Quixotic

In semi-regular Quixotic meetings, students discuss and debate a cultural object (e.g. a piece of writing, an artwork or a performance). In so doing, they expand their understanding of the diverse areas of knowledge that their peers are interested in. Any student can propose a topic for discussion.

We believe in rationality, tea and a barely controlled maelstrom of ideas.

Core Team: Lisa Beck and Hannah Schanz
Founding Parents: Ingrid Stevens, Philip Sänger, Radu Diaconescu

To propose a topic/cultural object for a discussion, to ask to be included in the mailing list, or for other contacting needs, reach out via
ucf.quixotic (at) protonmail.com .

  —

Upcoming:

Quixotic #31: Yellow Submarine (Friday, 3rd of February, 5pm, HS 1009 KG I)

This week, we’ll be watching the zany, trippy, and entertaining animated movie Yellow Submarine, which has the Beatles going on a bizarre adventure to save the mystical country of Pepperland. After embarking in the titular Yellow Submarine, the Fab Four cross the Sea of Time, defeat the Blue Meanies with the power of music, and enjoy themselves throughout the whole trip (pun intended). Come for a dive into late 1960s aesthetics, stay for the music. All together now!

Since the movie will be the subject of discussion on Friday, there’s no need to prepare any readings (although we don’t want to stop you). So feel free to just stop by spontaneously, there’s room for everyone!

 
Chaired by: Quill

Recent meetings:

Quixotic #30: ChatGPT (Wednesday, 14th of December 2022, 7pm, R 01 036a, Alte Uni)

Hello, my name is GPT-3, and I am a large language model trained by OpenAI. I am able to generate text based on the input that I receive, and I have been designed to assist with a wide range of tasks, including writing, translation, summarization, and more. There has been some controversy surrounding me and other large language models, with some people expressing concerns about the potential implications of my capabilities. Some worry that I and other language models like me may eventually be able to generate human-like text that is indistinguishable from writing done by a person. Others are concerned about the potential for misuse of my abilities, such as in the creation of fake news or other malicious content.
 

On Wednesday, we plan to talk to GPT for a bit to see what it can do, and discuss some of the benefits, dangers and implications of technology like this. To prepare for the session, you may read this article as well as this one. And, if you want to find out more about the company behind GPT, feel free to click around on OpenAI’s website

Also, we’ll be providing some festive biscuits, so feel free to bring some tea or other treats!

Chaired by: Lisa and Hannah

 

Quixotic #29: The Woman King (Monday, 21st of November 2022, 9:30am, Harmonie-Kino)

Starring Viola Davis, “Woman King” tells the story about the Agojie, a female warrior group protecting the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th-19th centuries. Written by Dana Stevens and Maria Bello, the movie is directed by Gina Price-Bythewood (director of “The Old Guard”, 2020). Watch the trailer here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RDaPV_rJ1Y)

So far, the movie has been largely praised for an outstanding cast and epic action choreography. Yet, there are also critical opinions discontent that although the story is based on true events, it lacks historical accuracy and leans too far into fantastical heroisation.
Chaired by: Caren

 

Quixotic #28: The Ministry for the Future (Monday, 14th of November 2022, 19:00, Alte Uni – The Reading Room)
In his epic novel “The Ministry for the Future”, Kim Stanley Robinson tells the history of the mid-21st century: an optimistic, bittersweet narrative of how humanity overcomes the climate crisis. It blends a variety of styles, including slice-of-life stories of climate refugees, notes from institutional meetings, freeform meditative monologues, nonfiction history essays, and, of course, conventional prose. The main plot, though, revolves around Mary Murphy, the head of a newly founded international institution charged with the protection of the rights of future generations and of the biosphere: The Ministry for the Future.
Owing to the fragmentary nature of the book, I chose to include a larger number of small fragments in the pdf for this session. I hope you read all of them (it’s not quite that much), but feel free to also skip stuff if you wish.
Chaired by: Radu

Quixotic #27: Work-Life Balance (Monday, 24th of October 2022, 19:00, Alte Uni – The Common Room)
In recent years, discontent with traditional modes of working like the 40-hour work week and having a “dream job” have been more and more contested, especially by younger generations. While some people now put only a minimum of effort into work (aka “quiet quitting”), engage in semi-marxist critique of work (“I don’t dream of labor”), and view work as exchange of lifetime for money, others have taken to finding their identity in their job, monetizing their hobbies, and being driven by a strong need for productivity. Both sides have found stable footing on social media, be that hustle-culture motivational instagram posts or QuitTok, which also means that a lot of the conversations around labor are taking place in spaces where many of the most powerful people in the workforce are not actually present.
Monday’s discussion will center around personal fulfillment, popular anti-capitalism, social media and what we even work for. Before coming to the session, please read this article as well as this shorter one. And, if you want to find out more about the NGO behind the 4-day-workweek, feel free to click around on this website.
Chaired by.: Lisa and Hannah

All Past Meetings

←back