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Workshop: Diderot and 18th-Century Human Simulacra

05.10.2017 | 09:45 - 17:30

Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin

The workshop is organised by Marie-Irène Igelmann (Freie Universität Berlin) in the context of the Dahlem Junior Host Program of the Dahlem Humanities Center.

The aim of the workshop is to explore the different aesthetical and anthropological dimensions of the “mannequin” metaphor in Diderot’s Paradoxe sur le comédien, which Diderot introduces as a model for actors/actresses at the very beginning of his acting theory. Central questions of the workshop include, but are not limited to, the following: Why does Diderot use a tool for visual artists to exemplify his idea of the ideal actor/actress? What is the specificity of the “mannequin” compared to other types of human simulacra such as the statue, the marionette and the automat? In order to analyse this specific metaphor and to explore possible answers to these questions, the workshop will approach the subject from two angles:

The first approach consists of a comparative analysis between the “mannequin’s” function as an art tool for painters or sculptors and Diderot’s conception of the ideal actor/actress. Such an analysis implies a comparison between Diderot’s theoretical works on theatre and his theoretical writings on visual art, as for example his Salons.

The second approach consists of a historical contextualisation of Diderot’s concept of the human body in the broader philosophical and scientific discourse of his time. The workshop will focus on the “mannequin’s” specificity while comparing it to other human simulacra of that time, such as Jacques de Vaucanson’s famous automata or the moving statue of Condillac’s Traité des sensations. The workshop will also discuss other forms of simulacra present in Diderot’s works, as they appear for instance in the Encyclopédie.

Aurélia Gaillard (Université Bordeaux Montaigne), Marie-Irène Igelmann (Freie Universität Berlin), Thari Jungen (Graduate School “Performing Citizenship”, Hamburg), Manuel Mühlbacher (LMU München), Christian Hartwig Steinau (Freie Universität Berlin/LMU München)


The workshop will be held in French and English. Please register via e-mail by October 2nd: marie.igelmann@fu-berlin.de.

Zeit & Ort

05.10.2017 | 09:45 - 17:30

Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Theaterwissenschaft
Raum 103
Grunewaldstraße 35
12165 Berlin-Steglitz