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Celebrating Hélène Cixous' Ex-Cities

Ex-Cities book launch at the Drawing Center in New York


Fields of Knowledge
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Politics / Economics
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions



Aaron Levy, Jean-Michel Rabaté


This program was made possible in part through the generous sponsorship of the British Council USA, the Mission du livre program of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. In-kind support has been generously provided by the French Department and La Maison Française of New York University.

Opens to public





The Drawing Center
35 Wooster St
New York, NY 10013


100% Formal - 0% Informal

I have known for a long time that one does not go anywhere. it is the cities or the countries that come or do not come to you. Cities are fateful letters. They only arrive lost. They only arrive posthumously.

Slought Foundation, in collaboration with the Drawing Center and The French Department and La Maison Française of New York University, is pleased to announce "Celebrating Hélène Cixous and Maria Chevska | Ex-Cities Book Launch." This event will take place on Saturday, October 14, 2006 from 6:00-7:30pm at The Drawing Center in New York City. French author and theorist Hélène Cixous and collaborating British artist Maria Chevska will be present, with brief remarks by Avital Ronell, Judith Miller, Eric Prenowitz, Jean-Michel Rabaté, and Aaron Levy, and a reception.

The book launch follows a public lecture by Hélène Cixous entitled "The Flying Manuscript" from 2-4pm at La Maison Française of New York University (16 Washington Mews at University Place).

Ex-Cities, a new release in the Contemporary Artist Series at Slought Books, arises from a shared concern for displacement and exile in the work of Cixous and Chevska. Visual documentation of "Vera's Room," an installation by Chevska in the Slought Foundation galleries, is interspersed throughout Cixous' text exploring the relation of art and literature to cities and their destruction. This bilingual publication includes a companion audio CD of the author reading, as well as a foreword by Eric Prenowitz and contributions by editors Aaron Levy and Jean-Michel Rabaté. Co-published with the Alice Paul Center for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Pennsylvania.

[Ex-Cities] takes displacement and exile as its points of departure in exploring the relation of art and literature to cities and their destruction. We can begin to read this meditation by remembering that cities are more than just habitats or geographical entities. They extend beyond networks of communication, commerce, sociality, or politics. Cities often exist in the form of memories and aspirations, and these cities are no less real despite their intangible nature. We always carry with us the memories of the cities that we have lived in or lost, abandoned or destroyed. These memories permit us to rebuild them from their ruins; we build new cities upon the memories of others. - Aaron Levy

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As an author of fiction, a playwright, a professor, a theorist and a critic, Hélène Cixous (b. 1937 in Oran, Algeria) has been a central figure in the profound reassessment of prevailing intellectual paradigms that has swept through virtually every domain of the humanities since the 1960s. Cixous is Emeritus Professor at the University of Paris 8, where she founded France's first Women's Studies doctoral program in 1974. Her seminar has been co-sponsored by the Collège International de Philosophie since 1984. She is also Honorary Professor at the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff. Her recent books in English translation include Veils (with Jacques Derrida; 2001), Selected Plays of Hélène Cixous (2003), Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint (2004), The Writing Notebooks of Hélène Cixous (2004/06), Dream I Tell You (2006), Reveries of the Wild Woman (2006) and The Day I Wasn't There (2006).

Maria Chevska lives in London and is a Professor of Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford University. She recently exhibited "Reading Room," an installation with Simon Morley, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in London (May 2005), and at the Musée d'art et d'histoire Romain Rolland, Clamecy. (2006). She exhibited "Vera's Room" at Slought Foundation in October-November 2005.

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Poet, playwright and philosopher Hélène Cixous explores the relation of art and literature to cities and their destruction in this bilingual collaboration with artist Maria Chevska and her installation Vera's Room.