Pacific Northwest College of Art
Center for Contemporary Art and Culture

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Norman Klein: Dismantling The American Psyche

Jul 18, 2011 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM



This lecture kicks off the 2011 Boundary Crossings Institute with a talk by the renown cultural critic, Norman Klein. 

The opening lecture of the Boundary Crossing Summer Animation Institute brings renown cultural critic, historian and novelist Norman Klein back to Pacific Northwest College of Art. “Dismantling of the American Psyche” looks at the frozen and disengaged in present day American culture. This lecture posits the viewer in the situation of a comic tragedy, putting the audience in a place to want to understand, to ethically and personally re-experience. The lecture will present areas where this type of alienation and inaction is most evident; and why this has taken place.

Possible topics Klein suggests in his lecture include how visual art responds to the suburbanization of inner cities; to media-savvy revolutions in North Africa; to anti-democratic oligarchs attacking worker’s rights, gay couples, the pursuit of health; immigration rights. Klein will claim that America faces a culture based on serious loss of political sovereignty. And yet, he finds more local democracy, through social networks, through alternative forms of distribution. 

Klein presented a lecture at PNCA on October 21, 2010 on Navigating Scripted Spaces: The Moving Image Since 1550. Listen to the lecture podcast or watch a video of an interview with Klein on Untitled, PNCA’s online magazine.

Norman Klein is a historian in the fields of architecture, media and culture and Professor of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts. Klein’s books include The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects (2004), The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory (1997), Seven Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon (1993), and the data/cinematic novel, Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920–86 (2003). Klein recently published a fictionalized memoir on forgetting and the hollowing out of America, entitled Freud in Coney Island and Other Tales (2006). Klein’s essays appear in anthologies, museum catalogs, newspapers, scholarly journals and on the web. Klein will be a faculty member in the 2011 Boundary Crossings, a summer institute in Contemporary Animated Arts at Pacific Northwest College of Art that embraces the hybrid-moving image by combining critical thought, fine art practice and digital technologies.


Free and open to the public.


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