Counterpoints: Philosophy, Historiography, Art A Dialectical-Discursive Triangle

By Prof. Seta B. Dadoyan, Pelham, NY, 25 February 2024

Atamian-Hovsepian Curatorial Practice – Lecture Series
227 East 24th Street, New York, NY 10010

“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 I am involved in. The discussions are analyses of the perceptions, sensibilities, thoughts, contradictions, tensions, insights, visions, also the 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 too. The initiative was occasioned by my latest book entitled Encounters and Convergences. A Book of Ideas and Art (2023). It is also a ‘prologue’ to an exhibit of my artworks later in the year at the Atamian-Hovsepian Curatorial Practice.

Dialectics as Perception, Thought, Praxis ‒ 6:00-8:00 pm, Thursday, March 14, 2024
Dialectics in perspective; Dialectics as a manner of perception, outlook, and praxis; Modernity; Counterpoints

This talk introduces dialectics. In my work this means perceiving/thinking/working through contradictions, and also 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. It is referred to briefly. In my scholarship and art counterpoints have been my primary tools: initially a musical technique, counterpoint is now a ‘travelling’ 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.

Aesthetics of Historical Thinking/Writing ‒ 6:00-8:00 pm, Thursday, April 4, 2024
Historical narratives as artifacts and a contemporary historical thinking/writing; The aesthetics of historical thinking/writing; Counterpoints in my historical thinking/writing

My 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, my historiographic perspectives are dialectical and non-essentialist. The novel paradigms that I have discovered over three decades stand as counterpoints and counterarguments. My 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 region and must be studied and conceptualized as such. In my 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 I have dedicated six volumes and many studies. My most significant contribution to Armenian and Near Eastern historiography will be the aesthetic of my historical thinking and writing.

The Artwork and the Dialectics of Truth Content ‒ 6:00-8:00 pm, Thursday, May 2, 2024
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 my aesthetic philosophy and artworks in terms of encounters and convergences in my experiences, with an emphasis on some basic aesthetic issues, and particularly my view of my artwork. I focus on some foundational concepts and mainly on 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, I present the book, Encounters and Convergences. A Book of Ideas and Art. Since both my scholarship and art took their beginnings and developed
as responses to specific encounters and at specific phases. I briefly outline the processes as encounters, and the works in writing and art as convergences, hence their aesthetic, underlying unity, and truth content.

Art work: The Shelter by Prof. Seta Dadoyan.
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