The Transcendental Club

The Transcendental Club is inspired by the club of the same name established in 1836 in Boston. It was set up by Henry Hedge and included amongst it’s members Emmerson, George Putman and George Ripley. It was a periodic gathering of persons from a variety of backgrounds and education who were dissatisfied with the present state of philosophy, religion, and literature in America. They looked for hope to Europe, especially to Germany, to Kant in philosophy, to Schleiermacher in religion, and to Goethe in literature. They were mostly anti-Lockean; most believed in intuition. They were romanticists, not classicists or philosophers. They were radicals or liberals rather than conservatives in politics and almost all followed the logic of their belief in freedom and autonomy into one or another arena of social action.

The club was a forum for new ideas, informal, open-ended and far from the usual exclusive social clique conveyed by the word club. Meetings were often centered on a single topic and members were simply anyone who attended.

“The life of a man is a self-evolving circle,” Emerson says in “Circles,” “which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outward to new and larger circles, and that without end.” The Transcendental Club served its members in this manner.

From Robert D.Richardson Jr ‘Emerson: the mind on fire’

February 2005 salon opening!

The first Transcendental Club kicked off on February 11 and concerned Corrupting Narrative. People attending included artists, filmmakers, writers and curators. Films were shown (on film!), videos screened and a new media interactive project demonstrated. Discussion was lively and supper was scrumptous! (if I do say myself)

Members now include:

David Leister, filmmaker

Stuart Croft, artist

Arne Sjogren, new media filmmaker

Rastko Novakovic, film theorist and maker

Nina Ernst, Film and Video Umbrella

Maria Walsh, writer and lecturer

Niki Russell, artist

Deej Fabyc, artist

Simeon Nelson, artist

Joanna Callaghan, artist and salon hostess