Phillip Prager is Assistant Professor in Aesthetics at the IT University of Copenhagen, where he teaches digital art, art history and play theory. He holds a BA in History from Yale University (2001), and completed a PhD in Screen Media and Cultures at Cambridge University (2009) before embarking on a postdoctoral fellowship in cognitive aesthetics at the Minerva Foundation, UC-Berkeley (2010). Phillip’s work relates scientific research on creative cognition and play behavior to 20th and 21st century art, and explores how outdated romantic, psychoanalytic and classical notions of creativity remain prevalent even in the 21st century. He also works as a consultant and offers creativity workshops for the private sector. Phillip lives in Copenhagen and Cambridge, grows heirloom vegetables with an aim of creating an all-purple vegetable garden and enjoys fossil-hunting in his spare time.
Recent publications: Prager, Phillip. 2013. ‘Play and the Avant-Garde: Aren’t We All a Little Dada?’, American Journal of Play, 5: 239- 256 Prager, Phillip. 2012. ‘Making an Art of Creativity: The Cognitive Science of Duchamp and Dada’, Creativity Research Journal, 24: 266-277.
Title of Talk: The Modernist Muse
Teaser: The Bauhaus, Weimar Germany’s iconic modernist school, which operated from 1919 to 1933, pioneered the integration of industry, science and design. This paper focuses on László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946), one of the most prominent Bauhaus artists and pedagogues, who played a key role in formulating the Bauhaus philosophy. Moholy- Nagy had a particular enthusiasm for formalist photography and led and developed the Vorkurs (preliminary course), the cornerstone of Bauhaus pedagogy. While often characterized as a utopian rationalist in traditional art historical accounts, Moholy-Nagy’s photographic formalism and visual pedagogy, which he developed in Painting Photography Film (1925) , New Vision (1938) and Vision in Motion (1947) , are not pleas for rationalism; they reveal visionary insights into the mechanisms of visual perception and the features of creative cognition, such as disinterestedness, conceptual recombination, categorical reduction and play.