Neo-Sincerity: On Irony, Authenticity, and Emotions in Art


Monday, July 18, 7pm

Inspired by the works of Ragnar Kjartansson, this panel focuses on irony and authenticity, the emotional realm of contemporary life, and the difficulty of expression and generation of emotion in art. Roy Brand, Eva Illouz, and Nissan Shor will consider questions such as: What makes a work of art sincere? What are the markers of “originality” and “authenticity”? Is irony a form of critique or of empty entertainment and despair? And how can art remain effective while avoiding the traps of participation, on the one hand, or cynicism, on the other? 

Socrates used Irony to spur the interlocutor, Kierkegaard thought irony is absolute negativity, while Nietzsche claimed it is necessary for becoming who one is. Roy Brand will provide a short history of irony and discuss its uses and misuses in the present.  

In some of her books, Eva Illouz argues that the culture of capitalism has commodified authenticity. Illouz examines the process by which self-identity and social relationships are defined through consumer markets.

Nissan Shor will focus on the heritage of 90’s print culture and and how it has led to today’s flavor of irony. He’ll review how people reconnected to their bodies and to dance via drugs such as ecstasy and MDMA and the battle between mind and body. He will also discuss social anxiety and embarrassment and how they’ve become hallmark emotions of our time.  

The event will be held in Hebrew and moderated by CCA Curator Chen Tamir.

About the Speakers

Roy Brand teaches philosophy at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem. He had founded and directed Yaffo 23, Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, and has taught at the Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Vassar College. He specializes in modern and contemporary philosophy, trauma and popular culture, and curatorial practices and aesthetics. Brand has curated numerous exhibitions and was part of the curatorial team of the Israeli Pavilion in the Venice Biennale for Architecture in 2014. His most recent book, LoveKnowledge: The Life of Philosophy from Socrates to Derrida (2012) has recently come out in Hebrew.

Eva Illouz is a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She has penned several books, many of which explore the junction of emotions, culture, and communication, and the ways in which capitalism has transformed emotional patterns through consumption and production.

Nissan Shor is a writer and filmmaker. He directed the documentary series “Dancing with Tears in Our Eyes” (based on his book exploring the history of club culture in Israel), “The Ad Men: The Story of the Israeli Advertising Industry,” and “A Place at the Top: Six Chapters About Israeli Pop.” Shor writes a weekly column for Ha’aretz newspaper’s weekend edition. His writing about popular culture and politics has been published in numerous anthologies and catalogues. His first novel will be published in 2017.