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Inaugural lecture takes place on Thursday, October 20 at the University of Oslo

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Participation in small roundtable discussion:
"Death and Life of Postmodernism" at the University of Oslo on Monday, October 17.

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Announcement of my new position at the Institutt for filosofi, idé- og kunsthistorie og klassiske språk (IFIKK)/ Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas, University of Oslo

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On Monday evening, November 21 at the Litteraturhuset in Oslo, Norway, I will be engaging in a conversation on the concept of habit with the British writer and artist Tom McCarthy, and Omer Fast, an Israeli/American video artist and filmaker living in Berlin (see bios below). The topic of the conversation will focus on how issues of habit are central to McCarthy’s novel Remainder (2004), and to Omer Fast’s adaptation of it in his first feature-length film of the same name, starring Tom Sturridge (Fall 2015).

In a nutshell, at the beginning of Remainder the protagonist is hit by unammed falling debris from the sky and subsequently loses most of his habitual actions that we take for granted. After some lovely descriptions of him having to visualize and plan out every single step in order to achieve simple acts like walking or picking up a carrot, he has a proustian moment at a party. While touching a crack on a bathroom wall he is momentarily immersed in a previous time when he had familiar habits and modes of inhabition. He subsequently uses the large sum awarded for the accident to buy an apartment block and pay people to help reenact that past moment. Needless to say, it gets very disturbing from there! The novel and film draw out all the complex issues that habit raises, such as the relations between activity and passivity, automaticity and will, freedom and constraint, stability and change, action and substance. Details of the event will soon be posted on the Litteraturhuset website http://www.litteraturhuset.no/program/, and included in their late Fall brochure for November and December. In addition, both McCarthy and Fast will be visiting the Fall seminar I am teaching on habit in on Nov 22 to discuss their work with students.

Tom McCarthy is a writer and artist whose work has been translated into more than twenty languages. His first novel, Remainder, which deals with questions of trauma and repetition, won the 2008 Believer Book Award and was recently adapted for the cinema. His third, C, which explores the relationship between melancholia and technological media, was shortlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize, as was his fourth, Satin Island, in 2015. McCarthy is also author of the 2006 non-fiction book Tintin and the Secret of Literature, an exploration of the themes and patterns of Hergé’s comic books; of the novel Men in Space, set in a Central Europe rapidly disintegrating after the collapse of communism; and of numerous essays that have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The London Review of Books, Harper’s and Artforum. In 2010 he wrote the screenplay for Johan Grimonprez’s multiple award-winning film Double Take. In addition, he is founder and General Secretary of the International Necronautical Society (INS), a semi-fictitious avant-garde network of writers, philosophers and artists whose work has been exhibited internationally at venues including the Palais de Tokyo Paris, Tate Britain and Moderna Museet Stockholm. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham Campbell Prize for Fiction by Yale University.

Omer Fast was born in Jerusalem in 1972. He holds a BA in English from Tufts University, a BFA in Visual Arts from the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts and an MFA from Hunter College, City University of New York. Since finishing his studies in 2000, Fast has participated in over 200 international exhibitions, including one-person shows at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Museum of Modern Art in Vienna. Group exhibitions include Documenta 13, the Venice Biennale 2011, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Fast received the Bucksbaum award for his work “The Casting” at the Whitney Biennial in 2008 and has also won the National Galerie’s Prize for Young Art in Berlin in 2009 with his work “Nostalgia”. His work is in several international collections including Tate Modern, the Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou. A monographic survey of Fast's work will open at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin in November, 2016.