’s work from different disciplinary fields (philosophy, anthropology, sociology, literature, psychology, cinema studies, etc.). For the only way to think with the work is to abstain from remaining strictly inside of it, and open it up to different disciplines. The series of working sessions proposed in this colloquium constitute a first step on this path.

 

Program

 

Wednesday November 6, 2019, Goethe-Institut Paris 

9:30 Welcome and Introduction: Une attention au réel qui échappe aux catégories classiques de fiction et de documentaire

 

PANEL 1: POLITICS

10:30 Stefanie Baumann (Université Nouvelle de Lisbonne/IFILNOVA, CineLab): "Ni centré sur la politique, ni politiquement inerte". De la subversion sensible dans les films de Werner Herzog

11:30 Richard Eldridge (Swarthmore College): Herzog’s Courage and the Politics of the Image

12:30 Lunch

 

PANEL 2: NORMS

14:00 Francesco Cattaneo (Université de Bologne): Diving in the Sanctuary. Scientific Knowledge and the Representation of Scientists in Herzog’s Films

15:00 Lison Jousten (Université de Liège): Le Kung-Fu, Fred Astaire et le porno. Quelques aspects du corps paradoxal chez Werner Herzog

16:00 Coffee Break

 

PANEL 3: TEMPORALITIES

16:30 Éric Lecerf (Université Paris 8): Quel territoire assigner à la fable ?

17:30 Chantal Poch (Université Pompeu Fabra): Locked in History: Werner Herzog Between Past and Future

 

19:30 ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION with Barbara Le Maître (Université de Paris Nanterre), Patrick Vauday (Université Paris 8)

 

Thursday, November 7, 2019, Université Paris 8 – Maison de la recherche - Amphi MR 002

9:30 Welcome

 

PANEL 4: CRISES

10:00 Alexander Neumann (Université Paris 8): Lorsque le monde s'effondre les dépris frappent même les héros

11:00 Tadeu Capistrano (Université Fédérale de Rio de Janeiro): Leçons des ténèbres et les spectres de la fin du monde

12:00 Lunch

 

PANEL 5: HISTORIES

13:30 Grégory Cormann & Jeremy Hamers (Université de Liège): Histoires des animaux : Les nains aussi ont commencé petits & Le diamant blanc

14:30 Antoine Janvier (Université de Liège): Les visions de Kaspar (Deleuze & Deligny)

15:30 Coffee Break

 

PANEL 6: SOURCES

16:00 Jennifer Verraes (Université Paris 8): Comme un seul homme : Signes de vie & La grande extase du sculpteur sur bois Steiner

17:00 Vincent Deville (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3): Herzog, lecteur et adaptateur du Lenz de Büchner

 

19:30 TROUND TABLE DISCUSSION with Andrea Cavazzini (Groupe de Recherches Matérialistes), Igor Krtolica (Université Paris 8), Christa Blümlinger (Université Paris 8)

 

Friday, November 8, 2019, Université Paris 8 – Maison de la recherche - Amphi MR 002

9:30 Presentation of the project  ARTEC

10:00 Working Session: Elements of a glossery on Herzog's work and projection of FATA MORGANA (1971)

12:00 Lunch

13:30 Working Session: Elements of the glossery on Herzog's work and projection of COBRA VERDE (1987)

15:30 Coffee Break

16:00 Final discussion 

 

 

 

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Institutions

IFILNOVA
FCSH
UNL
FCT