Anke Hennig
Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London

April 16 2015 2 pm

Building HPZ
John von Neumann Weg 9
Floor F
8093 Zürich

Literary Communication: Is there such a thing as literary information?

A contemporary example of the interaction between speculation and poetry is provided by an apparatus built by Peter Dittmer in 2006. The apparatus contains the linguistic codes for dialogue and learns by conversing with people; it is called the Amme (German for ‘wet nurse’) in reference to a procedure whereby the dialogues end either when the participant so chooses or when the Amme tips over a glass of milk.

In my talk I would like to detail the model of literary communication exemplified in the Amme. I will draw on structuralist (Roman Jakobson) and semiotic (Umberto Eco) models and will demonstrate why those models are doomed to fail that use only the message as their basic unit of communication. Instead both the Amme and poetic speculation rely on the grammar of language, taking failure as their starting points.
I would also like to sketch out an alternative tradition of literary interaction, one exemplified by Fedor Dostoevsky’s poetic ontology (Valeri Podoroga) and the speculative poetics of Mallarme’s Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard as deciphered by Quentin Meillassoux.

Anke Hennig teaches at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London. Her research interests lie in the poetics of Russian Formalism, the politics of Russian avant-garde media, the aesthetics of totalitarianism and in contemporary theory. In addition to numerous articles, she has also edited an anthology of Russian avant-garde texts (Über die Dinge, 2010). Her recent publications have addressed the chronotopology of cinematic fiction, the present-tense novel, and speculative poetics. She is the author of Sowjetische Kinodramaturgie (2010) and, in cooperation with Armen Avanessian, co-author of Poetika nastoiashego vremeni (2014, Russian translation of Präsens. Poetik eines Tempus, Zurich, 2012) and of Metanoia. Speculative Ontology of Language (Metanoia. Spekulative Ontologie der Sprache, Berlin, 2014).