Master Symposium : Double Bound Possession

March 25 and  March 26, 2019, 10 am – 6 pm
Cinéma Spoutnik
11 rue de la Coulouvrenière, 
1204 Genèva

Master Symposium
Double Bound Possession 
A proposition of Anselm Franke with Kader Attia, Avery Gordon, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Rachel O’Reilly, Ho Rui An, and others.

Symposium organized by HEAD – Genève's Fine Arts Department

In English, the word “possession” has two divergent meanings, perhaps not quite accidentally. It’s earliest sense is taking possession or occupation, which becomes legal property. The second meaning is of a thing or a person possessed, as in demonic possession (first recorded in the 1580’s in Europe) and the manifold forms of shamanic and other possession rituals across the non-European world. Might the two meanings, at first sight radically diverging, in fact form a double bind that sheds light on the history of the modern subject?

Many historians and theorists have shown how the “self-possessed”, rational and autonomous subject of enlightenment and colonial Europe was instituted legally in relation to private property. Dis-owning one’s self in states of trance and spirit possession constituted the quintessential antithesis to that subject’s rationality. The ideological “great divide” between modern self-possessed and property-owning subjects and non-modern forms of collectivity enacted a double-bound colonial division that has had enormous influence on our understanding of forms of communion.

In this two-day Master Symposium, we will look at the systemic interconnections between various forms of material and symbolic possession and dispossession. And we will explore what the impact of reading the history of the modern subject through the lens of this double-bind has on our understanding of spirituality. The program consists of lectures, films and film excerpts, performances and conversations.

Contact: Denise Bertschi
Contact for inscription: Carole Lauk 


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Master Symposium : Double Bound Possession
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