Martin Scherzinger (composer, media theorist) visits “Situation of the Arts” this Spring — “Software Physiognomics” — “Applied Adorno?”

William de Kooning wrote an enigmatic, brilliant and deservedly famous essay, “Content is a Glimpse.” What “glimpse” meant in de Kooning has important correspondences with what Adorno and Benjamin hoped to make out of the rather archaic idea of ‘physiognomy,’ a physiognomical glimpse, an eye for how an object’s appearance turns out to be no less a matter of essence. And if we continued on a roll here, students of Hegel will immediately recognize that a considerable tradition of thought was at stake in this conceptualization of physiognomy.

With slight revision of order these associations provide us with either, Adorno, Benjamin, de Kooning, Hegel; or, alternately, physiognomy, glimpse, appearance, essence. Either way, they serve to introduce the seminar in the “Situation of the Arts” that Martin Scherzinger, composer and media theorist, will be leading. The discussion is meant to be a kind of ‘applied’ Adorno for our own times, with the essential caveat that these reflections be no less distant from, than they bear proximity to Adorno’s work. Department chair, Robert Hullot-Kentor, will host the seminar.

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