Heresies aims to strengthen critical practice outside any institution, and to raise awareness of the interconnectedness of material, practice and structures of agency. Planned for the extended Podium community, Heresies takes the form of a lecture/seminar/intervention series programmed by Susanne M. Winterling through Spring 2016.
Sometimes it’s a matter of alliances, and having hands-on complexities, but each time it’s a mutual process. Technological devices influence us no less, as we act with and upon material and culture/nature-hybrids. Acknowledging the entanglement of the social and ecological as well as the structural of our contemporary condition, is the basis for any community well-being and the arts : Production of space, the commons and change.
Heresies #5: Denise Ferreira da Silva
Seminar on Friday, 24th of March at 15.00
Talk on Saturday, 25th of March at 16.00
Fractal thinking, Ferreira da Silva proposes, welcomes the complexity and complication resulting from an engagement with existents and events that, refusing the empire of time, attends simultaneously to the infra (quantic) and supra (cosmic) dimensions of existence. In this talk and reading group at Podium, she situates this proposal within her larger offering to the unthinking of the world, black feminist poethics, which she draws from the work of black feminist and other radical interventions. As a poethical tool, fractal thinking rehearses the kind of compositional thinking that she hopes can break through the formalisations of the kind of thinking that relies only on the Understanding’s capacity to related to the world as an object.
Denise Ferreira da Silva is Director of The Social Justice Institute (the Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice) at the University of British Columbia. Her academic writings and artistic practice address the ethical questions of the global present and target the metaphysical and onto-epistemological dimensions of modern thought. Academic publications include Toward a Global Idea of Race (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) and the edited volume Race, Empire, and The Crisis of the Subprime (with Paula Chakravartty, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). She is the principal editor for the Routledge/Cavendish book series Law, Race, and the Postcolonial (with Mark Harris and Brenna Bhandar). She has written for publications of the 2016 Liverpool and São Paulo Biennials and creates events and texts as part of her Poethical Readings practice in collaboration with Valentina Desideri. She was an advisor to Natasha Ginwala, curator of the Contour 8 Biennale (Mechelen, 2017).
Heresies #4: The Stack to Come by Benjamin H. Bratton
What has planetary-scale computation done to our geopolitical realities? It takes different forms at different scales—from energy and mineral sourcing and subterranean cloud infrastructure to urban software and massive universal addressing systems; from interfaces drawn by the augmentation of the hand and eye to users identified by self—quantification and the arrival of legions of sensors, algorithms, and robots. Together, how do these distort and deform modern political geographies and produce new territories in their own image?
In his book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, Benjamin Bratton proposes that these different genres of computation—smart grids, cloud platforms, mobile apps, smart cities, the Internet of Things, automation—can be seen not as so many species evolving on their own, but as forming a coherent whole: an accidental mega-structure called The Stack that is both a computational apparatus and a new governing architecture. The Stack is an interdisciplinary design brief for a new geopolitics that works with and for planetary-scale computation. Interweaving the continental, urban, and perceptual scales, it shows how we can better build, dwell within, communicate with, and govern our worlds.
“Intelligence” is one way that matter organizes itself into durable complexity. A special form of that complexity is the city: a settled accumulation of a material intelligence, both human and inhuman. As Artificial Intelligence becomes more sophisticated what will be its urban design project? What should it be?
In this wide-ranging new talk, Design Theorist, Benjamin H. Bratton, maps the city layer of The Stack, the computational megastructure we have, and outlines how cities may evolve in relation to computationally-rich algorithmic perception, sensation, cognition and physical automation. From deep infrastructure to immediate affects, what we today gather under the name “artificial intelligence” will shift not only what counts as “thinking” but also what counts as architecture, design, politics and programming.
Benjamin H. Bratton’s work spans Philosophy, Art, Design and Computer Science. He is Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California, San Diego. He recently founded the school’s new Speculative Design undergraduate major. He is also a Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture)
This lecture was kindly supported by SPACEGROUP.
SPACEGROUP is an award winning architecture and urban planning office based in Oslo, Norway. With 25 years of experience working on projects all over the world, the two founding partners Gary Bates (US) and Gro Bonesmo (NO) brought an international practice to Oslo when establishing SPACEGROUP in 1999. They both worked for many years at Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) before starting SPACEGROUP. With the last 15 years based in Scandinavia, the company is deeply rooted in the Scandinavian approach to architecture and its relationship to the public space and site specific urban strategies, while still keeping an international perspective.
The company is directed by partners Gary Bates, Gro Bonesmo & Floire Nathanael Daub.
Heresies #3: Automation by Hannah Black
Hannah Black is an artist and writer from the UK. She lives in Berlin. Her work in video and installation has been exhibited at a number of galleries including Arcadia Missa and Legion TV (London), Chateau Shatto (LA) and W139 (Amsterdam), and readings/performances have taken place at the New Museum, Interstate Projects and Cage (New York), the Whitechapel, the Showroom and Cafe Oto (London). Her writing has been published in The New Inquiry, Texte zur Kunst and Frieze (DE), among other magazines, and in her book Dark Pool Party (Dominica/Arcadia Missa). She completed her MFA at Goldsmiths in 2013 and was a studio participant on the Whitney ISP in New York from 2013 to 2014.
30th February at 16.00
Heresies #2: Contesting the Anthropocene: Geo-Social Futures, Eco-Modernism & Left Optimism
The Anthropocene – the so-called ‘Geological age of man’ – has emerged as a key terms in contemporary social theory. This talk will examine the concept and the various ways it has been taken up in the humanities, social sciences and the arts.
Much of the critical debate has highlighted how appeals to a supposedly universal ‘Anthropos’ conceal the historically specific forms of social power that have produced planetary change, with various narratives of the Anthropocene’s origins being mapped against European colonialism, global capitalism and nuclear militarism rather than the actions of a putative ‘humanity’. Less remarked upon has been how these contested accounts of the Anthropocene’s origins bear on what forms of geo-social futures may be considered possible and desirable.
This talk turns to the question of geo-social futures, critically examining those envisioned by so-called ‘eco-modernism’ and exploring the relationship between ‘post-natural’ ecologies and politics that they involve. However, it also argues that Left eco-critics risk ceding optimism as an affective orientation to reactionary forms of thought such as eco-modernism by default, blocking the way for more socially just and ecological sustainable visions of geo-social futures to gain affective traction on political processes.
It concludes by arguing that in order to avoid melancholic paralysis in the face of massive social and environmental devastation it is crucial for Left environmentalism to develop affective sensibilities and conceptual orientations towards geo-social futures that refuse the necessity of pessimism.
Rory Rowan is a postdoctoral researcher in the Political Geography Research Unit at the University of Zurich, where his research focuses on the political and philosophical dimensions of the Anthropocene and earth systems management. He is co-author with Claudio Minca of On Schmitt and Space, has written on art, politics and philosophy for a number of publications including e-Flux, Society and Space, Progress in Human Geography, Mute and Spike Art and contributed writing to a number of exhibitions in Europe, the United States and Brazil.
HERESIES #1: Lecture by Ana Teixeira Pinto followed by a screening of Tilikum by Jan Peter Hammer
Sometimes it’s a matter of alliances, and having hands-on complexities, but each time it’s a mutual process. Technological devices influence us no less, as we act with and upon material and culture/nature-hybrids. Acknowledging the entanglement of the social and ecological as well as the structural of our contemporary condition, is the basis for any community well-being and the arts : Production of space, the commons and change. Thus we invite Ana Teixeira Pinto to tell us about cybernetics and behaviorism, Jan Peter Hammer to screen what is behind an orca killing three trainers, and Rory Rowan, who will lead us to imagine how extinction as usual might be a geo-social future within the Anthropocene and political optimism.