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Welcome to the website of the Study Centre for Experimental Literature (SEL)! Information about SEL's activities and publications can be found on this website.


Lecture by Simon Richter (UPenn) on “‘Self-Expression’ and the Cook’s Body in Documentary Film”

On Tuesday, April 25, 10.00 a.m., Prof. dr. Simon Richter (UPenn) gives a lecture at the VUB (room D.3.15), on “‘Self-Expression’ and the Cook’s Body in Documentary Film”.

Simon Richter is professor of German and Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include Women, Pleasure, Film: What Lolas WantMissing the Breast: Gender, Fantasy and the Body in the German Enlightenment; and Laocoon’s Body and the Aesthetics of Pain, as well as articles on German foodways and Hegel’s dialectic of digestion. At Penn, he occasionally teaches a popular course on food and film.

All are welcome to this lecture,

Peter Scholliers (FOST) / Hans Vandevoorde (CLIC/SEL)



This symposium, held on 23 November 2016 at the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR), coincides with an exhibition at BOZAR curated by Ulrich Bischoff and entitled ‘The Power of the Avant-Garde’. The exhibition features work of historical avant-gardists (including Alexander Archipenko, Robert Delaunay, Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Kazimir Malevich, Franz Marc, Gino Severini) in dialogue with (and in part handpicked by) more contemporary artists John Baldessari, David Claerbout, Marlène Dumas, Bogomir Ecker, Olafur Eliasson, William Forsythe, William Kentridge, (Louise Lawler), Marcel Odenbach, Roman Signer, Sean Scully, Luc Tuymans, Koen Vermeule, Jeff Wall, and Marijke van Warmerdam.

The question the exhibition explores is also the one this one-day symposium seeks to address: what new perspectives on the arts and practices of the historical avant-gardes can be unlocked by studying their lasting appeal in the later twentieth and early twenty-first century? Put differently: how has the power of the avant-gardes manifested itself in more recent times? Now heavily canonised, futurists, Dadaists, expressionists, surrealists, constructivists and many other vanguardists were once fiercely critical of conventions in art and society. They also redefined the arts, their relations and their functions with vibrant energy. Yet in what ways did that energy continue to circulate? Traditionally, historians of the arts trace the after-effects of the avant-gardes through a succession of post-World-War-II neo-avant-gardes into the upsurge of politicized art in recent decades. Yet what cultural constellations, in the West and beyond, proved particularly beneficial for the energy of the avant-gardes to flare up? In what different fashions did the energy of the avant-gardes manifest itself? What happens when we look beyond the traditional trajectories of avant-gardism historians have carved out? Did the historical avant-gardes’ energy return with equal intensity in all (expanded) art forms? What hitherto less explored aspects of the historical avant-gardes prove of significance from a contemporary point of view? And how, ultimately, does an exploration of these and related questions change our views of the historical avant-gardes?

Featured speakers include Aless Erjavec (University of Ljubljana), Tania Oerum (University of Copenhagen), Tyrus Miller (University of California, Santa Cruz), John Roberts (Kingston University).


26 February 2016: Masterclass with Peter Stockwell (University of Nottingham) on Cognitive Approaches to Modern and Contemporary Prose and Poetry

This masterclass brings together PhD-students from Flemish universities who apply various cognitive methods to twentieth-century prose and poetry. It seeks the participation of researchers (PhD-students, postdocs, professors and MA-students) who wish to discuss the theoretical footing of the presented research projects, and to address the challenges which the researchers face. Peter Stockwell (University of Nottingham) will provide feedback, and will deliver a keynote lecture about language use in surrealist texts.

Participation is free of charge, but please register (either for the whole day or just for the keynote) with Elke.Depreter@vub.ac.be


On 8 and 9 September 2015, the research group SEL and the WOG OLITH organise the conference Confrontations - Experimental Dutch and German literature of the long sixties. The event will take place at the KVAB in Brussels and is supported by CLIC. The program will be announced soon.


CLIC research partners THALIA, CLIV and SEL organised a seminar (in Dutch) on Friday 27 February, on the theatre production Empedokles by Theater Zuidpool. Click here to see the programme.

When? Friday, 27 February 2015, 10.00 am until 12.30 pm

Where? Foyer Theaterzaal Vooruit, Ghent