Jean-Francois Lyotard

Wednesday 7 to Thursday 8 May 2014

University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, Dalhousie Building

This international conference brings together academics from the UK, France, Belgium, Korea, Australia and the US to discuss Jean-François Lyotard’s aesthetics and philosophy of film. It responds to the recent publication in bilingual versions of Lyotard’s works on art and aesthetics by Leuven University, the recent translation of his most important philosophical work Discourse, Figure (University of Minnesota Press, 2011), and the first-time translation of two of his essays on philosophy and film for this special event. Speakers will address the original contribution made by Lyotard to aesthetics, to the philosophy of art, and to the philosophy of film.

Lyotard's work as an aesthetician was focused on doing justice to the sensual qualities of works of art, in resistance to what he saw as the typical reduction of artworks to intellectual systems. One of the key debates in Lyotard's early work was with Jacques Lacan, whom he believed devalued the sensory and the work of art. Significantly, Lacan has been and remains the most significant theoretical reference in philosophy of film. What is at stake in this project, then, is the question of how a philosophical aesthetics can adequately understand film as an art. Arguably, much philosophical and theoretical engagement with film continues to see it as a neutral medium for the expression of ideas, which need to be interpreted. In contrast, Lyotard's aesthetics of film proposes a reflection on how film works in terms of the economy of the images and sounds of which it is composed. A critical engagement with his work thus promises a new angle of approach to the philosophy of film, which would understand it in terms of a sensorial aesthetics.

This conference is made possible by support from the Scots Philosophical Association.

Attendance is free. To help us with organization, please indicate your intention to attend. This and all other queries should be emailed to Dr Ashley Woodward:

See the Speaker Abstracts


Wednesday 7th May

10:45 Refreshments
11:15 Welcome
11:30 Peter W. Milne (Seoul National University)
Title: TBA
Chair: Dominic Smith
12:30 Break
12:45 Mathew Pateman (Sheffield Hallam University)
'Aryan Kaganof's Amsterdam Avenue Black Cadillac Blues: Acinema and pain of watching'
Chair: Mark Robson
1:45 Lunch
3:00 Vlad Ionescu (St Lucas School of Architecture)
'No obligation: the dialogue on painting as performative criticism'
Chair: TBA
4:00 Refreshments
4:30 KEYNOTE: Jean Michel Durafour (Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille 3 and the École Normale Supérieure)
Cinema Lyotard: An Introduction
Chair: Ashley Woodward
5:30 Break
5:45 Film Screening
7:00 Drinks (Venue TBA)
8:00 Conference Dinner (Venue TBA)

 Thursday 8th May

11:00 Refreshments
11:30 Keith Crome (Manchester Metropolitan University)
'The Art of Seduction: Lyotard on Cinema'
Chair: Kiff Bamford
12:30 Break
12:45 Julie Gaillard (Emory University)
'Imaginary Constructs? Reality and a Libidinal Economy of the Cinematographic Medium'
Chair: TBA
1:45 Lunch
3:00 Ashley Woodward (University of Dundee) and Graham Jones (Monash University)
'How Desire Works: A Lyotardian Lynch'
Chair: TBA
4:00 Refreshments
4:30 Kiff Bamford (Leeds Metropolitan University)
'Give me a sign: an anxious exploration of performance on film, under Lyotard's shadow'
Chair: TBA
5:00 Closing comments
5:30 Drinks (Venue TBA)

You can also download the programme as a PDF


The closest major airport to Dundee is Edinburgh Airport.

Getting to Dundee from the airport by train: a shuttlebus – Jet 747 - connects to Inverkeithing Station, from which trains run to  Dundee. Train timetables are available here:

Getting to Dundee from the airport by bus: a bus connection is also available between the airport and Dundee (

The University of Dundee is a short walk from both the train station and bus station.

For further information, see


The following are suggestions for accommodation close to the University of Dundee, in general order of price from highest to lowest.



University of Dundee:


This conference is made possible by support from the Scots Philosophical Association.