Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies

THE HANNAH ARENDT PRIZE IN CRITICAL THEORY + CREATIVE RESEARCH

Photograph of Hannah Arendt, NYC, 1944. Courtesy of the Estate of Fred Stein (fredstein.com)

The Second Annual Hannah Arendt Prize: Announcement of Winners

 
The MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research Program is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Hannah Arendt Prize on the theme of “On Art and Disobedience; Or, What Is an Intervention?” The competition drew 255 entries from 34 countries around the globe.

The judges awarded first place to Stéphanie Bertrand of Thessaloniki, Greece, and Nate Harrison of Brooklyn, New York, for their essays “Dropouts” and “Immanence of Intervention, Revival of Critique,” respectively. Bertrand was singled out for her nail-on-the-head exemplification argument that art operates increasingly as a form of intervention, more specifically, as immunity. More cautionary, Harrison addresses the problem of the growing abyss between operationalism and expression, warning against the squandering of our capacity for critique in the face of capitalism’s skills at redeploying interventions in form alone. Bertrand and Harrison will share the prize and the $5,000 cash award.

Second place was awarded to Marc Lombardo for his essay “On Power, Truth, and Living Statues.” Without once mentioning the word intervention, the piece makes a simple and powerful point for stillness at a time when frenzied activity is often taken as a sign in and of itself of political efficacy.  Third place went to Arnaud Gerspacher for “Interventions,” with its call for felicitous intervention.  Singled out for Special Mention was S. L. Irani-Silberman’s “Interrupting Invisibilities and Bridging Worlds: An Essay on the Work of turkopticon.differenceengines.com,” the judges citing Turkopticon as a powerful digital intervention.

We note what may be obvious: All of the submissions bear witness to the power of the labor of thought and constitute, in and of themselves, interventions. Thought, Arendt reminded us again and again, is a fragile thing, and with this fact she chose to conclude The Human Condition: “Thought, finally—which we, following the premodern as well as the modern tradition, omitted from our reconsideration of the vita activa—is still possible, and no doubt actual, wherever men live under the conditions of political freedom.”

The temptation of cynicism is strong and compelling in dark times, if sometimes subtly encoded; and it is worth remarking that many of the submissions to the Hannah Arendt Prize recognize this danger even as they suggest that the future can no longer be taken as a given. The ramifications of such a situation for human life, thought, and freedom, have yet to be understood or even registered. In light of Fukushima and genetic engineering, the future itself may require an intervention.

In closing, we extend thanks to all who submitted work for the 2013 Hannah Arendt Prize and to its judges—Claire Bishop, CUNY; Judith Butler, UC Berkeley and EGS; Barbara Duden, Leibniz Universität Hannover; Julia Kristeva, Université Paris Diderot, Paris 7; Heike Kühn, Film Critic; and Martha Rosler, Artist. In you, the life, work, and legacy of Hannah Arendt live on.

All of the winning essays as well as additional comments can be read on PNCA’s Untitled at untitled.pnca.edu/articles/show/6758.


2013 HANNAH ARENDT PRIZE: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

 
Original Writing on Critical Theory and Creative Research
Award presented by the MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research Program

Entry submission: essay of 1,500 words or less
Application deadline: Friday, May 31, 2013
Theme: On Art and Disobedience; Or, What Is an Intervention?
Cash award: 5,000 USD

Winner announced by Saturday, August 31, 2013

Please note that essays over the limit will be disqualified.

The Hannah Arendt Prize in Critical Theory and Creative Research is an annual competition for those interested in the juncture of art and creative research and in the principles at the heart of the arts and humanities, including sense-based intelligence; the reality of singular, nonrepeatable phenomena; ethical vision; and consilience between inner and outer, nature and reason, thought and experience, subject and object, self and world.

Application for the prize is open to the general public. Download the PDF application and email the completed application and the essay (in a .doc or .pdf format) to ctcrprize@pnca.edu.

Explication of theme:

“To disobey in order to take action is the byword of all creative spirits. The history of human progress amounts to a series of Promethean acts. But autonomy is also attained in the daily workings of individual lives by means of many small Promethean disobediences, at once clever, well thought out, and patiently pursued, so subtle at times as to avoid punishment entirely. All that remains in such a case is an equivocal, diluted form of guilt. I would say that there is good reason to study the dynamics of disobedience, the spark behind all knowledge.”

                                            —Gaston Bachelard, Fragments of a Poetics of Fire

Intervention is an omnipresent if not ubiquitous word in contemporary discourse, but what forms does it take in the age of genetic engineering and real-time media?  Is the concept a decoy or distraction in the face of futility? A cover or compensation for hopeless battles and set-ups? Is it simply working to slow down the Inevitable, a notion that in and of itself works as a major obstacle to critical thought and action? Or is it something more serious, more durable, and more dangerous? What is the relation of critique and intervention, theory and practice? And what role does art play in what Bachelard called “creative disobedience,” acts of Prometheanism “so subtle at times as to avoid punishment entirely”? Might art now comprise one of the last forms of political stealth, working in increasingly sophisticated time-based ways? What kinds of thought and action are powerful and compelling interventions today, whether one-off spectacles, sabots, monkey wrenches, sleepers, gummy bears, or Trojan Horses?

Along with Anne-Marie Oliver and Barry Sanders, Founding Co-Chairs, MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, Pacific Northwest College of Art, the judges for 2013 include

Claire Bishop, Professor of Contemporary Art, Theory and Exhibition History, Graduate Center, The City University of New York
Judith Butler, Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature, The University of California, Berkeley, and Hannah Arendt Professor of Philosophy, Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien/EGS
Barbara Duden, Professor Emerita, Leibniz Universität Hannover
Julia Kristeva, Professor Emerita and Head of the École doctorale Langues, Littératures, Images, Université Paris Diderot, Paris 7, and recipient of the Hannah Arendt Award for Political Thought
Heike Kühn, Film Critic
Martha Rosler, Artist and contributor to the Hannah Arendt Denkraum (on the occasion of Hannah Arendt’s 100th birthday)

For more information about the 2013 competition, please see http://www.artandeducation.net/announcement/pnca-announces-the-hannah-arendt-prize-call-for-submissions/


The Site of Imaginative Contention:  Rob Marks is awarded the Inaugural Hannah Arendt Prize from PNCA’s MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research

 
The MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research Program is pleased to announce that San Francisco writer Rob Marks has won the Hannah Arendt Prize for his essay “The Site of Imaginative Contention,” with judges citing his direct, unblinking address of the theme of “The Visible, the Invisible, and the Indivisible.” The prize carries a $2,000 cash award and is funded by the Colville Foundation and Gard Communications. The runner-up is Madeline Avram Blount for her essay on the political asymmetry of visibility and invisibility. Robert Spencer Coldren was awarded third place for his essay “Visibility,” which interrogated the prompt itself.

The competition elicited submissions from applicants hailing from thirty-three countries around the globe, and was determined by a distinguished roster of judges.

The winning essay as well as additional comments can be read on PNCA’s Untitled at http://untitled.pnca.edu/articles/show/5976/.


2012 HANNAH ARENDT PRIZE: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

 
Original Writing on Critical Theory and Creative Research
Award presented by the MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research Program

Entry submission: 1,000-word essay
Application deadline: Thursday, March 15, 2012
Theme: The Visible, the Invisible, and the Indivisible
Cash prize: 2,000 USD
Winner announced by Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Hannah Arendt Prize in Critical Theory and Creative Research is an annual prize competition for anyone interested in the juncture of art and creative research and in the principles at the heart of the arts and humanities, including sense-based intelligence; the reality of singular, nonrepeatable phenomena; ethical vision; and consilience between inner and outer, nature and reason, thought and experience, subject and object, self and world.

Application for the prize is open to the general public. Download the PDF application below and email the completed application and the essay (in a .doc or .pdf format) to ctcrprize@pnca.edu

Explication of theme: Whether rice infused with human DNA, new forms of warfare, fully playable nanoguitars, bots traversing blood streams, or transistors the size of viruses, the major developments of the 21st century are largely invisible and, as such, resistant to critique and intervention—what we call politics as a system of challenge, contestation, and negotiation. How do we force invisible processes into visibility, and what do we do with them once they appear at this threshold? Conversely, what are the means by which the visible might be made to disappear? Are these the right questions?

Along with Anne Marie Oliver, founding Co-Chair, MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Barry Sanders, founding Co-Chair, MA in Critical Theory and Creative Research, Pacific Northwest College of Art, the judges for 2012 include:

Keith Gessen, Founding Editor, n+1
Lewis Hyde, Richard L. Thomas Professor of Creative Writing, Kenyon College
Atta Kim, Photographer
Geoffrey Mann, Designer and Lecturer in Product Design and Digital Consultant, Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
W.J.T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History, The University of Chicago, and Editor, Critical Inquiry
Sina Najafi, Editor-in-Chief, Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture
Jacques Rancière, Professor of Philosophy, The University of Paris, St. Denis (Emeritus), and Professor of Philosophy, Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien/EGS

For more information about the 2012 competition, please see http://www.artandeducation.net/announcement/the-hannah-arendt-prize-call-for-entries

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