Event and Becoming | Programme | Abstracts | Speakers | CfP

Event and Becoming: the Inaugural 2021 Ereignis Conference


How does the event puncture the smooth flow of becoming? And what is it like, the event in which we become ourselves?

These are among our key questions in this first, inaugural Ereignis conference, to be held online Friday, June 11, 2021. Headlined by internationally acclaimed speakers on events and becoming, this conference seeks to merge profound and innovative thought with practical approaches to becoming. How do we arrive into our own?


Sharif Abdunnur, Yeditepe University: “Think existentially, act on your personal mythology: an interactive workshop.” Read more.

Julio Alcántara, European Graduate School: “The symbol of the mask” — The case of the Zapatista Indigenous Movement from Chiapas, Mexico unravels the anthropological dynamics between the visible and the invisible in Western Culture, since they had to cover their faces with masks in order to be counted with the same dignity as other human beings. The mask gave them a face. While disrupting the order of the visible with uncanny faces, they performed a rite that changes the notion of subjective identity such as Johan Huizinga, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Arnold Van Gennep have pointed out the transformation of human values through the play, the sacred and the rite.

James Bahoh, Professor at the University of Memphis: “Event, Alienation, and Ground in Heidegger’s Ontology” Abstract.

Constanza Filloy, National University of Córdoba: “The dialectic of the ‘Red Years’: a non-dualistic approach to Badiou’s theory of the Event” — Alain Badiou’s theoretical project is renowned for the construction of the concept of event in Being and Event (1988) and for proposing an innovative way in which the event is connected to being and structure. Badiou develops the concept of the event to provide an account of the risk in the normal organization of a world introduced by the presentation of a forbidden relation, that is, of the ultra-one relative to a situation. Numerous critiques have pointed out the existence of a dualistic perspective between being and the event, and a theological background in Badiou’s proposed solution. Slavoj Žižek has argued that the difference between being and presentation within the framework of the Badiouan project makes it impossible to explain how the event emerges from the order of being without resorting to the figure of the miracle. In a similar direction, Daniel Bensaïd, has observed that it is impossible to establish the maturity of an event in the Badiouan schema, which in turn conceptualizes its historicity as a miracle. Such critiques have been appropriately addressed by Badiou on several occasions, yet, the key of a non-dualistic account of the connection of event and being is also latent in Badiou’s dialectical thinking during the so-called ‘red years’ of the 1970s. In this presentation, I will argue that the dialectic as introduced by Badiou in Theory of the subject (1982) offers a non-miraculous account of the event par excellence. For this purpose, I will focus on the Badiouan reading of the Hegelian dialectic as a theory of scission, and on the dialectic as a response to the problem of the connection between structure and history.

Avron Kulak, York University, Toronto: “Love in the smooth flow of Becoming” — In my paper I propose to address the two questions that introduce the theme of Ereignis’ conference – ‘How does the event puncture the smooth flow of becoming? And what is it like, the event in which we become ourselves?’ – by examining how Nietzsche, Derrida, and Kierkegaard help us to espouse the event as a moment of appropriation and becoming. Nietzsche insists that becoming the selves we are is a command of conscience, the command to puncture the smooth flow of becoming by determining all of our values anew – by determining them from nothing prior. Of particular interest is that he also insists that conscience is a creation of the biblical traditions. Derrida argues that only the event as the irruption of the absolutely new makes possible a promise that, in being committed in advance to a second, reaffirming promise, provides for a history of justice. He thus holds that the event of a just decision must come into existence as if nothing of the law previously existed. How, then, are we to understand the link that Nietzsche establishes between the origin of conscience in biblical principles and those individuals who become themselves by going beyond the tradition from which come our concepts of good and evil? Do Nietzsche and Derrida, in indicating that the events of conscience and justice come into existence from nothing prior, implicitly presuppose and invoke the ontology and ethics of creation from nothing, thereby showing that these events have their origin in biblical principles? Kierkegaard provides a brilliant explication of the concept of creation when he shows that it is the biblical command to love that is created from nothing prior – from neither immediate self- nor immediate preferential love – and that thus provides for single individuals a critical point of view from which to appropriate and espouse the smooth flow of becoming. In my paper I shall examine the ways in which biblical principles allow us to become ourselves – to become those who love (in) the smooth flow of becoming.

Daniel Neumann, University of Klagenfurt: “‘Being tied to experience’: towards a subjective account of the phenomenology of the event” — In phenomenology, specifically inspired by Heidegger, an event concerns the ontology of experience. It is not merely an occurrence in my world, but the point from which my world is constituted. Thus, I am not surprised by an event as some unexpected facet appearing in an otherwise familiar world. Instead, the fact of its emergence is what reorders and centers my world anew. The event does not concern any ontic reality, but the coming about of reality, the presence and ‘presencing’ of being itself. The problem here is that one cannot describe the coming about of this event as experience. Since the event plays an originary role in my experience, I cannot address the event as an aspect of it, which is why Heidegger’s event has been linked to a ‘phenomenology of the inapparent’. To be able to describe the event as the experience of the ontological coming about of reality, I propose considering the idea of a receptivity to the event. This way, the event is neither simply conditioned by subjectivity, nor is it some kind of exterior force. Rather, I want to argue that the event basically presents me with an involuntary aspect of my experience. While the appearance of things is grasped by me as a subject, consciously experiencing them and being able to reflect on them, at the same time the appearing of that appearance confronts me with the fact of having experiences. The event ‘ties me to my experiencing’, showcasing how my receptivity is activity and passivity at the same time. While I am receptive to having experiences and to freely considering them, on a more basic level, receptivity does not put me in a position where I ‘possess’ the contents of my experience, but where I experience them necessarily, resulting in their event-like character.

Mehdi Parsa, University of Bonn: “Ethics of Psychosynthesis: Desiring the Event” Abstract.

Prof. Dror Pimentel, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem: “The event of art: an aesth-ethic reading of Rilke” — The paper aims at introducing a novel approach to aesthetics, baring the title ‘aesth-ethics.’ This approach is exemplified through the reading of Reiner Maria Rilke’s poem–‘Archaic Torso of Apollo.’ The poem’s object is a hybrid, comprised of the current, broken, appearance of Apollo’s statue on the one hand, and its past, idealized, appearance on the other hand. The statue’s visibility becomes a gazing visibility, as if the statue gazes back at the viewer who looks at him. The statue does not only see but also speak, as the poem concludes with an ethical decree: ‘You must change your life.’ It is an ethical decree, rather than a moral one, since it does not originate from a sovereign law but rather, from the sovereignty of radical alterity, carried through the statue’s gaze from an immemorial past. In this moment, aesthetics becomes aesth-ethics, as the ethical decree is not delivered through the face of the Other but rather, through art. Not only the medium delegating the decree is different, so is its content: contrary to Levinas’ view, the decree does not call for responsibility for the Other but rather, for responsibility for the Self, instigating her to come to her own for the first time. Art therefore possesses an interpellative power, differing in various ways from Althusser’s political interpellation: Althusser is right when arguing that the interpellation originates from radical alterity. Nevertheless, this alterity should not be identified with the big Other but rather, with an immemorial past preceding any order. Althusser is right when viewing interpellation as an event. Nevertheless, the event does not constitute the social order but rather disrupt it. Althusser is right when arguing that the event constitutes the subject. Nevertheless, it does not constitute a subject integrated into the social order, but rather, a displaced subject.

Nikolaus Schneider: “Translation as becoming” — The talk will provide a problematization of James Bahoh’s recent attempt to yield conceptual coherence to Heidegger’s notion of event in his Heidegger’s Ontology of Events. In particular, it will be argued that the author does not offer a necessary ground for his distinction between lines of ground and lines of causation/ temporalization, that is central to his argument. Against what I claim to be a merely methodological notion of truth in the event’s logic of determinacy, assuming time-space to be the pivotal register of the event will provide an opportunity to further relate the event to its own becoming. It is decisive that the argument oscillates between the pitfall of dialectics, to which any thought of the event may fall prey, and one of relationality. Given the theorization of the event as a coherence of differential values and following a logic of difference, the talk will propose to conceptualize becoming according to the different possibilities that were attempted historically to unlock the deadlock of history and structure in the aftermath of French structuralism. Adhering to the latter, three options and three different conceptualizations of becoming come into play: the Neo-Spinozist notion of an immanent cause, the Neo-Cartesian theorization of a cause of the void and lastly, a translational paradigm that has been put forward by Michel Serres. Given the latter’s relative forgottenness in the philosophical imaginary of Structuralism the talk will propose to extend the account of becoming in Heidegger’s Ontology of Events by way of Serres’ Leibnizian Structuralism.

Dominique Sellier, University of Reims-Champagne: “Event and becoming in the city : the contribution of Guattari’s ecosophy” — In Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy, event and becoming are intertwined when they speak about the event as ’the moment we designate by saying “here, the moment has come”’. For them the subject is never a principle or a substance but always a becoming or a temporary effect of a heterogeneous process of subjectivation. Due to the fact that half of the worldwide population now is living in cities, we suggest to focus on what is the event in an urban context, and related to this what does it mean to becoming urban. This will be underlined by taking the Guattari’s concept of ecosophy with the social, environmental and mental ecologies as a departure. His concepts of territorialised assemblages of enunciation, and ethico-æsthetic paradigm help us to understand the production of subjectivities, and the becoming-consistent which occurs in our contemporary cities. Traditionally, one of the promises of the urban life is that you could become someone else or let your own self express itself, thanks to the anonymity and the feeling of freedom which provide cities. Furthermore, the paper will outline the event in the urban context. It occurs notably through cultural events which try to strength the attractiveness of the city by a storytelling and creating a fictional identity. The event-making with regular major cultural or sporting manifestations and events in urban public space try to activate the vital forces, affects and atmospheres of the city. All this leads to the emergence of an event city. This new urban conditions have impact on our relation to the city, and on our moving identity as an urban citizen. Indeed, becoming urban in the time of the event city, observed with the Guattari’s perspective of the existential territory, opens new forms of production of subjectivity for the individuals and the collective.

Simon Smith, British Personalist Forum: “The scent of lemon soap: social subjectivity in James Joyce’s Ulysses” — Our concepts of the self are not what they were. The solid-state substance of Boethius and his consubstantial brethren has been reconstructed along dynamic lines. Following the likes of Austin Farrer and Ludwig Feuerbach, one current version locates the self in and as creative participation in the becoming of another. But the dialectical path is narrow and we who walk it do not walk alone. Descartes’ ghost is never far away; likewise, Whitehead’s roaring rush of pure process threatens to engulf us; and up ahead, the old question: society or individual, transcendence or immanence, being or becoming? Philosophy, with its love of black-and-white binaries, may not be equipped to articulate or even fully comprehend the reality of a social self without falling into one error or the other. Fortunately, we may augment our abstract philosophical diagrams with the life and colour of artistic revelation. Let us turn, then, to a most extraordinary work of literature: James Joyce’s Ulysses. Joyce’s Dublin day overflows with references and allusions borrowed from every facet of human culture; enough, indeed, to ‘keep the professors busy for centuries.’ Why so many? Because Joyce sought to capture the entirety of human experience. Having captured it, he ladles it into the heads of his protagonists: Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom. In so doing, Joyce exposed the essential sociality of subjectivity. The novel plunges us from one stream of consciousness to another; and as we surf these turbulent waters, we are surrounded always by an ocean of public discourse. Be they never so private, every thought, every self-reflection, every poetic inspiration is drawn from a millennium or more of human culture and human experience. Thus, in true dialectical style, Stephen and Mr Bloom become the mirror wherein, to use their own words, we ‘see ourselves as others see us.’

Prof. Jørgen Veisland, University of Gdańsk: “The appropriation of being. Dismantling totalitarianism in Unto Madness, Unto Death by Kirsten Thorup” Abstract.


Event and Becoming | Programme | Abstracts | Speakers | CfP