Keynotes

Fuscot2       
 
Dr. Maria Fusco
 
Performative reading: 'Legend of the Necessary Dreamer'
 
Legend of the Necessary Dreamer is:
- a novella
- a prose essay
- an excavation
- a work of impatience and death
Maria Fusco will make a performative reading from her book Legend of the Necessary Dreamer, which was written on-site in the historic Palácio Pombal as part of her residency there for the Lisbon Architecture Trienale. The book employs three ambient writing methodologies: auto-fiction, the fabular and forensic deceleration to embody history and to perform theory.
 
Bio:
Maria Fusco is an award-winning Belfast born writer based in Glasgow, working across fiction, criticism and theory; her work is translated into ten languages. She is a Reader in Interdisciplinary Writing at the University of Edinburgh and was Director of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her latest books are Legend of the Necessary Dreamer (London: Vanguard Editions, 2017) described by Chris Kraus as “a new classic of female philosophical fiction” and Give Up Art: Collected Critical Writings (LA/Vancouver: New Documents, 2017) of which James Elkins had written "After a book like this, most nonfiction seems curiously unaware of what writing can be." Master Rock is a repertoire for a mountain, commissioned by Artangel and BBC Radio 4, the experimental radio play has been experienced by more than 2.5 million listeners. Her solo-authored books are With A Bao A Qu Reading When Attitudes Become Form, 2013 (LA/Vancouver: New Documents, 2013), Gonda, 2012 and The Mechanical Copula, 2011 (both published Berlin/NY: Sternberg Press) and she is founder of The Happy Hypocrite, a journal for and about experimental writing. She is Research Fellow at Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam, 2018.
 
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Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Ernst
 
Lecture: 'AS SLOW AS POSSIBLE? On machinic (non-)sense of the “sonic present,” and on digital indiffera/ence
towards “time”'
 
Ontological reflection on the essence of "time" has been the domain of philosophy, art, poetry and aesthetics as cultural history so far. If such discursive vocabulary of "time" is replaced by corresponding technical terms, the totalizing term implodes into a delicate multitude of techno-mathematically differentiated operations. In that sense, the verbal ekphrasis of the "slowness" theme is substituted by techno-mathematical termini technici like signal delay / delta-t, and (a)temporal storage as suspending the transmission channel. From the media-archaeological point of view (in contrast to subjective media-anthropocentric perception), electronic media do not even make a difference between time scales which appear to the "inner time consciousness" of humans like "slow" or "fast." This makes a structural analogy between "musical" and electronic temporalities attractive, where, e.g., a high or low tone are not primarily experienced in terms of speed but as numeric frequencies. "Slowness" becomes a metaphor when applied to technology.

The situation escalates with Shannon's techno-mathematical definition of information which is—more than ever—the enduring foundation of digital media communication today. In principle (en arché), the "bit" is timeless in its lossless, (neg-)entropic reproducibility and calculability. More than this, binary computation even generated a new epistemic time object, the notion of "time of non-reality" (Norbert Wiener) which is the switching interval between two voltage states: very tempor(e)al in Lacan's sense, escaping the symbolic order of traditional cultural techniques of time.

With the background concept  of "implicit sonicity" as temporal form, the lecture will refer to Norbert Wiener's cybernetic interpretation of the organ tone, John Cage's composition Organ²/ASLSP, sounding matter (acoustic earthquake monitoring), Fourier's implicitly "sonic" analysis of heat conduction and its cold calculation, electro-acoustic time stretching, the reciprocal relation between storage (beholding the end) and transmission ("tradition" as time channel), the temporality of Arctic temperature
(frozen vibrations, frozen voices).

Bio:
Having been academically trained as a historian (PhD) and classicist (Latin Philology and Classical Archaeology) with an ongoing interest in cultural tempor(e)alities, Wolfgang Ernst grew into the emergent technology-oriented "German school" of media studies and has been Full Professor for Media Theories in the Institute for Musicology and Media Science at Humboldt University in Berlin since 2003. His academic focus has been on archival theory and museology, before attending to media materialities. His current research covers media archaeology as method, theory of technical storage, technologies of cultural transmission, micro-temporal media aesthetics and their chronopoetic potentials, and sound analysis ("sonicity") from a media-epistemological point of view. His books in English include Digital Memory and the Archive (2013); Chronopoetics. The temporal being and operativity of technological media (2016); and Sonic Time Machines. Explicit Sound, Sirenic Voices and Implicit Sonicity in Terms of Media Knowlegde, Amsterdam (2016).
 
MiekeBal
 
Prof. Dr. Mieke Bal
 
Lecture: ‘Slow Looking, Visual Thinking, and the Reasonableness of Doubt’
 
As an experiment in audio-visualising thought, this project stages scenes from two lives briefly crossing in an intellectual friendship. It is not a biography but a series of scenes that constitute a double portrait. Some of the scenes are historical, while some are fictionalised to do justice to historical ideas relevant today.

Following a relationship by correspondence, philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650) met and briefly interacted with Queen Kristina (1626-1689) in wintry Stockholm; he died of a respiratory infection just six weeks later. At first, the two didn’t see each other much. Kristina’s philosophical interest was genuine enough, but Descartes was there in a more or less decorative function: to adorn Kristina’s ambitious project of creating an Academy that would put Sweden’s elite on the intellectual map of Europe.

Descartes left Western thought with both a burden and a treasure. The burden was a misconstrued dualistic tradition that meant, in my view, only that he accepted the dualism of the Catholic Church but fought against its lack of reason all his life. The treasure was a decisive advance in rational thought that excised neither the body nor religion. The (in)famous cogito can be interpreted in the opposite direction, as an attempt to embody thought. In this project I look back from his last book, The Passions of the Soul, and consider the ongoing struggle against dualism through different episodes of his life.
 
Bio:
Mieke Bal is a cultural theorist, critic, video artist and occasional curator. She works in cultural analysis, literature and art, focusing on gender, migratory culture, psychoanalysis, and the critique of capitalism. Her many books include a trilogy on political art: Endless Andness (on abstraction), Thinking in Film (on video installation), both 2013, Of What One Cannot Speak (on sculpture, 2010). Some of her work comes together in A Mieke Bal Reader (2006). In 2016 appeared In Medias Res: Inside Nalini Malani’s Shadow Plays (Hatje Cantz), and in Spanish, Tiempos trastornados on the politics of visuality (AKAL). Her video project Madame B, with Michelle Williams Gamaker, is widely exhibited, in 2017 in Museum Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova in Turku, and combined with paintings by Edvard Munch in the Munch Museum in Oslo. Her most recent film is Reasonable Doubt, on René Descartes and Queen Kristina (2016).