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Theory — 6 Oct 2019

Kaja Silverman is one of the most innovative thinkers in the field of photography. On the occasion of the exhibition Walid Raad, Let’s be honest, the weather helped at the Stedelijk Museum, Kaja Silverman will share her recent project on photography and continue her conversation with Walid Raad.

Museum ticket +  € 3
Teijin Auditorium
6 Oct 2019, 3 pm until 5 pm
Main language
This event is sold out

Kaja Silverman is currently working on the three-part The History of Photography, in which she rewrites and revises the history and theory of photography. The first part, Miracle of Analogy, or The History of Photography, Part I, appeared in 2015, and at the moment she is writing the third and final volume, The Promise of Social Happiness.

This presentation is based on the content of the second volume: The Three-Personed Picture, or The History of Photography, Part II, which will be published later this year. Silverman describes the period between 1839—following the development of chemical photographic processing—and 1910, during which a different kind of image emerges, one that is pictorial or visual in nature. Like all photographs, the work has two sides, but in a new way. Because this photography is specifically intended to be hung on the wall of a museum or gallery, instead of mounted in an album, a locket, or set on a mantlepiece, its two sides face each other, connecting them, like in the painting Las Meninas (1656) by Diego Velázquez. The work and interests of Kaja Silverman and Walid Raad are closely interlinked. For years they have been engaged in close conversation about their work, and they challenge each other to look and think differently. Recently these conversations revolved around Las Meninas, which also plays a role in Walid Raad’s work. During the program, they will continue this conversation.

Image: Kaja Silverman, Philadelphia, 2018. Photograph by Carrie Schneider.
Image: Kaja Silverman, Philadelphia, 2018. Photograph by Carrie Schneider.


3 pm
Welcome and introduction by Hripsimé Visser
3.05 pm
Presentation: Kaja Silverman The Museum with Walls
3.45 pm
Conversation: Kaja Silverman and Walid Raad 
4:30 pm
Program ends
6 pm
Museum closes


Kaja Silverman is the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of nine books: The Miracle of Analogy, or The History of Photography, Part 1 (2015); Flesh of My Flesh (2009); James Coleman (2002); World Spectators (2000); Speaking About Godard (with Harun Farocki, 1998); The Threshold of the Visible World (1996); Male Subjectivity at the Margins (1992); The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema (1988); and The Subject of Semiotics (1983).

In his work, Lebanese-American artist Walid Raad reveals a sharply critical, engaged, and often witty vision of the complexities of the Lebanese Civil War and developments in the art world of the Middle East. The exhibition Let’s be honest, the weather helped, which is on view at the Stedelijk Museum until 13 October 2019, reflects how Raad works in a wide variety of visual media, such as film, photography, multimedia installations, performances, and essays, through which he analyzes the historical, political, economic, and aesthetic aspects of war. On view in each room are new combinations of works from Raad’s three major long-term projects: The Atlas Group (1989–2004), Sweet talk commissions Beirut (since 1987), and Scratching on things I could disavow (since 2007).

Please note that by attending the program you could potentially be filmed and photographed for archival, commercial and/or journalistic purposes. If you do not wish to be filmed or photographed, please contact our staff prior to the program. If you would like us to delete your images, please send an e-mail to publicprogram@stedelijk.nl