Learning, to live with Ghosts. Ghosts as a Figure of Thought, Metaphor and “Dispositif” of Perception in Theory and Aesthetics

Mousonturm Saal


“…learn to live with ghosts, in the conversation, the company, or the companionship, in the commerce without commerce of ghosts.” (Jacques Derrida)

Ghosts – something has risen again, is upon us, although already declared dead, it haunts bodies, places, objects, though it no longer has a place in the presence of the living. Enlightenment and modernity dedicated themselves to fighting the belief in ghosts and yet figurations of ghostliness not only still inhabit large portions of popular culture, they also exert a strong influence on intellectual and artistic discourse.

This symposium examines ghosts as models of thought and experience with which various political and economical topics, issues of corporeality and mediality, as well as devices of representation in aesthetics, in theatre, film, literature and visual arts can be explored. Can ghosts be defined as a form of subversive power that surfaces in order to question the existing order? Is this metaphor suited to analyzing those kinds of power dynamics, whose effects unfold in bodies and places invisibly and independently from individual actors and consciously determined actions?

Conceived and organized by the Protestant Academy Frankfurt, the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies, Justus Liebig University Gießen and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm * Supported by the Hessian Theatre Academy