This course examines the impact of “Vienna 1900” on modernism during the 20th century. This central European city was a cultural hothouse stimulating the work of highly original thinkers: philosophers, doctors, artists and musicians. This course introduces students to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s picture theory of language to demonstrate how they function as methodological tools for analyzing works of art. But, we will also assess their limitations as well. During the first two decades of the 20th century, as Freud developed psychoanalysis and Wittgenstein wrote the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the Viennese Secessionists were re-inventing art by rejecting the European artistic tradition and flouting its conventions. A half-century later, the Viennese Actionists—a highly provocative, loose-knit group of artists who first gained international acclaim in the 1960s—took Freud's concept of the “return of the repressed” to extremes in an effort to heal from the trauma of World War II. In the final week, the course will attempt to make sense of the Actionists' shocking art within the context of Freud's theories, Secessionstil and Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language. To do so, psychoanalytic theory, especially regarding eros (the creative impulse) and thanatos (the destructive impulse) and Wittgenstein’s picture theory of language, particularly “seeing as” and “aspect blindness” will be explored to understand the impact of war and economic depression on the development of the modern human psyche.
Prerequisite: Fall semester prior to JT'15 departure, students will be required to enroll and participate in the IDST 098 Orientation to International Study (1 credit).
Faculty: Professor Brian Winkenweder
Fees: Program Fee $5000 Estimated Air: $1600
LC: CS or IS