Anomalies as Waking Dreams

23 Mar 2015

Event times

6.30pm start. Finishing around 8pm.

Cost of entry

This event is free, and open to all. There is no need to book.

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The Anatomy Museum

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Charing Cross, Covent Garden
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Hosted by the Performance Research Group at King's College London, this meeting invites Theron Schmidt (KCL) and Karoline Gritzner (Aberystwyth) to reflect upon darkness, dreams and insomnia, in the intersecting fields of performance and philosophy.


The Anomalous, Meeting ​seminar series at King's College London provokes questions about how we might be seen to operate through anomalies, in a theoretical, social and disciplinary sense; it was curated to structure an understanding of the sorts of anomalies this logic describes. Curated by Penny Newell, the series brings together scholars from various disciplines hoping to begin conversations around and about anomalies, in theory and in practice. **The final session will include an overview of the shared political and aesthetic implications that have emerged from the series theme of anomalies throughout the seminars.**

Karoline Gritzner will provoke an understanding of the non-thought of anomalies, through presenting her recent work on Adorno’s overlooked dream notebooks. In a piece written partly during states of insomnia, Theron Schmidt will explore the problem of darkness as a representational anomaly – how do you ‘show’ it? – as well as a phenomenological limit-case. 

The anomaly is typically an erroneous result that exceeds the given operational rules of a system. Yet, the anomaly is also paradoxical, since its excessiveness retains a productive capacity with regard to the system's operation; the 'anomalous' outside seems to affirm the stability of the inside, which reconstitutes its power through calling 'anomalous' that which it cannot control, compute, capture or define. This paradox carries implications for the operation of systems, subjectivity, power and theory. Indeed, for Lyotard, 'blanks' invoke critique of a political system, yet in his theory of postmodernity these blanks become spaces where power is reconstituted; for Lacan, the unconscious vacillates in a 'split' or anomaly in the subject, producing that subject as subject; Foucault stresses the operational rules necessary for the emergence of the anomaly, whilst Adorno encounters the 'nonidentical' in thought, investing anomalies with the capacity to be thought through or from. The Anomalous, Meeting re-opens these questions, bridging contemporary disciplines and fields in new and stimulating ways.



Penny Newell


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