In June 2016, I gave a talk at the conference Anton Pannekoek (1873-1960): Ways of viewing Science and Society at the KNAW (Rotal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) in Amsterdam. The organizing committee included artist Jeronimo Voss, whose installation Inverted Night Sky was on view in Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam at the time. The aim of the conference was for speakers from various disciplines, ranging from astronomy to political philosophy and the humanities, to discuss both the political and scientific aspects of Pannekoek’s work. After all, Pannekoek was astrophysicist by day, and council communist at night (or possibly the inverse). Jeronomi Voss’ work looked into precicely this constellation. Unfortunately, much to Jeronomi’s chagrin, the attempt to bring together reserachers from vastly different backgrounds proved fragile and fraught, as any whiff of “continental philosophy” made some of the conveners apoplectic. When Stefano Marino asked me to contribute to a section on “Marx 1818-2018: Aesthetic Traces of his Legacy” in the Italian journal Studi di estetica, this seemed like a good context for the article version of my talk, “Council Aestheticism? Pannekoek, the Avant-Garde and Contemporary Art.” The issue is out now and the essay is available online.
Image: a newspaper sketch of the disruption of a performance of Tankred Dorst’s play Ernst Toller (Amsterdam, 1969), discussed in my text. And as for the title of this post: yes, that would be the English equivalent of the glorious name “Anton Pannekoek.”