Public Lectures

Past 2016 Public Lectures

The Manifesto: from Surrealism to the Present

André Breton

Anonymous, André Breton, 1924

Associate Professor Natalya Lusty
Thursday 9 June 2016
6-7 pm

Law School LT 104, Level 1
Sydney Law School Annex
Eastern Avenue
The University of Sydney


Listen to the lecture on SoundCloud.

André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto (1924) is one of the most iconic manifestos of the 20th century. Defining “psychic automatism’ as a process that encouraged a freeing of the mind from rational and utilitarian values and constraints as well as moral and aesthetic judgement, Breton’s manifesto conceived of Surrealism as a revolution of the mind that would fundamentally transform everyday experience.

This talk explores how the manifesto became a defining genre of the artistic avant-garde and other political movements across the 20th century, from Futurism and Surrealism to radical feminist manifestos by Valerie Solanas and the Riot Grrrls. It coincides with Julian Rosefeldt’s moving image 2014-2015 artwork, 'Manifesto', which brings to life the enduring provocation of the historical art manifesto.

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Natalya Lusty is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Surrealism, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (Ashgate, 2007), Dreams and Modernity: A Cultural History (Routledge, 2013), with Helen Groth and the edited collection, Modernism and Masculinity (Cambridge University Press, 2014), which was shortlisted for the Modernist Studies Association book prize. She has spent the last decade writing and talking about manifestos in numerous academic contexts and public forums and is currently completing a book on feminist manifestos.

Key Texts
Sydney Ideas continues the Key Texts series co-presented with the Sydney Intellectual History Network (SIHN) this year to bring you a series of talks following the tradition of the Key Thinkers and Key Concepts series. Key Texts invites our leading academics to discuss a text that has influenced their way of thinking. By text, we conceive of this in the widest possible sense to include not only the written word in book form, but a work of art or a building, a legal case or decision, rituals and aural traditions, a medical or scientific model. For more information on the series see this page.