Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art

Talk by the writer Kirill Kobrin “The Spectre of the Future which Never Happened: Hauntology and Art Today”


The Evening School of Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art invites you to a talk by the writer Kirill Kobrin “The Spectre of the Future which Never Happened: Hauntology and Art Today”.

The term ‘hauntology’ was coined by Jacques Derrida in 1993. Derrida used it to explore understanding of the strange influence that Marxist theory has on the Western world more than 100 years after its author’s death. Then ‘hauntology’ (as a term) was hijacked by people from an absolutely different sphere than French theory and post-structuralism. It’s been used (and is still used) as a tool for certain cultural practices and discourses focused on the idea

and image of the Future. It’s not the Spectre of Communism which is ‘haunting’ the Western world, it’s the Spectre of Future (or even of the ‘Futures’, plural) which promised a Brave New World that eventually never happened. An absence of an image of the Future in the Western society today is partly substituted by the hauntological melancholy of contemporary culture, incl. art. Apart from discussing some theoretical points of ‘hauntology’ Kirill Kobrin

is going to focus on several cases where this ‘hauntological approach’ could be applied ("Ghost Box" recording label, Andreas Gursky’s photos, W.G. Sebald’s prose etc.)

Kirill Kobrin writes fiction and nonfiction prose. He co-edits Moscow magazine of sociology, history and politics Neprikosnovenniy Zapas [Emergency Rations], and he is author of 20 books and many essays and texts that have been translated into several European

and Asian languages. He also writes extensively for the printed and online magazines in Latvia: Rīgas Laiks, Arterritory, Studija, Punctum. His latest book Razgovor v komnatah. Karamzin, Chaadayev, Herzen i nachalo sovremennoi Rossii [Conversation in the rooms. Karamzin, Chaadaev, Herzen and the beginning of modern Russia] is recently published in New Literary Observer (Moscow).

The LCCA Evening School is a series of conversations, talks, discussions and reading workshops devoted to current issues of contemporary art as well as exploration of the recent past, including the role of social, political and ideological contexts in culture. It takes place in the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Alberta iela 13, and its events are free of charge.

The project is supported by the State Culture Capital Foundation.