Talking Hands

Thursday, 16 May 2024, 8 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Film screening and conversation with
Emanuel Almborg | Olexii Kuchanskyi | Elena Vogman

Emanuel Almborg’s film Talking Hands (2016) concerns the 1960s Zagorsk School for deaf-blind children in a Moscow suburb, and the pedagogical approach that was developed in the school’s practice. The school was established by Evald Ilyenkov who, in opposition to the then prevailing Soviet ideology, conceptualised human consciousness as socially constituted and culturally produced in relation to collective labour, material objects and tools. Drawing on his original reading of Spinoza, Ilyenkov emphasised the “thinking body”, and its capacity to “mold its own action to the shape of any other body.” In resonance with this, one of his deaf-blind students, Alexander Suvorov, exclaimed: “Who told you that we see nothing and hear nothing? We see and hear through the eyes and ears of our friends, all people, the entire humanity.”

Talking Hands is largely based on interviews with Suvorov, who now holds a doctorate in psychology. The conversations between director Emanuel Almborg and the protagonist are interwoven with 16mm archive footage documenting the teaching and activities around the Zagorsk school in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The screening will be accompanied by a discussion with the director Emanuel Almborg and the media scholars Elena Vogman and Olexii Kuchanskyi.

This event is part of the conference Images of the Ideal. Evald Ilyenkov at 100 at ZfL Berlin.