Celebrating Hélène Cixous' Ex-Cities
The Drawing Center, La Maison Française
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Listen to a 63 minute recording, or download the file
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The Drawing Center (35 Wooster St, NY)
I have known for a long time that one does not go anywhere. it is the cities or the countries that come or do not come to you. Cities are fateful letters. They only arrive lost. They only arrive posthumously.
Slought Foundation, in collaboration with the Drawing Center and The French Department and La Maison Française of New York University, is pleased to announce "Celebrating Hélène Cixous and Maria Chevska | Ex-Cities Book Launch." This event will take place on Saturday, October 14, 2006 from 6:00-7:30pm at The Drawing Center in New York City. French author and theorist Hélène Cixous and collaborating British artist Maria Chevska will be present, with brief remarks by Avital Ronell, Judith Miller, Eric Prenowitz, Jean-Michel Rabaté, and Aaron Levy, and a reception.
The book launch follows a public lecture by Hélène Cixous entitled "The Flying Manuscript" from 2-4pm at La Maison Française of New York University (16 Washington Mews at University Place). For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org (212-998-8750).
Ex-Cities, a new release in the Contemporary Artist Series at Slought Books, arises from a shared concern for displacement and exile in the work of Cixous and Chevska. Visual documentation of "Vera’s Room," an installation by Chevska in the Slought Foundation galleries, is interspersed throughout Cixous’ text exploring the relation of art and literature to cities and their destruction. This bilingual publication includes a companion audio CD of the author reading, as well as a foreword by Eric Prenowitz and contributions by editors Aaron Levy and Jean-Michel Rabaté. Co-published with the Alice Paul Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Pennsylvania.
Click here to watch Hélène Cixous, Avital Ronell, Jean-Michel Rabaté and others celebrate The Drawing Center release (74 min)
For more information about this publication, or to purchase:
[Ex-Cities] takes displacement and exile as its points of departure in exploring the relation of art and literature to cities and their destruction. We can begin to read this meditation by remembering that cities are more than just habitats or geographical entities. They extend beyond networks of communication, commerce, sociality, or politics. Cities often exist in the form of memories and aspirations, and these cities are no less real despite their intangible nature. We always carry with us the memories of the cities that we have lived in or lost, abandoned or destroyed. These memories permit us to rebuild them from their ruins; we build new cities upon the memories of others. -- Aaron Levy
If biography means the writing of (a) life, if it means life in writing, then all of Hélène Cixous’ writing is biographical. Indeed doubly autobiographical: not just the writing of the self, an author’s written account of her life, but life itself writing itself as it lives, such that the reader can never separate the written from the lived, the life written from the writing of life. Hélène Cixous’ dates, for example, have all been fictionalized in her writing: even when they seem to correspond to dates in her personal history (“She was born in…,” etc.), they have invariably been changed, transmuted into bits of text, poems, and offered up to dissemination. Her family history too, her father, her mother, her brother, her cats and dogs, her friend Jacques Derrida, even certain flowers, have all gained new lives in and as literature through her writing. -- Eric Prenowitz
As an author of fiction, a playwright, a professor, a theorist and a critic, Hélène Cixous (b. 1937 in Oran, Algeria) has been a central figure in the profound reassessment of prevailing intellectual paradigms that has swept through virtually every domain of the humanities since the 1960s. Cixous is Emeritus Professor at the University of Paris 8, where she founded France’s first Women’s Studies doctoral program in 1974. Her seminar has been co-sponsored by the Collège International de Philosophie since 1984. She is also Honorary Professor at the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff. Her recent books in English translation include Veils (with Jacques Derrida; 2001), Selected Plays of Hélène Cixous (2003), Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint (2004), The Writing Notebooks of Hélène Cixous (2004/06), Dream I Tell You (2006), Reveries of the Wild Woman (2006) and The Day I Wasn’t There (2006). A special issue of New Literary History on her work also appeared in 2006. Her most recent publication in French is Hyperrêve (Galilée 2006). She has several books of fiction and criticism forthcoming.
Maria Chevska lives in London and is a Professor of Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University. She recently exhibited "Reading Room," an installation with Simon Morley, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in London (May 2005), and at the Musée d’art et d’histoire Romain Rolland, Clamecy. (2006). She exhibited "Vera's Room" at Slought Foundation in October-November 2005.
Avital Ronell is a professor of German, English, and Comparative Literature at New York University, where she taught an annual fall semester seminar with Jacques Derrida. She studied with Hélène Cixous in Paris, and has published widely on German and French literature and philosophy, and psychoanalysis. Jean-Michel Rabaté, a Senior Curator at Slought Foundation, is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Princeton University, and has authored or edited twenty books on Modernism, psychoanalysis and literary theory. Eric Prenowitz teaches in the Schol of History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. He has edited Plays of Hélène Cixous and translated Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression, by Jacques Derrida, and Rootprints: Memory and Life Writing, by Helene Cixous. Judith Miller is Professor and Chair of the Department of French at New York University. She recently translated into English "Drums on the Dam: In the Form of an Ancient Puppet Play Performed by Actors," a play by Hélène Cixous. Aaron Levy is the Executive Director and a Senior Curator at Slought Foundation and teaches in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He recently curated a project with Hélène Cixous and Maria Chevska in Philadelphia and has edited, with Jean Michel-Rabaté, Hélène Cixous' Ex-Cities.
This program was made possible in part through the generous sponsorship of the British Council USA, the Mission du livre program of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. In-kind support has been generously provided by the French Department and La Maison Française of New York University.
Media files on the Slought.org website are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.
The Drawing Center, et al. "Celebrating Hélène Cixous' Ex-Cities." Slought Foundation Online Content. [14 October 2006;
Accessed 21 May 2013]. <http://slought.org/content/11330/>.