Prof. Seta B. Dadoyan presents lecture series in New York

NEW YORK—The Atamian-Hovsepian Curatorial Practice, located at 227 East 24th St. in New York City, is hosting a lecture series featuring Prof. Seta B. Dadoyan entitled “Counterpoints: Philosophy, Historiography, Art.”

“Counterpoints: Philosophy, Historiography, Art” is a dialectical-discursive triangle, rather than a series of three talks. It is dialectical, because the subjects are intended to develop a continuum of interconnected arguments. These are counterpoints that draw a broad context, or a ‘horizon’, for discourses on seemingly separate yet interconnected and interdependent subjects in philosophy, historiography and art, the disciplines that Dadoyan is involved in. The discussions are analyses of the perceptions, sensibilities, thoughts, contradictions, tensions, insights, visions and formal and methodological criteria that go into the making of a relevant, authentic, engaging and compelling artifact. It may be a historical text, a painting/drawing, a film, a melody or any ‘object’ in other disciplines. The initiative was occasioned by Dadoyan’s latest book entitled Encounters and Convergences. A Book of Ideas and Art (2023). It is also a ‘prologue’ to an exhibit of her artworks later in the year at the Atamian-Hovsepian Curatorial Practice.

The first lecture, entitled “Dialectics as Perception, Thought, Praxis” was held on March 14 and introduced dialectics. In Dadoyan’s work, this means perceiving/thinking/working through contradictions and counterpoints, as opposed to essentialist reifications and assumptions. Dialectics is discussed as perception, outlook and praxis (or application). The concept of modernity as opposition and drive to change is immanent to the dialectical praxis. In Dadoyan’s scholarship and art, counterpoints have been her primary tools – initially a musical technique, counterpoint is now a ‘traveling’ concept. In the dialectical and existential process of questioning, researching, writing and drawing, counterpoints function as antithetical elements for contrast, both in form and content – hence the inner tension of the works and their truth content. Through the interplay of contrasts and by the force of counterarguments, both in writing and in art, horizons will open up for novel insights.

The next lectures in the series are as follows: 

Aesthetics of Historical Thinking/Writing ‒ Thursday, April 4, 2024, 6-8 p.m.

Historical narratives as artifacts and a contemporary historical thinking/writing; The aesthetics of historical thinking/writing; Counterpoints in historical thinking/writing

Dadoyan’s foundational proposition/argument is that a historical text is a narrative, a writing with its own interpretation and arrangement of events – hence its aesthetic as an artifact. Opposed to mainstream Armenian historical thinking/writing, her historiographic perspectives are dialectical and non-essentialist. The novel paradigms that she has discovered over three decades stand as counterpoints and counterarguments. Her initial and main argument is that since the Armenian oikumene (habitat) has always been the entire region, including the homeland, things Armenian are also things Middle Eastern and must be studied and conceptualized as such. In Dadoyan’s case, a shift of paradigms and vantage points, a phenomenological perspective at a critical distance, opened a new and different panorama, a geoglyph of the Armenian historical experience. It also initiated the discipline of Islamic- Armenian studies, to which she has dedicated six volumes and many studies. Her most significant contribution to Armenian and Near Eastern historiography will be the aesthetic of her historical thinking and writing.

The Artwork and the Dialectics of Truth Content ‒ Thursday, May 2, 2024, 6-8 p.m.

Aesthetics, theories and development; The autonomy of art and the ‘culture industry’; The cognitive import of art; The social-historical comportment; An alternative: Concretization, the artwork; “Encounters and Convergences. A Book of Ideas and Art”

This talk deals with Dadoyan’s aesthetic philosophy and artworks in terms of encounters and convergences in her personal experiences, with an emphasis on some basic aesthetic issues and her view of her artwork. She will focus on some foundational concepts including the autonomy of art, its cognitive import, the social-historical embeddedness of art, the ‘culture industry’, hermeneutical ‘horizons’ and ‘truth-content.’ After explaining ‘concretization’ as an alternative approach to aesthetic judgment, Dadoyan will present her book, Encounters and Convergences. A Book of Ideas and Art. Since both her scholarship and art took their beginnings and developed as responses to specific encounters and at specific phases, Dadoyan will briefly outline the processes as encounters and the works in writing and art as convergences, hence their aesthetic, underlying unity and truth content.

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