The Magicians of the Mountain
26 October 2019 (registration opens 1 June 2019)
In spring 1929, just a glimpse before the Great Depression and the Great Crash to come soon, the Cassirer-Heidegger debate takes place in Davos; Ernst Cassirer pulls his arguments for a broader conception of humanity, his counterpart is Martin Heidegger and his relativism. The quest of a universal truth drives a ‘continental divide’ (Peter E. Gordon) or ‘Weggabelung der Philosophie’ (Henning Ritter), anticipating major philosophical debates to come.
90 years ahead, in Susch, 40 minutes away from Davos, once again in times of disorientation, disillusion, with radical movements on the rise, we are repeating the question that led the historical debate: Can the critique of reason grow into a critique of culture? Was ist der Mensch?
Taking this point of departure, we don’t intend to fall into the trap of ‘Retrotopia’ (Zygmunt Bauman) and interpret the Roaring Twenties of the last century as legendary times of productivity for thought, talent and daring. Rather, we are aware that talking in 2019, we are talking about the present, now and to come – always reminded by poets that the present is just a proposition: ‘heute ist morgen schon gestern (by tomorrow, today is already yesterday)’ (Masha Kaleko).
To discuss consolidations of individual, economic and political proceedings we bring together scholars and artists, philosophers and authors, thinkers who will be asking questions and counter questions circling around the possibilities for universal truths versus a relative view of human temporality and finitude, rational thinking and the notion of men as ‘symbolic animals’, creating a universe of symbolic meanings, versus our being-in-the-world, perceiving the world via our relationship to time. This vast theme is broken down into several more specific discourses, concerning especially the relationship of philosophy, politics and art.
Between Cassirer’s ‘Ausdrucks-Raum, Darstellungs-Raum, Bedeutungs-Raum’ (room for expression, representation, meaning) and Heidegger’s mental state of fear as a central point of existence, tentative explorations into the role of humanities and art shall lead to an exchange of potentially contradicting but still complementary interpretations and explanations of the world we inhabit.