Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 7pm
Dance of Values: Sergei Eisenstein’s Capital Project

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

A lecture by Elena Vogman

Sergei Eisenstein’s planned film adaptation of Karl Marx’s Capital stands as one of the most enigmatic projects in the history of cinema. A recent look into Eisenstein’s archive revealed the full scope of his plans: between October 1927 and September 1928, he gradually transformed his working diaries into an editing board. This “visual instruction in the dialectical method,” as Eisenstein himself called his project, comprises over 500 pages of notes, drawings, press clippings, expression diagrams, plans for articles, negatives from October, theoretical reflections, and extensive quotations. What can be seen and read is not a film but a series of variations on the themes of economy and capitalist exploitation.

Elena Vogman’s recent book Dance of Values: Sergei Eisenstein’s Capital Project explores the internal formal necessity underlying the director’s choices, arguing that Capital’s visual complexity as well as its epistemic efficacy resides precisely within the state of its material: the dance of heterogeneous themes and disparate fragments, a non-linear, provisory, and non-articulated flow. In this way Eisenstein’s montage sequences produce a kind of surplus value entirely their own: a semiotic excess, which stirs the materials and represented bodies into a dance analogous to Marx’s “dance” of “petrified conditions.” It is in this polymorphic and “diffuse” language—associated with the stream of consciousness of Joyce's Ulysses—that Eisenstein saw the strongest critical and affective potential for the future cinema.

Elena Vogman is a literary scholar, theorist, and independent curator. She has published two books: Sinnliches Denken. Eisensteins exzentrische Methode (Diaphanes, 2018) and Dance of Values: Sergei Eisenstein’s Capital Project (Diaphanes, 2019). She currently teaches at the Art Academy Weissensee in Berlin and is working on a research project on media and milieus of critical psychiatry at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar.

Tickets - Pay-what-you-wish ($8 suggested donation), available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 6:30pm.