Ding Pengfei: Who Sustains “Survivability”? —— Primo Levi, Elements, Levinas

2024.01.27 Saturday 14:00



Speaker: Ding Pengfei

Taking Levi's elemental “plot-complex” as a starting point, this lecture with explore the ethical correlations between elemental perception and the witnessing of the unwitnessable in Levi's memoirs. By incorporating the phenomenologist Levinas into this discourse, the lecture will further address the profound, indissoluble intimacy existing between material elements and the corporeal beings. This trajectory leads towards a broader cosmological understanding of life and survival. In this sense, within the historical progression from the Anthropocene to the post-human era, individuals of the present share a hidden in-depth elemental “plot-complex.” This narrative not only intricately weaves a web of ethical relations among subjects but also, by scrutinizing the profound depths of each corporeal mind, offers an alternative approach towards nature for individuals ensnared in the fragmented existence of technological society.


About the Speaker: Ding Pengfei

Pengfei Ding, PhD in Chinese Language and Literature of Nanjing University, Associate Professor of the Department of Chinese at Xinjiang University, engaged mainly in research on the criticism of materiality phenomenon in British and American literature and cross-media art criticism. His published papers in recent years include “On Ethics of Corporeal ‘Immediacy’ in Primo Levi’s Survived Memoirs through Cognition of Elements”, “Toward Affect-Memory of Alienness: On the W.G. Sebald’ s Works of Materiality of Photographs”. His academic monographs that will be published in recent years include “Material Writing: A Study on Sebald’s Works” and “A Study on the ‘Contemporariness’ of Literary Criticism: From Biopolitics to Outside Emotion”.

The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.