Eva-Maria Aigner & Eva Jägle

Eva Jägle

Eva Jägle is an artist working in the fields of applied arts, theatre and video. She studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and writes her dissertation at the department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna. In her research she focuses on the topic “Deleuze and Cinema”.
Portfolio and Website

Eva-Maria Aigner

Eva-Maria Aigner is currently a Research Fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and also works on her dissertation at the Department of Philosophy in Vienna. She writes about the concept of survival in deconstruction and within the works of Jacques Derrida and teaches in the fields of feminist ethics and class theories.

The Catastrophic Glossary

Apocalypse. State of Emergency. Disaster. End. Catastrophe. The much-quoted “crisis” (social, personal, economic, ecologic etc.). Revolution.

In our habitual use of language these words often appear to be interchangeable. Sometimes they may indicate the smallest of differences: which of these concepts promises a future, which one forecloses such an opening? Which one erases all traces, threatens us with the prospect of a complete disappearance that even obscures memory – and which one implies commemoration and, possibly, absolution, restitution? Do we envision a singular moment that “changes everything”, a historically unique event or a chain of multiple “crises of the century”, without a definite beginning or predictable end, a state of emergency that lasts for decades (2007–2023)?

As it already becomes visible through the thealit call “The Art of Emergency”, we always have to navigate between these conflicted fields of meaning when we speak of the unthinkable, the absolutely terrible, the “end of the world”. Authors like Adorno or Blanchot have also concerned themselves with this question of “writing” and speaking of disaster, that became crucial within European-“western” philosophy especially after the end World War II: How to write, how to speak, what kind of art, after the unthinkable has happened? Does the catastrophe demand silence – or, on the contrary, does it precisely call for narration and witnessing, as Semprun claims in “Literature or Life” (1994)?

During our stay we will map out a “Catastrophic Glossary” that assembles some of the most central concepts of the current discourse on disaster and “the end of the world”. Each term will be explored through text and video and reconstructed in its (philosophical-)historical genealogy.The generated vocabulary thus enables a more precise usage of these terms and makes their specific differences transparent; nevertheless, the Catastrophic Glossary also reflects on the fact that the apocalyptic discourse cannot be enclosed in a definite way and that lexical definitions always become “superfluous” again, surpass the limits of meaning imposed on them. In our work we will focus on the question, how the different concepts open up towards a future and to what extent they demand or, on the contrary, disable a vocalization or writing of “what happened”. For this, we mostly rely on authors such as Blanchot, Derrida, Antelme, Semprun, Levi, Adorno, Kofman and Cixous, who have again and again reflected on the questions of witnessing and the writing of catastrophe. The project thereby wants to develop a glossary, that can be useful for following projects in the thealit laboratory. Moreover, we want to develop strategies of narrating and envisioning the disaster that open up towards a possible future: How to make the disaster speak – in which language, through which images? The traces left behind are the resulting reference work and snippets of text from the literature used - the deconstructed glossary.

Sunday, February 4, 18:00h

You are cordially invited to Arbeitszimmer thealit, St.-Jürgen-Str. 157/159, Bremen.

Eva Jägle und Eva-Maria Aigner send a few keywords ahead, after translation to English in new alphabetical order and probably best read aloud and rhythmically: "Apocalypse. State of emergency. Disaster. End. Catastrophe. The much-cited 'crisis' (social, personal, economic, ecological, etc.). Emergency. Revolution".

What's the letter? What's the letter? What's the letter?

You can find out all about them on Sunday 4 February at 6 pm
at arbeitszimmer thealit
St.-Jürgen-Str. 157/159
28205 Bremen

The Catastrophic Glossary

Eva Jägle und Eva-Maria Aigner

If you missed THE Art OF EMERGENCY presentation by Eva-Maria Aigner and Eva Jägle on the 'Catastrophic Glossary' at Arbeitszimmer thealit or would like to experience it again in a different way, you are now cordially invited to watch a video on two keywords from the Glossary - 'Catastrophe' and 'Disaster' - online in the thealit Virtual Arbeitszimmer. A flipbook with all the compiled entries of the Glossary from philosophy and literature can also be read there...