Universiteit Leiden

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Arts and culture | Symposium


Thursday 20 June 2019
PhD students docARTES and PhDArts only
P.J. Veth building
Nonnensteeg 1-3


11.30 – 12.30                     Keynote I: Emotion Processing in Homo and Pan by Mariska Kret

12.30 – 13.15                      Lunch

13.15 – 14.45                      Breakout session 1: Student discussion of designated texts

14.45 – 15.00                     Plenary presentations breakout session 1

15.00 – 15.15                      Tea break

15.15 – 16.15                       Breakout session 2: Students present their work to each other

16.15 – 16.30                      Tea break

16.30 – 17.30                      Keynote II: The expression of affect in silent films by Friedrich Wilhem Murnau by Jed Wentz

17.30 – 19.30                      Dinner

19:30 – 20.00                    Watching Herr Tartüff by Jed Wentz (open to students and staff of Leiden University)

20.00 – 21.15                     Film concert: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Herr Tarüff (1925)-  Olga Pashchenko, piano (open to students and staff of Leiden University)

21.15 – 22.00                     Drinks 

Information Symposium Art & Human Affections


Assigned Literature

Massumi, Brian. ‘Keywords for Affect.’ In: The Power at the End of the Economy. Durham: Duke UP, 2014, 103-112.

Livingston, Paisley. ‘Cinema and the Artificial Passions: a Conversation with the Abbé Du Bos’ Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia, Vol. 69, Fasc. 3/4, 2013, 419-429.

Wasserman, Earl R. ‘The Sympathetic Imagination in Eighteenth-Century Theories of Acting.’ The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. 46, No. 3, 1947, 264-272.

Recommended Literature

Massumi, Brian ‘The Thinking-Feeling of What Happens: A Semblance of a Conversation’ Inflexions 1.1, 2008, 1-40.

Keynote I Emotion Processing in Homo and Pan

by Mariska Kret

Evolution prepared group-living species, (non)human primates included, to quickly recognize and adequately respond to conspecifics’ emotional expressions. Different theories propose that mimicry of emotional expressions facilitates these swift adaptive reactions. When species unconsciously mimic their companions' expressions of emotion, they come to feel reflections of their emotions that influence emotional and empathic behavior. The majority of emotion research has focused on full-blown facial expressions of emotion in humans. However, facial muscles can sometimes be controlled; humans know when to smile, and when not to. Moreover, the fact that emotions are not just expressed by the face alone but by the whole body is often still ignored. In this talk, I therefore argue for a broader exploration of emotion signals from sources beyond the face or face muscles that are more difficult to control. More specifically, I will argue that implicit sources including the whole body and subtle autonomic responses including pupil-dilation are picked up by observers and influence subsequent behavior. Across different primate species, seeing a conspecific being emotional and expressing that in one way or another, immediately and automatically attracts attention, yields mimicry and triggers action tendencies in observers. In my research, I take a comparative approach and investigate similarities and differences in the perception of emotions between humans, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan Paniscus). I will here discuss new, recently collected data and suggest avenues for future research that will hopefully eventually lead to a better comprehension of emotional expressions and how we come to understand each other’s emotions.


Keynote II The expression of affect in silent films by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau

By Jed Wentz

The acting styles preserved in silent films can be carefully examined for traces of much older acting practices, extending back at least as far as the 18th century. This lecture will place side-by-side ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘modern’ acting styles in films from silent cinema’s last phase (1920-1929). The emphasis will be on German-speaking directors of the Weimar period with a focus on the work of F. W. Murnau: Der Gang in die Nacht (1921), Nosferatu (1922), Der brennende Acker (1922), Faust (1926) and Sunrise (1927).

Jed Wentz has, in the course of a long career in Early Music, turned his hand to various tasks and has engaged with divers disciplines related to the long 18th century. He has performed on historical flutes, and conducted staged opera productions. He has done archival research and published in scholarly journals. He has worked intensively with Baroque dancers, and was declamation and acting coach to a HIP production of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s melodrama Pygmalion at the Baroque theatre in Cesky Krumlov. In 2018 he founded the annual Historical Acting Summer Academy at Leiden University. He is artistic advisor to the Utrecht Early Music Festival, teaches at the Amsterdam Conservatory and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and has performed with the Newcastle Kingsmen.


Film Concert Herr Tarüff (1925)

Olga Pashchenko, piano

Wilhelm Friedrich Murnau (1888-1931), recognized as one of the greatest film directors of all time, is remembered mostly for his work within the horror and tragic genres. However, he also directed comedies, including Herr Tartüff (1925) which is loosely based on Molière's famous play. Murnau gives this 17th-century masterpiece a 20th-century twist by making use of a story-within-a-story framework: the rise and fall of the religious hypocrite Tartuffe is embedded in a 20th-century tale of a foolish old man, his scheming housekeeper and his loving but misunderstood grandson. A virtuosic accompaniment of music by Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Schubert and Mendelssohn performed by pianist Olga Pashchenko, combined with live sound effects, enriches the affective experience.


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