«Imagining the unusual: cognitive dissonance, pattern breaking and other fantastic creatures»

The HSE School of Art and Design hosted an international conference entitled «Imagining the unusual: cognitive dissonance, pattern breaking and other fantastic creatures.»

The unusual, the extraordinary, the not-belonging appears more often in advertisement than it does in the academic discourse of the last few decades. Starting around the middle of XIXc., the european culture is penetrated by a distrust towards this rhetoric and its implications, which partly coincides with the period of dissemination of scientific methods of cognition of the world.
Indeed, such categories as «a great person», «genius», «extraordinary event» gradually become an asset of mass culture, exploited for commercial purposes. As a result, researches avoid talking about the unusual, generally preferring to either banalize it, or completely exclude from the academic discourse.

On the countrary, we offer to participate in the discussion of this ’elephant in the room’, which simultaneously attracts views and resists what is traditionally considered ’seriuos’ disussion. The connection between an impression (an emotional reaction and the sense faculties) with its rationalization — verbalization, visualization, evaluation, use-value, etc. are among the central topics.

The organizors of the conference: The School of Design and the Media Department of HSE, Laboratory for historical and cultural research at the School of Advanced Studies in the Humanities at RANEPA (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration), Faculty of Social and Cultural Project Management at the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences, «Fashion Theory» Magazine, The Space Museum with the support of ’Storytel’.

Video recording of the conference

Opening and Plenary meeting talks

9:30 Conference opening

10.00-12.00 Plenary meeting

10.00-11.00 Joe Tierney (Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton). «Extraordinary Luxurious: Sensory Lifestyles and Home Decor in the 1970s.»

11.00-12.00 Else Skjold (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts). «The Usual has become the Unusual».

Section 1: Unusual fashion

12:30-14:00


Eelko Moorer (London College of Fashion, UAL). «Mannerisms in the margins of footwear and accessory design.

Maria Terekhova (State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg / Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences). „Strange shoes — is a ’what’ or a ’when’? Some thoughts on the history of footwear.“

Ksenia Gusarova (Laboratory for historical and cultural research at the School of Advanced Studies in the Humanities at RANEPA (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)) „A miracle in feathers: female birds on the cartoons of E.L. Sambourne.“

Tatyana Bakina (HSE). Feathers, fruit and zephyr: the spectacular in costume design of 1920-40 Hollywood Films.»

Section 2: The space of the media subject

12:30-14:00


Ksenia Eltsova (Higher School of European Cultures at the Russian State University for the Humanities). «Media formats vs. ’informal subjects’: ways of interaction in the digital space of the 2010s»

Anastasia Larionova (Higher School of Economics) «The making of the ’extraordinary’ in media through the use of images of disability in modern Russian cinema.»

Elena Arbatskaya (Tyumen State University). «The ’unusual’ in internet memes.»

Aleksandra Staruseva-Persheeva & Tatiana Fadeeva (HSE) «Mediaart as a method of „expanding“ subjectivity: in towards the direction of the Other.»

Section 3: The fashionable ’unusual

15.00-16.30


Irina Sirotkina (Institute of the History of Natural Science and Technology named after S. I. Vavilov RAS). «Dance of non-human creatures: living sculptures by Roman Ermakov.»

Petra Maksa-Egri (University of Pecs). «Postfashion in Late Socialism: Hungarian Fashion Performances in the Kadar Era.»

Kristina Gligorovska (Mintsquare Magazine). «Holographic Projections on Runways: Replicas of the Models’ Bodies.»

Zhanna Vasilieva (Laboratory for historical and cultural research at the School of Advanced Studies in the Humanities at RANEPA (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)) «Speech and lettering in street fashion as a documentation of historical events.»

Section 4: The construction of a (fantastic) reality

15:00-16:30

Svetlana Bardina (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences). «'It sounded insane, but, because it was a dream, it worked': the construction of 'the unusual' in dream stories.»

Olga Schedrina (Higher School of European Cultures at the Russian State University for the Humanities) «Creating the unexpressable: contemporary practices of visual sacralization.»

Elena Nagaeva (Laboratory for historical and cultural research at the School of Advanced Studies in the Humanities at RANEPA (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration) «Fantastic Creatures: the figure of Absolute Evil in Popular Culture»

Section 5: The unusual in fashion

17.00-19.00

Olga Weinstein (Institute of Higher Humanitarian Studies at Russian State University for the Humanities) «'How lovely her hand clenched the hair bracelet': cultural and emotional function of hair ornaments in the XIX century.»

Linor Goralik (HSE / Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences). «Almost eybrows: problems of today's popular media in creating materials about women's pubic hair.»

Maria Udovydchenko (GARAGE Contemporary Art Museum) & Ekaterina Bychkova (State Hermitage Museum) «The phenomenon of the „Strict boy“ studio in the context of the unusual.»

Lyudmila Alyabyeva (HSE / Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences). «'From Chanel to Shanghai' or, the specifics of a 'pajama party' in the city.»

Section 6: Inhuman music

17.00-19.00

Vladislav Tarnopolsky (Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory). «The turtle does not get away from Achilles. A new typology for a 'new unusual' (on the example of contemporary opera).»

Kristina Chernova (HSE). «Constructing the everyday: electronic tembres in soviet music 1970-80».

Nika Kochekovskaya (HSE). «Extraordinary between the avant-garde and kitsch in the theories of music and rhythm of the twentieth century: Adorno, Deleuze, Barthes (a comparative analysis on the example of the music video Slightly Mad (1991)).»

Emese Lengyel (University of Debrecen). Opera Meets Film: Unusual Music, Visuality and Voice in Du Yun’s Angel’s Bone.

About HSE

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HSE ART AND DESIGN SCHOOL is a subdivision of the Higher School of Economics National Research University, one of the leading universities in Russia, a participant of the majority of authoritative international educational ratings (QS, ARWU, Times Higher Education, U.S. News Best Global Universities Subject).

It’s not only a huge scientific laboratory, but a representative expert platform as well: the HSE personnel are actively involved in the key expert discussions, they are members of many collegiate and consultative bodies and are opinion leaders of the most important issues in the sphere of education, social policy, healthcare, demography, labor market, transport, public administration, and technological development.

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