Here the Poster and announcement of the symposium I am organizing, starting tomorrow!

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Matter, Memory, and the More-than-Human

Relational Aesthetics and Politics in the Age of the Anthropocene

Symposium: 16:00-19:00, Room 5.K12 (Nov. 27, 2014)

Workshop: 10:00-12:00, Room 5.K03 (Nov. 28, 2014)

In times of renewed debates on the status of the object and the real in the arts the question of a new radical empiricism is at stake. How is experience not human but always more-than-human or ecological? We ask: how such an ecological approach is political and what are its aesthetics?

Current enthusiasm about new forms of realism, like speculative realism, strikes the art field with immense force. What we perceive is a certain return of the “object,” similar to architecture’s return to the sketch-board, after three decades of conceptually driven discourse and its discomforting pitfalls. Finally, some might argue, we overcome the predominance of discourse and encounter “things” beyond language. What seems crucial, is the status of the real in these new aesthetic and philosophical debates.

With this symposium we want to extend the rather dialectic procedure with which this debate continues and investigate how the relations between matter, memory and the more-than-human enable a multi-shaded formation of the real, inclusive of the materialist sensibilities of Marxist, post-structuralist and radical empiricist philosophies of the last century. Making such an inquiry an aesthetic concern motivate us to reconsider the status of the empirical in relation to the experiential. Rather than following phenomenological traditions the symposium puts particular attention to early pragmatist philosophies like William James, Alfred North Whitehead and Ralph Waldo Emerson, providing a different, radical empiricist, version of the real.

Finally the question would be, how such a take on realism in the age of the anthropocene affords us to re-assess what a more-than-human politics might look like and what forms of organization are in need for its realization.

Speakers:

Heather Davis (Penn State University)

“Ancient Archives of the Future: Strange Temporalities of Plastic”

Ridvan Askin (University of Basel)

‘Every pumpkin in the field, goes through every point of pumpkin history’: Emerson and the Memory of Matter’

Stamatia Portanova (independent scholar)

“The Genius and the Algorithm. Reflections on the Postdigital Aesthetics as Capitalist Neurosis”

Joel McKim (Birkbeck University of London)

Object, Matter, Energy: Towards a Philosophy of Infrastructure

Organization: Christoph Brunner (ZHdK)

Link

Where: Zurich University of the Arts, Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 96, 8005 Zurich

Themes:

Accelerationist Aesthetics

Digital Aesthetics and Affect

Ecologies of Practices

Aesthetic Politics

New Materialism

Process Philosophy

Anarchitecture

Speculative Realism

Relational Aesthetics

Activist Philosophy

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I am co-organizing with Dimitrina Sevova a symposium entitled The Diagrammatic Practice of the Micropolitical – the Spatio-temporal Expression of Play between Power, Knowledge and the Aesthetics of Existence at Zurich University of the Arts.

Here are all the infos:

International Public Symposium at Pfingstweidstrasse 6, 8005 Zurich, ZHdK, 14/15/16 November 2013, around the notion of play, its processual (diagrammatic) and political and aesthetic potential in times of cognitive capitalism and its mechanisms of control over life and the urban environment.

Left: "The Playground, a Vacant Lot," Hale House, Boston, Mass., c1903, Social Museum Collection, Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museum.  Middle: Seattle Potlatch Parade showing float, 1912. Right: Nuria Vila + Marcelo Expósito, Tactical Frivolity + Rhythms of Resistance, video still, 2007.

Left: "The Playground, a Vacant Lot," Hale House, Boston, Mass., c1903, Social Museum Collection, Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museum. Middle: Seattle Potlatch Parade showing float, 1912. Right: Nuria Vila + Marcelo Expósito, Tactical Frivolity + Rhythms of Resistance, video still, 2007.

SPEAKERS: Paolo Caffoni, Giusy Checola, Binna Choi, discoteca flaming star (Cristina Gómez Barrio & Wolfgang Mayer), David Dibosa, Anja Kanngieser, Maurizio Lazzarato, Isabell Lorey, m-a-u-s-e-r (Mona Mahall & Aslı Serbest), Carmen Mörsch, Daniel Morgenthaler, Roberto Nigro, Susanna Perin (S.M.U.R.), Gerald Raunig, Adrian Rifkin, Kerstin Schroedinger, Marco Scotini, Diego Segatto, Joshua Simon, Kuba Szreder, Axel Wieder, Espace Temporaire (Magdalena Ybarguen).

RESPONDENTS: Jens Badura, Christoph Brunner, Karmen Franinović, Roberto Nigro, Romy Rüegger, Dimitrina Sevova.

PERFORMANCES: Chiara Fumai, T. Melih Görgün, Michael Hiltbrunner, Franziska Koch, David Maroto.

SCREENINGS: Marcelo Expósito, Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson, RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co).

MICROPOLITICAL WORKSHOP: Wiktoria Furrer & Sebastian Dieterich in cooperation with Elke Bippus.


Throughout three intense days the symposium will be an experimental space for expressing and sharing ideas – a place for intervening, investigating and provoking collective discussions on how to re-activate play’s potentiality in urban space, considered as a playground of deskilled, affective and precarious labor.

The symposium aims at relocating the notion of play from the outdoor to the outside as an ecology and extended space for experimentation and micropolitics beyond spatial confinement. We ask how such an outside emerges through practices unfolding and altering dominant diagrams of power in urban environments. Here, playing-together involves the capacity of forces of resistance to create situations as intensive fields of affection through the micropolitics of diagrammatic practices. Both, playing bodies and the process of learning as a common, a self-productive and living knowledge, perpetuate new forms of social subjectivity and its immanent growth between power, knowledge and an aesthetics of existence.

Bringing together artists, curators, activists and thinkers from the fields of performance, art, aesthetic theory, philosophy, architecture and design, the symposium comprises talks, artistic interventions, performances and screenings.

Curated by Dimitrina Sevova and Christoph Brunner in cooperation with the Bachelor Media & Art, specialization Fine Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts, Elke Bippus, Franziska Koch.

A cooperation with Z+ ‹ http://www.zhdk.ch/zplus ›.

In conjunction with the a-disciplinary project consisting of a platform of irregular non-serial events, screenings, public readings, performances, talks, urban interventions and other ephemera, on the theme of Opportunities for Outdoor Play? Playgrounds – New Spaces of Liberty (The Question of Form) outdoorplay.tumblr.com ›, curated by Dimitrina Sevova at Kunsthof Zürich between March and October 2013 in cooperation with Elke Bippus, Franziska Koch and the Bachelor Media & Art, specialization Fine Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts.

For further information please see ‹ outdoorplay.tumblr.com › or ‹ www.kunsthof.ch .

No registration required. Admission free. Seats limited. Please be on time for each thematic bloc, performance or screening.

[The curatorial text by Dimitrina Sevova and Christoph Brunner, and all other materials, can be found on the project blog, outdoorplay.tumblr.com. And in printable layout as PDF: programabstracts and bioscuratorial text.]

I will be giving a paper (for the rare occasion in German) at the Dramturgien des Anfangens (Dramaturgies of Beginning) at Freie Universität in Berlin. The dates are 7-9 of November and the Abstract is below.

Link to the program.

Eine öffentliche Tagung am Institut für Theaterwissenschaft

Abstract:

Dramatisierung als Technik: Affektive Zeitlichkeit in Collective Writing Machines

Gilles Deleuze verwendet den Begriff der Dramatisierung konsequent in Verbindung mit der Frage nach der Aktualisierung von Ideen durch raum-zeitlichen Dynamiken. Wie ergeben sich raum-zeitliche Erfahrungsgefüge anhand von (virtuellen) Kräften und ihren Beziehungen? Der Frage der Aktualisierung nachgehend, entwirft Deleuze (auch in Zusammenarbeit mit Guattari) ein Denken der Aktualisierung, sprich der Emergenz und möglichen Dauer von raum-zeitlichen Manifestationen. Entgegen einer phänomenologischen Annahme von Erfahrung als körperlich geformter Wahrnehmung von Welt, befasst sich der Prozess der Dramatisierung hier mit den nicht-körperlichen, aber realen, Verhältnissen und Singularitäten, deren Dynamiken, Ideen, und Konzepte und wie diese körperliche Erfahrungen hervorbringen. Es handelt sich hierbei eben nicht um einen Prozess der Materialisierung ideell geformter Einheiten oder Prozesse sondern um einen Differenzierungsakt zwischen virtuellen Verhältnissen und empfundenen Qualitäten sowie Singularitäten und geformten Entitäten. Der dynamische Prozess der Dramatisierung unterstreicht, dass es sich im Wechselspiel zwischen Virtualität und Aktualität nicht um lineare Abläufe handelt, sondern um die Hervorbringung von extensiven raum-zeitlichen Gefügen durch die Bewegung von Verhältnissen und Singularitäten entlang eines intensiven Felds. Die Problematik der Dramatisierung verweist auf eine Form der Zeitlichkeit und Räumlichkeit innerhalb der körperlichen Erfahrung, die eine vor-individuelle intensive Tiefe und deren Differenzierungserie voraussetzt.

Wie lässt sich der dynamische Prozess der Dramatisierung im künstlerischen Kontext von Kreativprozessen verstehen? Ich werde hierzu die von Diego Gil entwickelte Performance Collective Writing Machines untersuchen. Die Performance befasst sich mit Prozessen der Wahrnehmung während dem Schreibakt. Die TeilnehmerInnen werden gebeten in verschiedenen Intervallen und mit jeweils unterschiedlichem Aufmerksamkeitsfokus (auf den eigenen Körper, die Umwelt, oder einer Imagination) gemeinsam in einem Raum beim Sitzen und später beim Gehen zu schreiben. Mittels dieser Performance wird deutlich, dass sich Aufmerksamkeit anhand von aktualisierten ebenso wie virtuellen Tendenzen konstituiert, im körperlichen Denken ebenso wie im intensiven Feld der Potenzialität. Dramatisierung in diesem Fall beschreibt die heterogene und heterochrone Bewegung zwischen Aktualität und Virtualität als „a-modalen“ relationalen Prozess zu verstehen (Massumi). Wie können wir diesen Dramatisierungsprozess als kontinuierlichen Übergang begreifen, als ein Verknüpfen von dynamischen Beziehungen? Speziell im Hinblick auf die affektive Wirkung von Zeitlichkeit und ihrem „Timing“ wird Dramatisierung hier zu einer ästhetischen Technik.

I am participating in a really exciting workshop on Simondon and digital culture. Below the poster and my presentation abstract.

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Abstract:
Affective Timing and Non-sensuous Perception in Differential Media

The relation between ethics and aesthetics defines a crucial problematic through which Félix Guattari develops his philosophy and analytic practice. Simondon exposes similar lines in his work with equally strong indications of its political relevance. He conceives of the aesthetic as immanent force in experience pertaining to its preindividual field as unexhausted resource for potential becoming. His overall theory of individuation could be also considered as continuous process of differentiation through such a field of potential.

Simondon defines the aesthetic as temporal relation between the preindividual as partially expressed present experience and its pull towards a future becoming, i.e. differentiation. The aesthetic is the interval through which experience passes as felt intensity in the immediacy of its occurrence. It is Alfred North Whitehead who links this temporal process of experience to perception, not as mere sense perception of given empirical data but through his notion of non-sensuous perception. Non-sensuous perception emphasizes the immediate past shaping the passing of the present and the present, as tendency of the future, shaping the potential function of the past. Through non-sensuous perception an interstice for aesthetic practices opens up allowing for an ‘immanent’ and ‘transcendent’ process of co-becoming between the temporal passing of the event and its metastable bodily expression.

For similar reasons Guattari, thinking at the dawn of the digital media era, envisioned post-media practices as “laboratories of thought and experimentation for future forms of subjectivation.” He underlines that what comes to be termed post-media describes a general transformation away from media as mere technological entities. Guattari interlinks aesthetic and ethical concerns pointing out that a “post-media society “will be invented, created within the perspective of a new aesthetic-political paradigm.“ For both, Guattari and Simondon technology defines an active and vital realm of potential not as a means but as enabling ecology. In their works both emphasize technology’s processual dimension, where aesthetics generates links between perception and its relation to time, ethics pertains to acts developing relations with other acts. How can we conceive of such acts not as a volitional and anthropomorphic activism but as a relaying of temporal entanglements between the immediacy of occasions of experience and their material constraints? Further investigating Simondon’s and Guattari’s take on ethics and aesthetics in a post media era I will look at digital media technologies susceptible to (temporal) differentiation. Such “differential media” (Andrew Murphie) highlight the potential of digital processes of timing as discontinuous yet relational processes of timing. Looking at Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson’s video installation The Visitor’s I will work through the affective and emotive temporalities of digital media art and its relation to non-sensuous perception. How can we conceive of such artworks as instigating collective individuation foregrounding the temporal affective tonality at the heart of their expression in experience?

Choreographer Diego Gil and Christoph Brunner are collaborating on Gil’s project “Collective Writing Machines” for the Ausufern Festival at the Uferstudios Berlin on 31 August, 2013. Two perofrmances with limited spots (20 each) will take place at 3 and 5 p.m.

Image: Pablo Fontdevial

Singing and signing words continuously in a paper as they emerge from mouth to paper (and back), suspensions may happen only to make us feel the micro momentum of the next impulse to start again

Collective Writing Machines is a choreographic practice built in the intersection of writing, thinking and perceiving focusing on the emergent quality produced by these activities.

The main concern of this project is the intersection of language and sensation (sensation as the perception of perceiving) seen as a movement of emergence that launches embodied experiences toward potentiality rather than stratification.

In each occasion, a “temporary collective” takes form through multiple differential circuits of sensations enticed through the bodies and what is shared is a complex web of transmitted perceptions rising from the fold of intelligibility.

For Ausfurn festival, small  groups of participants will put into practice writing and walking techniques enticing a sensitive relationship with the environment. We will write and walk briefly while strolling through places around the Uferstudios building.

Text: Diego Gil

Concept and performance: Diego Gil and Christopher Brunner

Advise and assistance: Pablo Fontdevila

Duration: 35 minutes approx.

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I am very exited to participate in this conference. Here is my abstract:

Affective Politics of Timing: Ragnar Kjartansson’s The Visitors

In his video-installation The Visitors artist Ragnar Kjartansson constructs an immersive nine-screen video-piece of a collaborative sound performance. Eight musicians dispersed throughout Rockeby Farm Mansion in upstate New York, play instruments and repeatedly chant the lines of a short poem by Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir.

The piece deals with duration, repetition and immediation through its insistence on time as collective and affective force holding the work together. While recent responses to affect in contemporary theory have led to a critique of its emphasis on immediacy, I will attempt to reconsider immediacy as opening a problematic field rather than becoming another object of critique. The power of suspense and duration in The Visitors provides a vital ground for addressing its aesthetics as an affective attunement of heterogeneous elements cued into specific timings. Using Brian Massumi’s differentiation of three kinds of memory (active memory, conscious memory and a memory of the future) I will investigate how The Visitors enables a collective sense of emergent ecologies of timing, an affective politics of timing. Immediacy according to this fine-grained conception of affect is not an instant independent of its milieu, on the contrary, its very power of existence consists of disjunctive times constantly attuning and being attuned. Change, and the potential thereof, emerges through the eventual encounter, its re-activation and unnoticed but active tendencies. The political question then is: how to inflect, activate and enable situations capable of more potential to actively become part of our immediate concerns and how to develop a sense of care for their effects?

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I will be participating in a one-day conference at UCL London on March 2nd, 2013. The conference is based on the latest issue of Third Text (see antecedent post). The format is going to be a kind of open discussion/forum without paper presentations and more conversational developments of collective thinking around the theme of art and ecologies.

Conference abstract:

The Eco-Aesthetics conference marks the release of Third Text no. 120 (January 2013), dedicated to the subject of “Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology,” guest-edited by TJ Demos. The event will include numerous contributors to the special issue, which investigates eco-aesthetics in a postcolonial framework—from global warming in the arctic to oil industry environmental damage in Nigeria’s delta, from conflicts between mining corporations and tribals in rural India to the ecological effects of industrial development in the port of Bahia Blanca, Argentina, from urban farming in Detroit to the Occupy movement’s development of a post-media social ecology. The special issue and conference seek to link international and interdisciplinary researchers, artists, and critical theorists in order to consider the questions of how such politico-ecological developments have been recently analyzed, mediated, and negotiated within the visual cultural of art and activism.

Link


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A new publication by Roberto Nigro, Gerald Raunig and myself is out in the new Third Text issue.

Post-Media Activism, Social Ecology and Eco-Art - Third Text - Volume 27, Issue 1.

Abstract

In his late works Félix Guattari emphasizes the concept of ecology as tool for analysis and pragmatic proposition for contemporary societies. In The Three Ecologies he outlines three tendencies as mental, social and environmental ecologies. All three ecologies play a crucial role in what Guattari conceives as the nucleus for the transformation of society: the production of subjectivity. This article starts from Guattari’s ecological conception of aesthetic practices, which he calls eco-art, to further investigate contemporary forms of activism and their techniques. Through a close reading of the ‘human microphone’ and early footage from Zuccotti Park, the Occupy movement provides the ground for a re-actualization of Guattari’s ecological project. Asking how contemporary technologies integrate into the ecologically open production of subjectivity the authors develop an account of activist eco-art as part of a ‘post-media era’. They propose such a post-media era where technologies as ecological techniques for the production of subjectivity transform the political and social context in which we live.

Here, a direct LINK to the article.

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A bit later than thought, I am positing some images from the collaboration between Martina Fritschy and myself for the dOCUMENTA 13 readers circle we participated in on June 26, 2012. We picked Brian Holmes‘ essay “Profanity and the Financial Markets: A User’s Guide to Closing Down the Casino” from the 100 Notes/100 Thoughts Series. Our idea was not only to read and discuss the text but to change the affective tonality of such a situation toward a less hierarchical and more mutually engaging manner. We started off by facilitating drinks and inviting the members of the Occupy camp outside the Fredericianum to be our guests (thus bypassing entry-ticket checks). After approximately 30 minutes of reading 15 pizzas have been delivered to the main entrance of the gallery allowing all of us to enjoy some food while talking about the text. After about an hour we were asked to vacate the space leading us to continue our exchange occupying the stairs in front of the building.

Questions coming from our experience remain: How can we undo the appropriation of philosophy and political theory by a constantly hollowed out art dispositif? What are the techniques at hand beyond bringing together signifiers and signs? Which vocabulary can we develop for a more gestural approach through “a-signifying processes of existential singularization” (Guattari “Entering the Post-Media Era”)? And how can we move from figures such as analysis and debate toward more open-ended formations of collective aesthetic practices?

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Open 23 - Autonomy


In this time of ideological, economic and political crises autonomy is becoming attractive again.

But how does autonomy - the wish to take matters into ones own hands and have significance independent of old structures -  relate to the call for engagement and performativity? This issue, made in collaboration with Sven Lütticken, examines autonomy from the standpoints of art, art history, philosophy, political theory and cultural criticism, and attempts to resolve the bind between thinking in terms of engagement on the one hand and autonomy on the other.

Steven ten Thije delves into the background of The Autonomy ProjectJohn Byrne argues that art must be freed from its current technocratic framework. According to John Hartle, the rightwing-populist criticism of art lacks democratic legitimacy.Willem van Weelden interviews Franco Berardi on theItalian Autonomia movement and autonomy, Occupy, and education. Hito Steyerl makes a plea for isolation in order to think about how life can recapture its autonomy from art.Christoph BrunnerGerald Raunig, and Roberto Nigroexamine new dimensions in current forms of activism. Joost de Bloois comments on the recent protests against government cutbacks, whereby an appeal is made to autonomy. Sven Lütticken investigates the concept of autonomy and its relation to aesthetics and politics in the context of post-war modernism.Andrea Fraser argues for an approach to autonomy from a psychoanalytic perspective. Peter Osborne analyses misunderstandings about the autonomy of art and goes into Adorno’s ideas in this regard. Thomas Hirschhorn andJacques Rancière investigate what the essence of a work of art might be in these times.

Our contribution

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About Open

Open investigates the contemporary conditions of public space and changing notions of publicness in a structural manner in relation to cultural production. This implies an experimental and interdisciplinary exposition of the reality, possibilities, and limitations of the current public domain, in particular from sociological, philosophical, political, and artistic perspectives. Within the framework of this ‘project in progress,’ themes such as safety, memory, visibility, cultural freedom, tolerance, hybrid space, the rise of informal media, art as a public affair, precarity, and privacy have been examined.

Open is edited by Jorinde Seijdel (editor in chief) and Liesbeth Melis (final editing) and appears twice a year in a Dutch-language and an English-language edition. The graphic design is by Thomas Buxò and Klaartje van Eijk. Open is an initiative of SKOR | Foundation for Art and Public Domain, Amsterdam and is published by NAi Publishers.