ARCHIV: I. Wiener Forum 2017

'Achsenzeittheorie' - gestern und heute

Die Achsenzeittheorie von Karl Jaspers bildete in der Anfangsphase der „interkulturellen Philosophie“ eine wichtige Rahmentheorie (Ram Adhar Mall, Heinz Hülsmann, Franz Martin Wimmer). Mit der Annahme von mehreren Geburtsorten der Philosophie (Indien, China, Europa) konnte der Exklusivitätsanspruch der europäischen Philosophie aufgebrochen werden. Inzwischen ist die Achsenzeittheorie sowohl in der interkulturellen Philosophie als auch in den Kulturwissenschaften zum Gegenstand vielfacher Kritik und zahlreicher Revisionen geworden.

In der interkulturellen Philosophie stellen sich unter anderem folgende Fragen: Wird mit der Achsenzeittheorie den philosophischen Aufbrüchen in anderen Weltregionen nicht doch wieder ein eurozentrisches Schema übergestülpt? Fallen wichtige philosophische Strömungen – wie z.B. die afrikanische oder die lateinamerikanische Philosophie – aus dem Achsenzeitschema heraus? In welchem Sinn wirken die interkulturellen Aufbrüche der Achsenzeit in den Philosophien der Neuzeit nach? Wie können Jaspers‘ Hinweise auf eine zukünftige ‚Zweite Achsenzeit’ in der interkulturellen Philosophie aufgenommen werden?

Die Kulturwissenschaften haben vor allem die Chronologie von Jaspers‘ Achsenzeit problematisiert. Da die Ungleichzeitigkeit und Heterogenität von geistigen Aufbrüchen chronologische Fixierungen unmöglich zu machen, sprechen manche Kulturwissenschaftler nicht mehr von der Achsenzeit, sondern von der Achsenzeitlichkeit („axiality“) als Charakteristikum bestimmter Kulturen. Darüber hinaus überwiegt in den historischen Wissenschaften eine allgemeine Skepsis gegenüber der „Vogelperspektive“ (A. Assmann) globalgeschichtlicher Konzeptionen.

Vor diesem Hintergrund scheint es angebracht zu sein, die Achsenzeittheorie innerhalb der interkulturellen Philosophie auf den Prüfstand zu stellen. Was kann sie leisten? Worin kann sie anregend, worin kann sie hinderlich sein? Gibt es alternative Theorien?

Beiträge aus diesem Forum wurden veröffentlicht in

polylog. Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren Nr. 38, Winter 2017

Theorie der Achsenzeit

2. Tag: Offene Diskussion verschiedener Themen

Am zweiten Tag des Forums besteht die Möglichkeit, papers zu verschiedenen Themen interkulturellen Philosophierens einzureichen. Darüber hinaus können auch laufende Forschungsarbeiten oder –projekte vorgestellt werden.

Detailliertes PROGRAMM 2017:

Orte

Freitag, 24.2.2017: Ort: Otto Mauer Zentrum, Währingerstraße 2-4, 1090 Wien
Samstag, 25.2.2017: Ort: Schenkenstraße 8-10, 5. Stock, Hörsaal 1, 1010 Wien

Programm

Freitag 24.2.2017: Theorie Achsenzeit – Gestern und heute 

Block I: 9:00 – 12:00

  • Prof. Dr. Franz Martin Wimmer (Wien): Bemerkungen zum Potenzial des Achsenzeit‐Konzepts
  • Prof. Dr. Jan Assmann (Heidelberg): Zur Geschichte des Achsenzeit‐Theorems
  • Dr. Anke Graness (Wien):Der Kampf um den Anfang: Beginnt die Philosophie im Alten Ägypten?

Mittagspause

Block II: 14:00 – 18:00

  • Dr. Rainer Schulzer (Tübingen): Achsenzeittheorie avant la lettre im Japan der Meiji‐Zeit (1868‐1912)
  • Prof. Dr. Heiner Roetz (Bochum): Chinesische Achsenzeit und chinesische Moderne
  • Prof. DDr. Hans Schelkshorn (Wien): Die Moderne als zweite Achsenzeit

Samstag 25.2.2017: Themen und Projekte interkultureller Philosophie

Block 1: 9:00 – 12:00

  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang‐Andreas Schultz (Hamburg): Zwei Wege der Subjekt‐Konstitution – die andere Seite Europas als Brücke zu anderen Kulturen
  • Dr. Piotr Jakubowski (Warschau): On Creating the Image of the Refugees in Polish Public Discourse
  • Stefan Lessmann (Wien): Schriftbildlichkeit? Dekolonialität und Schriftkritik bei Sahagún, Waldrop und Krämer (Masterarbeit)

Mittagspause

Block II: 13:30 – 15:30

  • Sool Park (Wien, Seoul): Übersetzung der Wahrheit
  • Lara Hofner (Berlin): Das Projekt Weltphilosophien – Chancen einer polylogischkaleidoskopischen Theoriebildung (BA‐Projekt)

Anmeldung

Anmeldung zur Teilnahme (ohne paper) und Einreichungen für Kurzreferate bzw. Präsentationen (jeweils bis 15.1. 2017) an:

a.o. Prof. DDr. Hans Schelkshorn (johann.schelkshorn(at)univie.ac.at)

Tel.: +436646027730703

Dr. Tony Pacyna (tony.pacyna(at)wts.uni-heidelberg.de)

Tel.: +49 6221 54 3288

Organisatorische Hinweise: Das „Wiener Forum interkulturellen Philosophierens“ kann weder Fahrt- und Nächtigungskosten noch Honorarkosten übernehmen. Für Teilnehmer_innen werden Hinweise für günstige Hotels in der Nähe des Tagungsortes gegeben.

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ARCHIV: II. Wiener Forum 2018

1. Tag: Umweltethik / Environmental Ethics

(Aus dem Call for Papers:)

Relativ früh haben Umweltethiker (wie etwa Tiefenökologen) die gegenwärtige ökologische Krise auf die moderne europäische Metaphysik zurückgeführt und Anregungen für ihre Überwindung in nicht-westlichen, hauptsächlich fernöstlichen Naturphilosophien gesucht. Die ökologische Krise hat heute ein globales Ausmaß erreicht. Der Klimawandel, der Schutz bestimmter Tierarten, die Errichtung von Naturreservaten, der Schutz indigenen Wissens oder die Einschränkung der Kohlendioxidwirtschaft sind Anzeichen dafür, dass Umweltfragen längst nicht mehr nur innerhalb nationalstaatlicher Grenzen bewältigt werden können. Das Wiener Forum interkulturellen Philosophierens nimmt sich im Jahr 2018 vor, den Beitrag nicht-westlicher Denktraditionen zur interkulturellen Ethik zu untersuchen und die interkulturelle Philosophie durch ursprünglich in der Umweltethik angesiedelte Fragen zu bereichern.

Themen und Problemstellungen betreffen:

  • Die verwendete Begrifflichkeit (Natur, Umwelt etc.) in anderen Denktraditionen

  • Umweltrelevante traditionelle Naturauslegungen, die die Subjekt-Objekt-Dichotomie auflösen und den Subjektbegriff erweitern

  • Das Verständnis und die Bewertung nicht-westlicher Denktraditionen in der bisherigen Geschichte der Umweltethik

  • Die Auseinandersetzung zwischen anthropozentrischen und nicht-anthropozentrischen (patho-, bio-, geozentrischen) Ansätzen in nicht-westlichen Denktraditionen

  • Natur oder Mensch? Interessenkollisionen zwischen umweltethischen Ansätzen und wirtschaftsorientierten Theorien im globalen Süden

  • Die Rolle des indigenen Wissens für den nachhaltigen Umgang mit Ressourcen

  • Ethische Aspekte der Biotechnologie, die Legitimität von Biopatenten für Saatgut, Pflanzen und Tiere

  • Die Internationalisierung der Umweltbewegung und die sogenannte globale Staatsbürgerschaft

  • Philosophische Argumente für die biokulturelle Diversität, die Koinzidenz der hot spots der Biodiversität und jener der kulturellen Diversität

  • Zugang zu Ressourcen, Klimawandel und globale Ungleichheit: Lösungsvorschläge aus dem globalen Süden

  • Umweltfreundliche Werte und Praktiken in nicht-westlichen Kulturen etc.

Einige Beiträge aus diesem Forum wurden veröffentlicht in

Monika Kirloskar-Steinbach und Mădălina Diaconu (Hg.): Environmental Ethics: Cross-cultural Explorations. Freiburg i. Br.: Karl Alber, 2020:

Environmental Ethics

2. Tag: Themen und Projekte interkultureller Philosophie

Detailliertes PROGRAMM 2018:

Ort und Zeit

Freitag, 23.2.2018 und Samstag 24.2.2018: Ort: Otto Mauer Zentrum, Währingerstraße 2-4, 1090 Wien

(das Forum fand entgegen der ursprünglichen Ankündigung aus organisatorischen Gründen an beiden Tagen am selben Ort statt)

23. Februar: Umweltethik

Koordination:
Univ. Doz. DDr. Mădălina DIACONU (Univ. Wien)
apl. Prof. Dr. Monika KIRLOSKAR-STEINBACH (Univ. Konstanz)

24. Februar: Themen und Projekte interkultureller Philosophie

Koordination:
a.o. Univ.Prof. DDr. Johann SCHELKSHORN (Univ. Wien)
Dr. Tony PACYNA (Univ. Heidelberg)

Programm-Download

Zusammenfassungen der Vorträge und Informationen über Vortragende zu Umweltethik - Download

Organisatorische Hinweise

Konferenzsprachen: Deutsch und Englisch

Organisatorische Rückfragen und Anmeldung zur Teilnahme am Forum ohne Vortrag (bis 5.2. 2018) jeweils an: johann.schelkshorn(at)univie.ac.at

Das „Wiener Forum interkulturellen Philosophierens“ kann weder Fahrt- und Nächtigungskosten noch Honorarkosten übernehmen.

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ARCHIV: III. Wiener Forum 2019

Erster Tag: »Kulturen übersetzen/Translating Cultures«

Termin: 22.–23. Februar 2019 (jeweils 9:00–17:00 Uhr)

Koordination:
Dr. Gabriele Osthoff-Münnix (ehem. Universität Münster/Innsbruck)
Dr. Bianca Boteva-Richter (WiGiP/Polylog-Zeitschrift f. interk. Philosophieren) unter Mitwirkung von Sool Park (München)

Spätestens seit dem »translational turn« in den Kulturwissenschaften fällt das Augenmerk auf die Tatsache, dass Über-Setzen nicht nur eine philologische Übertragung von Bedeutung zwischen verschiedenen Sprachen ist, mit der man fremde Denkinhalte dem Verstehen erschließt. Es handelt sich vielmehr immer auch um Transferleistungen zwischen verschiedenen Kulturen, die unter anderem auch mit je verschiedenen Sprachstrukturen zusammenhängen. Wie denkt man anders in Sprachen ohne Kopula; wie denkt man anders (und weshalb?) in Sprachen, in denen wir die Kategorien Subjekt und Prädikat nicht so, wie sie uns geläufig sind, finden? Und damit zusammenhängend die Frage, wie kann man philosophische Inhalte, Texte oder Begriffe in der notwendigen Tiefe übertragen, sodass nicht nur der Sinn, sondern auch die darin verborgene kreative Leistung offenbart werden können?
Übersetzungen dienen, wie allgemein bekannt, nicht lediglich dazu, irgendwelche Texte zu übertragen. Sie verhelfen unbekannte Texte, Themen und AutorInnen kennen zu lernen, zeigen ihre Lebenswirklichkeit und präsentieren diese einem größeren Fach-Publikum. In dieser Hinsicht sind sie absolut notwendig, doch viel zu selten werden die Fragen gestellt: Wer übersetzt was und für wen? Und kann man Kulturen überhaupt ineinander übersetzen?
Die Reflexion verschiedener Philosophien der Übersetzung erweitert das interkulturelle Verstehen um eine Tiefendimension, die die Konzepte interkultureller Kommunikation eher selten wahrnehmen, denn es geht um metaphysische Prämissen jeweiliger Weltsicht, deren Reflexion dem besseren Verständnis anderer Kulturen aufhelfen kann. Die Tagung soll viel Raum zum gemeinsamen Nachdenken geben. Die Thesen der ReferentInnen werden den Teilnehmern daher vorab zugehen.

Zweiter Tag: »Gegenwärtige Themen einer interkulturellen Philosophie«

Koordination:
Dr. Tony Pacyna (Universität Wien)
a.o. Prof. DDr. Hans Schelkshorn (Universität Wien)

PROGRAMM

HANDOUTS

Bianca BOTEVA-RICHTER  Deutsch   English

Hsueh-I CHEN  English

Christoph ELSAS  Deutsch   English

Lavinia HELLER  Deutsch

Ralf MÜLLER  English

Yvanka B. RAYNOVA  Deutsch

Larisa SCHIPPEL  Deutsch   English

Jürgen STOWASSER  Deutsch   English

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ARCHIV: IV. Wiener Forum 2020

»Intercultural Philosophy and Post-/De-colonial Theory«

Termin: 28.–29. Februar 2020

ORT: IWK, Berggasse 17, A-1090 Wien/Vienna

In this workshop we will discuss the relation between intercultural philosophy and post-colonial / de-colonial theory. The first day will be devoted to African perspectives – the second day the focus is on theories from Latin-America.

Friday, 28 February 2020 (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

Central in this part of the workshop devoted to African perspectives is the close reading and discussion of Felwine Sarr’s book “Afrotopia” and a text written by Mbembe (On the Postcolony: Preface and Introduction to the second edition). Additionally, two invited scholars will present papers on the topic. The combination of paper presentations and the close reading of key texts will give firm ground for in-depth discussion of the topic and exchange of views.
To these presentations readings and discussions all interested scholars, regular students and PhD students are invited to participate. For those interested in participation we advice to read Sarr’s and Mbembe’s texts in advance. The texts will be made available to those who register for the workshop (for registration, see below). Participation in the workshop is also open to those generally interested in the topic without preparation or knowledge of the texts.

Paper presentations:

Renate Schepen (Amsterdam): Between Islands and Lagoons, Imagining the Planetary

Babacar Mbaye Diop (Dakar): African art and the postcolonial question

Angela Roothaan (Amsterdam): discussant

Saturday, 29 February 2020 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

The de-colonial discourse in Latin-America stands in a long tradition of the “filosofia americana” that dates back to the mid-19th century. Post-colonial theory is thus part of a long history that finds a first impressive culmination point in the 1970s in the so-called philosophy of liberation. On the one hand the de- and post-colonial theories are closely related with these liberation discourses, while on the other hand they develop a powerful critique of essentialist depictions of Latin-America and of fundamental eurocentric aspects oft he liberation discourses from the perspective of poststructural thought (Santiago Castro-Gomez; Walter Mignolo, Anibal Quijano).

Paper presentation:

Rolando Vázquez (Utrecht): The fundaments of decolonial thought and the challenge of interculturality

Response papers:

Marcela Torres Heredia & Gregor Seidl (Vienna): Territorial Coloniality“: an ontological concept to enhance the visibility of multidimensional structures of colonial continuities and processes of decolonization in space and time

Hans Schelkshorn (Vienna): The image of “Europe” in decolonial discourses in Latin AmerIca

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Archiv: V. Wiener Forum 2021

Demarginalizing Futures: rethinking embodiment, community and culture

ONLINE FORUM: 19th-20th, February 2021

CALL FOR PAPERS

Organization:

  • Dr. Fernando Wirtz -CIIS Postdoctoral Fellow and Treasurer of GiP
  • Dr. Adrian Razvan Sandru - Postdoctoral Researcher at the Champalimaud Center for the Research of the Unknown, Lisbon
  • Univ.-Doz. DDr. Mădălina Diaconu, University of Vienna, editor-in-chief of “polylog. Zeitschrift für interkulturelles Philosophieren”

PROGRAM

Fri, 19 Feb 2021

Opening 8:45

Organizers

Session 1 (09:00-10:00) -

Ontologies, narratives, technologies

Berlin, Germany
09:00

Singapore, Singapore
16:00

Kyoto, Japan
17:00

-Johanna Wenzel (Berlin): “Sinofuturism”

The concept of Sinofuturism has been popularized through the publication of Ethnofuturisms (Avanessian / Moalemi 2018) and was prominently featured in Lawrence Leks audio-visual Sinofuturist Trilogy. Moreover, the term received interest in the field of Philosophy where Yuk Hui described it as „an acceleration of the European modern project.“ (Hui 2016: 297). The velocity of Chinas economic transformation resonates with Western notions of futurity. Hence, the concept of “Sinofuturism” is enticing for accelerationist thinkers such as Nick Land- who, almost three decades ago, proposed that “Neo-China arrives from the future.” (Land 1994). But in contrast to Afrofuturism, which is characterised by the re-appropriation of technology and history, East Asian subjects have not been excluded but hyperpresent in popular imagination of the future – utilised by sci-fi writers and filmmakers alike. Thus: under which conditions can Sinofuturism, or rather Sinofuturities, operate?
Until now, the term has been “applied externally to China by Western observers “, as Virginia L. Conn in the introduction of SFRA special issue Alternative Sinofuturism notes, but as she goes on, she emphasises that “this Western label is one that Chinese authors and artists have appropriated and weaponized for their own creative ends, without necessarily sharing unified goals” (Conn 2020: 66). In my presentation I will look at the development of the term Sinofuturism and its crosscultural implications. I am specifically interested in how futurity, not as a linearity but simultaneity, interacts with the present, “fictioning” (Burrows / O’ Sullivan 2019) it. I argue that Sinofuturism is a conceptual confusion. Partly western intellectual desire fueled by its search to break free from its diagnosed loss of futurity (Reynolds 2011; Fisher 2014; Witzgall / Stakemeier 2016) a techno-orientalist fantasy (Morley / Robins 1995; Roh et al. 2015), a reminder of the colonial-temporal divide as well as a powerful example of terminology. Despite it’s pitfalls, does the term offer any potential?
In conclusion, my presentation seeks to categorize the emerging term Sinofuturism while illuminating its potential challenges as well as trying to image alternative modes of thinking about it.

-Norihito Nakamura (Kyoto University): “Kiyoshi Miki’s Philosophy of Technology in the light of Yuk Hui’s Cosmotechnics”

Due to the pandemic of 2020, our world is becoming more and more dependent on information technology. Our dependence on this might enforce the monopoly by the global companies such as GAFA. What can philosophy do against such a situation? Since the 1990s, many theorists in Cultural Studies and post-colonialism have been exposing and criticizing the Western thoughts hidden behind technocentrism. However, their critique even relies on the dichotomy of technology and culture; it is only through multiculturalism that they have criticized the monism of technology.
In order to criticize the overwhelming domination by technology, philosophy should be reoriented towards the unification of technology and culture. One of the most prominent contemporary philosophers, Yuk Hui, has given the name “cosmotechnics” to the new philosophy of technology grounded on a certain cosmology. As he sometimes points out, his project has much in common with that of the Kyoto School and New Confucianism, which both emerged out of East Asia in the last century. Hui's effort - though he himself does not refer to this name - shares much, especially with the philosophy of Kiyoshi Miki (1897-1945), who argued for the necessity of a theory of technology rooted in the Eastern worldview. This presentation attempts to re-read Kiyoshi Miki's “Philosophy of Technology” by using Hui's argument as the contemporary-developed version.
This presentation consists of three parts. The first part describes the general profile of Miki in three stages (I. 1897-1927, II. 1927-34, III. 1934-45). The second part explains Miki's critique of modern technology. He confirms that technology should not be regarded just as a means to an end, but as self-teleological, or producing its own end. This function is called “trans-formation” by Miki. In the third part, by taking up concepts such as “cosmotechnics”, I clarify the points of contact between Miki and Hui. Through this presentation, it will be showed that both aim, in the contemporary terms, to construct “the third way”, neither “New Age” nor “Homo Deus”.

-Tanaj Gandhi (Independent Researcher): “Against Progress: Democratic Enactments and Embracing a Precarious Future”

How can we reimagine a future that escapes the dichotomies of Euro-centric narratives; dichotomies of technological progress and ruin, of Coloniser and Colonised, hegemon and subaltern, North and South? What does such a radically reimagined future look like? One that subverts strict divisions and hierarchies in favour of practices of “transformative resistance” (Ashcroft, 2001). A future of the margins emerging from an imaginary that rethinks the very notion of future as progress/regress. Crucially, how can we as subjects/agents institute a shared world building on such an imagination? This paper develops an answer in two parts by arguing for a vision of the future as unstable, calling for cultivated modes of response that are distinctly democratic.
It analyses connections between discourses from the margin that enable and amplify the possibilities for a radically reimagined future. First, artistic practices among Bhil indigenous communities in India that reveal a set of relations to a world of complexity. Second, a marginal tradition of western philosophy moving through Nietzsche (1996), Deleuze (2020), and Foucault (2005) that highlights elements of uncertainty, chance and play. Third, discourses that seek to upend the “ontological priority of the human” (Bennett, 2005, pp. 134–35) in terms of a recognition of agential forces below and beyond the human. Building on complementarities between these perspectives, the paper argues for imagining the future as inescapably precarious; as uncertain, susceptible to uncanny twists and turns; a future that is Zarathustra’s dance floor (Connolly, 2011, p. 111); composed of multiple actants in constant relations of collusion and conflict that escape human ordering or control; a future that we, as humans, must affirmatively embrace precisely as precarious, as risky.
In the second part, the paper argues that an affirming relation to a precarious future calls for cultivating a distinctly democratic sensibility. Following post-foundational perspectives, I identify democracy as openness to multiple, different possibilities of instituting society (Lefort, 1988, p. 17; Laclau, 2001, p. 5; Laclau and Mouffe, 2014, pp. 135–37); democracy is, therefore, a recognition of ontological pluralism. This is not simply in terms of an openness to difference, but also a receptivity to modes of activity that operate below and beyond conscious human willingness. It is a democratic sensibility precisely because it underscores multiplicity, heterogeneity and a “broad-band pluralism” (Connolly, 2017) that are central to democratic thinking in general. Activating possibilities of instituting a shared imaginary of the future as precarious, therefore, calls for a democratic cultivation; modes of political enactment that express a sensitivity to the multiple sites of agency in a complex world, and thus, demarginalize dominant images of the future precisely by speaking from out the margin (as actants operating above and below dominant Euro-centric narratives).

-Sora Koizumi (Osaka University): “History in Jean-François Lyotard”

The purpose of this presentation is to show the view of history in Jean-François Lyotard’s early writings. At first glance, Lyotard and history seem incompatible subjects because Lyotard declared a famous thesis ‘the end of grand narrative’ in The Postmodern Condition (1979) and considered the thesis as a criticism against historical materialism. But what Lyotard criticized there was a modern view of history (a linear history). For Lyotard, the postmodern meant that modern times had ‘already’ ended, at the same time, that the modern times had not existed ‘from the start’. Therefore, Lyotard did not declare ‘the end of history’ but said that the modern view of history had already ended. In fact, Lyotard showed another view of history in his early writings before The Postmodern Condition and the view played a part in constructing his postmodern philosophy.
First, this presentation discusses the view of history in Libidinal Economy (1974). Lyotard criticized liberalism of David Hume and was interested in mercantilism in this book. Although liberalists could think that liberalism overcame mercantilism, then capitalism expanded all over the world, Lyotard thought that mercantilism had been haunting capitalism and claimed that mercantilism was essential for capitalism. I consider this view as a criticism against liberal view of history.
Second, this presentation discusses the view of history in Rudiments Païens (1977). Lyotard classified history as histories of Empire (or capital) and minorities in this book. He said, on the one hand the history of the Empire considered events as ‘hinges’ to develop itself, on the other hand the history of minorities was ‘untranscriptable’ into the history of the Empire. For Lyotard, the history of minorities was not a linear series of events as points but a multiple and micro history. I claim that the history of minorities prefigured his postmodern philosophy.
Third, this presentation discusses a political meaning of Lyotard’s history of view. The view opens multiple perspectives for the past and the future. I clarify what the view means for thinking about capitalism.

Moderator: Fernando Wirtz

Session 2 (10:00-11:00) - Future spaces

Berlin, Germany
10:00

Singapore, Singapore
17:00

Kyoto, Japan
18:00

-Erszebet Hosszu (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest): "Home Away from Home"

As an architect and civil activist, my research is about the social inclusion of forced migrants using the tools of social design. As a result of migration, cultures meet and new communities are created. Until a common understanding is reached, it takes generations to learn and adapt to each other. During this time, the process contains conflicts and misunderstanding which can easily lead to wider social gaps, violence or even terrorism. Asylum seekers experience a strong trauma of forced migration caused by on the one hand the multiple loss (home, place, goods, community, family, existence) and on the other hand confusion over cultural differences. Studies of environmental psychologists prove that Place Attachment has a significant role in recovering the trauma of loss of home. My research aims to determine how the process of Place Attachment can be supported by using design methods. Specifically, it investigates how these methods work in practice with the target group.
Placemaking projects were realized with the participation of migrants to test the hypothesis that participation in place improvement can give a strong support for social inclusion. Since 2012 with the creative team of Open Doors Hungary, we have led a program for young refugees and migrants living in Hungary. Our work contained the first 5 years of weekly fieldwork in the Childcare Center where they were hosted by the state. Since 2016 we ran an intercultural community space in Budapest as well to ensure a common platform for refugees, migrants and locals. At both fields, we regularly organized workshops, training programs and community building events to activate the participants. During each program we involved 12 to 30 participants (aged between 15 and 30) with different cultural backgrounds and different mother tongues. Each time we used the base methodology of Design Thinking and Human Centered Design to ensure the involvement of the target group into the full process of decision making and realization. The result shows the emergence of place attachment on a micro level: new social connections, a willingness to protect the new place, more motivation for studies to overcome cultural challenges and language barriers.
These results suggest that migrants will be able to start to build connections with the local community faster if they can actively participate in the neighbourhood’s development. Instead of the passive process of slowly accepting each other’s presence, placemaking offers a proactive methodology. On this basis, the concept of architectural/designer role should be reconsidered as they should not take the position of the decision maker but one equal member of the interdisciplinary facilitator team consisting of psychologists, social workers, anthropologists and other creatives to support the process of community building in an intercultural environment.

-Joy Zhu (UCLA): “The Opportunity Cost of Architecture: Existential Risk and Eco-Trauma”

In this essay, I will give an overview of various philosophical conceptions of existential risks and how architecture responds to them based roughly on Quentin Meillassoux’s differentiation between mathematics and science. For Meillassoux, science is created in the image of human reason. Instead of letting the object reveal itself to us, we impose our reasoning upon the object, turning a blind eye towards irrational contingencies. Existential risk in this context indicates deviations from this complete image. For instance, the ideal picture of an ecosystem's balance does not take into account other spheres, such as the system of magmatic layers beneath the earth. The second definition of risk as contingency goes beyond representation. With Deleuze’s synthesis of time, I will explain how risk is absorbed and converted into an energetic form to induce a Batesonian “phase change” in the broken subject. With the instance of risk leverage, I will demonstrate the Deleuzian form of risk in an architectural context. Koulouri’s example of ecological assets, such as the coastline, shows that they can be leveraged against the risk of retreat. Coastlines, once seen as places for pure economic gain, are counterbalanced by Gross Economic Product, which transvalues nature once again into the self-regulating subject that is autonomous and unpredictable. With this, I will show that the Dutch polder is a long-existing form of natural remediation that has existed for centuries, before the industrial revolution. With the polder, the Dutch are able to offset losses of natural capital through the creation of a new ecosystem on the polder. Instead of being a short term infrastructural coping technique, the polder may be understood as a form of natural investment on the coastline.

-Kendra Griggs (Concordia University, Montreal): “Moral Limits of Land Development”

Considerations for future city developments often revolve around technological progress, utility, and economic benefit. Effective city planning involves various considerations such as reasonable zoning tactics and strategies to encourage business and development in a local area. Developers are incentivized by economic factors such as land and location desirability, logistical concerns, and potential profits that could be made from a particular development. Developers manage stakeholders’ concerns to determine a plan to negotiate terms and complete a successful project. However, the relationship of power between developers and community stakeholders is often disproportionate, favoring the developer. This power imbalance often leads to injustices within a community, especially for marginalized or vulnerable groups.
I present cases of land development injustices in Canada and the United States and suggest that marginalized community members often have insufficient bargaining power in developmental decision making. I evaluate the following morally and phenomenologically relevant features of a community: land, moral agents, time, and shared moral emotions. I argue that community members should have substantial bargaining power because they make up a significant component of the morally relevant aspects of a community. As such, they hold a normative claim to have decision making capabilities because of their unique relationship with the land and other moral agents. As such, city planners should advocate for community members on the basis of ethical factors, such as justice, non-domination, etc., while non-ethical factors, such as economic benefit, logistics, etc., should be important secondary considerations. I posit that if developers wish to make changes to the physical environment of a community, then the affected community members should have substantial decision-making power to either reject or endorse a development. I modify this principle to prohibit decision making capabilities of community members when the decisions are based on immoral reasoning, such as unjust cases of prejudice, failure to recognize the self-determination of other moral agents, etc. Ultimately, I reach the conclusion that if planners and developers wish to alter the physical environment through development and there are no overriding ethical considerations, then affected community members should have substantial decision-making power to either reject or endorse a development.

 

Moderator: Constanze Wolfgring

Session 3 (11:00-12:00) -

Art & art theory as tools for the future

Berlin, Germany
11:00

Singapore, Singapore
18:00

Tokyo, Japan
19:00

São Paulo, Brazil
07:00

-Polona Tratnik (New University Ljubljana, IAA): “Transgenesis as Art, Art as Infection. The case of Adam Zaretsky”

Adam Zaretsky’s performative art involving biotechnological methods occupies a particular place in the field of biotechnological art: His highly subversive modus operandi unfolds as provocative VivoArts hands-on workshops and lectures sharing lab skills with the untrained. His purpose is to directly include a larger public in the processes of genetic engineering in order to demystify these procedures that usually take place in scientific laboratories, and to viscerally confront participants with the actual questions arising from experiencing transgenic technology as ‘non-utilitarian research creation’.
Zaretsky stages macroscopic actions with kitchen and household products, blood, excrement or executed animals, and uses sexually connoted metaphors such as ‘penetration’ and ‘injection’, in order to address biopolitical issues on the microscopic scale. His strategy can be analysed in the light of philosopher Vilém Flusser’s premonitory vision that molecular biology would become an everyday tool, and of molecular biologist François Jacob’s claim that evolution needs to be considered a phenomenon of tinkering, rather than of engineering.
Zaretsky’s labs not only encourage the public to partake in a hands-on experience to, for instance, microinject algae into zebrafish embryos and, possibly, create a symbiosis, a Solar Zebrafish, they also pose the question, should we accept bioengineering? His stance towards the question however remains deliberately ambiguous: he is offering people a chance to just ‘do it’, not necessarily to promote animal alterations, but to get people to know what it feels like to alter an organism. In his view, bioengineering can be considered partly natural, and beautiful. Yet it requires human responsibility. And what is the role of art in this regard?
In an eco-educational project ‘Public EcoArt Lab’ (The Waag, Amsterdam, 2009) Zaretsky conducted ‘Seedbombing with Living Sculptures’. Together with the attendants Zaretsky sculptured seed balls from clay and soil with a wide variety of plant seeds: conventional, organic, mutated. With throwing those balls in the public space he showed how public space can get easily contaminated with genetically modified organisms. Zaretsky speaks of such dissemination as a kind of ‘seed broadcasting’, a sort of radio that just instead of radio waves emits seeds – ‘new media’ that consist of biological media, broadcasting altered organisms, including potentially dangerous biological material, in the environment.

-Swantje Martach: “Speculative Futurism as undertaken by New Dawn(.digital)”

New Dawn, an interdisciplinary project initiated in 2020, brings together almost 60 artists for the sake of artistically narrating not only probable, but indeed rather possible (referring here to a distinction made by Stengers, see Stengers 2002, 27) futures of gloves, in which the latter precisely in their existence as “tools to touch“ have taken the next evolutionary step from second (subjugated) to third (intendedly acting) skin, and our human role has shifted from actively and decidedly gloving to rather other-determinedly gloved beings. The presently proposed conference contribution, elaborated by a new philosophical team member of this project, and in intense exchange with Vienna-based Felipe Duque, the leading theoretician therein, aspires to focus on the self-claimed manner in which futures are narrated by New Dawn: speculation.
According to the Brussels philosophical school of Speculative Narration, on which the present contribution shall be based theoretically, a narration is speculative when it ceases to be an expression of the human self and the latter’s worldview; and when it rather becomes guided and governed by the world itself (see e.g. Doucet in Doucet et al. 2018, 17), so that also hitherto unseen and not-yet-seeable worldly beings and happenings can manifest themselves in/as the present telling. In so doing, what is conventionally said to come and be not yet accessible, in the case of New Dawn: futures of glove/human entanglements, and what is commonsensically held as already there but still not accessible, here: the inner lives and capacities of gloves, are put on a par as merely two aspects of the “unforeseen and intriguing dimensions of reality“ (Zitouni in Doucet et al. 2018, 16) that this method aspires to unravel.
It is not that our hands might become fins (see Dean Giffin’s glove created in and for New Dawn), or might morph from distinguished hands to a black blob (see Lukas Popp’s Black Latex Glove), which seems constantly ready to burst and re-incorporate into a massive dark slime. But they are, and we are (with them, as them) already situated on these open-ended and precarious vectors, just that so far we did not (want to) realize them/us in these processes. As such, New Dawn’s speculation is not a tentative testing-out, but a strong because humble because “merely“ realist(ic) outlining of otherwise sealed-off but nevertheless (and probably even more) real realities.
Even though its theoretical fundament is (still) that of a philosophical minority (animism, panpsychism, speculative realism); the fact that this project is happening (as big and as globally as it is) shows that it represents a (conception of) reality that is currently invading the cultural mainstream. Yet crucially, the manner in which New Dawn is narrating its speculations (combining i.a. art, design, and philosophical thought) is more traceable, more viral, and maybe even more haunting than conventional ways of doing philosophy, which discloses it as a tool box up to be treasured still by the latter.

-Flounder Lee (American University in Dubai): “Mundane Devices from the Future: Artists Envision Counterfuturist Projects for Survivance”

How do artists within different Counterfuturist art movements create work that “function” as mundane devices from the future? What can we learn about connections between and themes within these widely varied imagined futures from the devices?
I will present work from my newly started PhD project that deals with decolonial, quotidian futures through curatorial practice. I am specifically interested in subaltern or counterfuturisms from mundane (not purely utopian or dystopian) futures. I will share specific works by several artists working in these futurist veins that are creating, broadly speaking, everyday devices from the future, just not necessarily devices in a techno-consumerist fashion. Kite has created "Listener", devices built as hair braids which are passed down from Oglala woman to woman that allow the women to listen farther than should be possible—beyond time and space. Mirabelle Jones is creating devices from diverse science fiction stories such as the living M-CPU in Nnedi Okorafor's African futurist story "From the Lost Diary of Treefrog7". Oscar Santillán has created a path for humans to explore outer space, through human DNA inside plants. Cannupa Hanska Luger is creating installations and devices as part of his project "Future Ancestral Technologies".
Luger states, “Science fiction has the power to shape collective thinking and help to imagine the future on a global scale.” This embodies the ethos of my PhD project. Looking at artists who are designing/envisioning a future for a much wider swath of humanity (and non-human entities) than Silicon Valley or Hollywood ever shares, a future that is queer, black, brown, inclusive, diverse, and more fair for more people. Overall, my project seeks to be anti-oppressive in method and scope—intersectional, inclusive, decolonial, and anti-hetero-patriarchal. To that end the artists selected are from diverse subaltern groups. Mirabelle Jones is a queer, non-binary artist. Kite is an Oglála Lakȟóta (Indigenous) performance artist. Oscar Santillán is an Latinx artist from Ecuador. Cannupa Hanska Luger is a multidisciplinary artist who is of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, and European descent.
A key connection between these artistic projects is the concept of survivance. Survivance goes beyond mere survival into creating thriving communities that are also integral to the world outside of their communities. Afrofuturists and Indigenous Futurists often point out that they have been through apocalypses, so they are better equipped to work through the types of futures that are probably to come due to climate change and other exacerbating factors, so hints of dystopia flavor these futures, but aren’t the whole picture.
Building good and just devices is another important point of connection. Kite often talks about making things in a good way, regarding their origins and outcomes. Jones wants us to develop products (not just artworks) for more diverse audiences, with their feedback throughout the process.
In this presentation, I want to share these ideas of how artists are envisioning futures and the devices we will use in them. Futures that are more just, more diverse, more inclusive.

-Šárka Lojdová (Charles University Prague):"Why Are Some (Artistic) Narratives of the Future Marginalized?"

I will approach the conference topic from the point of view of an American philosopher Arthur C. Danto. Somebody might object that Danto belongs to the prominent Western thinkers, and therefore his theory does not contribute to the demarginalization of the future. As a white man belonging to the upper class, he found himself in a privileged position. However, his philosophy can help us to reveal the reasons why some (mostly artistic) accounts of the future are marginalized. My thesis is that the ignorance of representations of the future stemming from marginalized political and societal groups results from their marginalization in our present society.
Although Danto is known mostly as a philosopher of art, he paid systematic attention to the problems of the philosophy of history. In his Analytical Philosophy of History and Narration and Knowledge, he introduced the notion of narrative, i.e., a story used by a historian to explain past events and argue that the future forms an integral part of the past. Thus, historical understanding has a retrospective character in that the meaning of a historical event changes in the light of future happening. Later in his career, Danto touch upon the problem of artistic representation of the future, especially in his essay The End of Art. In this essay, he claimed that our depiction of the world's future state says about our present but not about the future itself.
In my presentation, I will put these two streams of Danto's thought together to prove my thesis. In the first part, I will explain Danto's notion of narrative originating in his philosophy of history and his position concerning the future. In the second part of my paper, I will pay attention to his interpretation of art representing the future. Following Danto's sketches in his texts on the end of art, I aim to demonstrate what do our visions of the future reveal about our present, i.e., our society's current state. t. In doing so, I will consider Wittgenstein's notion of forms of life adopted by Danto and Danto's idea that art functions as a mirror reflecting our society's state and conventions discussed in The Transfiguration of the Commonplace. Following these thoughts, I will demonstrate that the neglect of representations of the future made by people from marginalized groups is closely related to the ignorance of these groups in our society. I believe that these groups' ignorance has become a philosophical discussion topic because the culture itself started to be more and more aware that the voice of the marginalized has to be heard.

 

 

 

Moderator: Miloš Ševčík

Keynote 1: (12:00-13:00) -

São Paulo, Brazil
08:00

Berlin, Germany
12:00

Singapore, Singapore
19:00

Tokyo, Japan
20:00

-Preciosa de Joya (Ateneo de Manila University): “Jeepneys to the Future: Transmissions from the Past”

While recognizing itself as the heir to Third World liberation struggles, the term “global South” aspires to surpass the legacy of its predecessor. Regarded as profoundly entrenched in eurocentric notions and representations, the “Third World” has been deemed untenable as a geopolitical concept and emancipatory project. As a response, the global South represents the collective struggle to overcome this epistemic violence/dependence and reclaim the dignity and self-determination of marginalized social groups by ensuring a pluriverse of alternative knowledge and forms of being.
However, in examining Filipino narratives of the future, I am seeing not new forms but past projects that have been rendered obsolete or contentious due to elements that might have been all too quickly dismissed as reactionary by a careless glance of the “global South” eye. In re-evaluating these narratives in their own terms, I hope to recover traces of futures that might have been marginalized unwittingly by the very discourses that seek to uphold liberal and progressive thought.
In my presentation, I return to the work of the Filipino filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik (Quiet Lightning), who is associated with the Third Cinema movement and known as the founder of the Philippine New Wave. Despite his ubiquitous reference to underdevelopment in the shadow of Western economic and technological progress, Kidlat has helped formulate the Third World not merely as a condition but a way of life that envisions an alternative modernity. Juxtaposed to this is a similar yet different vision found in the work of University of the Philippines professor Zeus Salazar, who pioneered the “indigenization” movement in Philippine social sciences that began in the 1970s and have gained prominence in academic circles today. Endearingly known to his students as Bathala (God), Salazar has been condemned by critics as nativist and ethnonationalist, not only in his uncompromising use of the Filipino language in intellectual discourse but also in his complicity in the historical project, Tadhana of former president-dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Seen in its own terms however, Salazar’s vision of “Bagong Kasaysayan” (New History) seems to offer not only an alternative historiography and historical narrative but a path towards establishing autonomy in discourse and knowledge production in the age of Neo-liberalism.

 

 

 

 

Moderator: Fernando Wirtz

 

Break

Keynote 2 (14-15)

Montréal, Canada
08:00

Lisbon, Portugal
13:00

Berlin, Germany
14:00

Helsinki, Finland
15:00

Singapore, Singapore
21:00

Tokyo, Japan
22:00

Boaventura de Sousa Santos (University of Coimbra, Portugal): “Postpandemic scenarios from the perspective of the epistemologies of the south“

No abstract available so far.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moderator: Razvan Sandru

Keynote 3 (15-16)

Montréal, Canada
Fri, 19 Feb 2021
09:00

Lisbon, Portugal
14:00

Berlin, Germany
15:00

Helsinki, Finland
16:00

Singapore, Singapore
22:00

Tokyo, Japan
23:00

Max Ryynänen (Aalto University, Finland): “The World is a Stage”

Back to Rasa Theory: Can the oldest atmosphere theory in the world help us to understand today’s (and our future) aesthetic manipulation?
Bharata’s (300BC-300AD), later most famously Abhinavagupta’s (11thC), idea of emotive atmospheres in theater – sometimes also used to discuss painting and music – have during the centuries been fermented into all forms of Indian cultural production, including late arts like film, where it has been used and discussed widely.
The original idea is that theater, at its best, has always only one dominant emotive atmosphere (erotic, comic, etc), and that this “rasa”, as it is called, appropriates and elevates everyday emotions to a reflective plane, where a heightened consciousness is reached. This ancient work of theory is an impressive attempt to understand aesthetic experience.
It is not just in art where we are surrounded by atmospheres created by others, though. Today we are face atmospheric manipulation nearly everywhere we go. We are stimulated by physical and digital visual design and soundscapes – from the opening sounds of our computers to the beeps our cell phones make (when we press the buttons), without forgetting the background music that we hear in elevators and malls. They build an aesthetic everyday texture for us.
We have of course gained atmospheric support and stimulation from buildings, bridges and decorations throughout human history, but the amount we today receive stimulation from professional designers (who design our lifeworld), has reached a totally new stage, of which we probably do not yet really understand/know much.
How can we cope with this development?
We do not often know who builds our digital environments nor the soundscapes of our shops – nor do we know who are the atmosphere masters that create our aesthetics of airports or malls. One thing is clear, though. All of this is less produced in the US and the West than most of us believe. India, the home of the oldest theory of atmospheres – where rasa theory is taught in the design school – is actually the birthplace of a major amount of aesthetic everyday stimulation.
Atmospheres invite us, through visuals and sound, to consume, relax and feel at home on pages, with software and in social media – as much as they do that in malls, shops and in offices.
Today we have a broad array of theories of atmosphere in use, but is there any reason why we would not take a look at the most classical one, the rasa theory of Bharata and Abhinavagupta, as one contender for helping us to make sense of our everyday life?
The ancient theater theorists talked about a bliss taking over during a performance, pulling us up to a reflective plane. Today’s everyday atmospheres are of course of a much lighter, more shallow nature, and they are not about simple classifications like “the comic” nor “the erotic”. Both the creators of atmospheric stimulation and the users of it (we, us), live in much less defined atmospheres, that often, actually, just give the sense of being in the right place (for consumption), a feeling of safety, an experience of being “cool” – and getting in the mood for leisure.
Nobody knows how much more intense the future will be in this sense, but we have at least no reason to think, that this development would stop to accelerate. In my talk I will think of rasa theory as one possible mirror that we can use to shed light on our experience of today’s world of work and consumerism – with deep roots to the cultural background that so many of the designers of our aesthetic everyday share. I will also propose new rasa for future students of the art of atmosphere and atmospheric manipulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moderator: Mădălina Diaconu

Sat, 20 Feb 2021

Session 4 (12:00-13:00)

The future of humanity and humanism

São Paulo, Brazil
08:00

Berlin, Germany
12:00

Hong Kong
19:00

 

-Niclas Rautenberg: “The Future of Democratic Conflict Resolution: A Phenomenology of Difference”

One of the core tenets of liberal political philosophy is the conception of the person as free and equal citizens. Nowhere does this crystallise more than in John Rawls’s Political Liberalism, in which the rational agent in the original position and, subsequently, the reasonable citizen in the well-ordered society, agree on a set of principles that ends social conflict and fosters a realistic utopia reigned by justice. However, recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the killings of Brianne Taylor and George Floyd, have once more rendered it painstakingly clear that we are far from equality across social groups. The thesis underpinning this paper is that Rawls’s ahistorical assumption of the sameness of persons in political matters is unfit to provide us with guidance in our imperfect world. Instead, I argue to work from the bottom up: what if finding sound solutions to conflict requires acknowledging the differences we experience? This paper aims to address this question phenomenologically by analysing the role of the body in conflict. Starting out from a conflict event in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me,the paper illuminates the particular structure that we encounter in cases of racialised conflict. Critically contrasting the thought of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Alfred Schutz with black phenomenologists such as Frantz Fanon, Lewis R. Gordon, and George Yancy, I argue that Coates’s conflict experience expresses different modes of being-in contemporary democracies. These include racialised patterns of perception in conflict. The body of the opponent thereby becomes politicised: i.e., its features become markers for political membership. A Rawlsian approach to conflict is incapable of accounting for this perceptual dimension of conflict, as the Rawlsian citizen is oddly disembodied and rid of history. A phenomenological conflict approach that takes its place, does not posit sameness, but acknowledges difference. The solution, then, is not the complete fusion of viewpoints, but a “lateral universal” that we find in the works of philosophers such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty or Bernhard Waldenfels. The future of democratic conflict resolution does not lie in levelling difference, but in interrogating one’s perception of it.

-Stefan Bolea (University of Cluj-Napoca): “Forebodings of a Dead Future. Cioran and True Detective”

Detective Rust Cohle (brilliantly portrayed by Matthew McConaughey) from Nic Pizzolatto’s television series True Detective seems modelled on Cioran’s not-man (not unlike Nietzsche’s overman or superman [Übermensch], ne-om was recently translated as not-man and not as non-human). The concept of the not-man describes a post-anthropological subject, which is “inhumanˮ from a psychological point of view, emphasizing estrangement and otherness in the definition of humanity (human’s psychologic radical alterity). In On the Heights of Despair (1934), Emil Cioran constructs, in his ambiguous and lyrical style, a definition of a new concept, the not-man: “There are among men some who are not far above plants or animals, and therefore aspire to humanity.But those who know what it means to be Man long to be anything but … If the difference between Man and animal lies in the fact that the animal can only be an animal whereas man can also be not-man – that is, something other than himself – then I am not-man.” (Cioran 1992). Before Foucault alluded to the death of man in his The Order of Things (1966) as the downfall of a certain way of conceiving the human being and the advent of a non-humanistic system of reference, philosophers such as Nietzsche and Cioran developed their peculiar way of Antihumanism. These authors add misanthropy to their project of replacing the humanistic perspective. Furthermore, they see their subjects (the not-men)as agents of destruction, and, in a Schopenhauerian fashion, would like to rid us of the obsolete saga of humanism. We understand that the not-man is no longer human. But how may one define it? From a psychological point of view, the not-man is a stranger, a spiritual mutation. Perhaps from the perspective of mankind, the not-man is a a punishable psychological outsider. Rust Chole argues in a Cioranian manner: “I think human consciousness, is a tragic misstep in evolution. We became too self-aware, nature created an aspect of nature separate from itself, we are creatures that should not exist by natural law … Maybe the honorable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight – brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal” (Pizzolatto 2014). From “consciousness as destiny” [Bewusstsein als Verhängnis], Cioran’s thesis derived from Alfred Seidel, to the Freudian distinction between nature and culture, from the Buddhist idea of the inexistence of the self to the Heideggerian treatment of das Manals Niemand, we are led to the Schopenhauerian tableau of the voluntary self-destruction of species. These post-human subjects belong to the context of a theory of the “end of times”. The “continuous ending” of post-Schopenhauerian philosophy (from Mainländer’s “will to death” to Freud’s “end of the world phantasm”, or from Swinburne’s “sleep eternal/ In an eternal night” to Eminescu’s “twilight of God and sunset of ideas”) is a fitting symptom of the post-humanistic subject, unable to countersign the declaration of human rights.

-Raphael Chim (Chinese University of Hong Kong): “Act as if we could not die”: a secular reworking of George Berkeley’s immortality into a fictional imperative for the future

The future for the 18th century Irish philosopher George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne, consisted largely of the afterlife promised in Christian doctrines. Berkeley’s sense of immortality has been discussed in conjunction to his theory of time and moral philosophy and, hence, however outlandish it might sound to bring up the word in the 21st century, is something we must nevertheless speak of in the study of Berkeley’s writings. In simultaneity, there is also no cause for us not to attempt reworking elements in Berkeley’s philosophy, such as we have seen already in Margaret Atherton and Helen Yetter-Chappell’s attempts at removing God from Berkeley’s philosophy. This paper shall aim for a more modest end though.
I propose to rework Berkeley’s sense of immortality by swapping out the promised afterlife in heaven or hell for the present life which shall indefinitely continue after death. I shall first show this to be possible on account of Berkeley’s own implicit admission that we had no way of perceiving our immortality or the promised next life, except through biblical texts. In the place of biblical texts, I would suggest that we place instead our experiences to date within this world. This I would refer to as a “this-worldly immortality”, in contrast to Berkeley’s other-worldly one involving beliefs in afterlives. I would further develop this “this-worldly immortality” in terms of the trope of time loops in popular media, while also entering this “immortality” into relation with the thought of the eternal recurrence as found in Stoicism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, as discussed by the Japanese philosopher Kuki Shūzō in his “Human and Existence” (Ningen to Jitsuzon).
This paper shall yield two uses of the thought of “this-worldly immortality” which shall be presented as a “convenient fiction”, like biblical accounts of immortality and afterlives, and the thought of eternal recurrence. Its two uses are: First, that of forcing us to take into account for posthumous outcomes of our actions, even if these outcomes would never be empirically given to us. This would serve to combat an irresponsibility for the lives of posterity stemming both from our inability to know posthumous outcomes and the inability of these outcomes in influencing us. An instance of this would be found in the bemoaning over the ruined ecosystem we have left for posterity to live in, followed by potential inaction due to our posthumous imperviousness to the worst outcomes of our inaction. Second, “this-worldly immortality” also serves to radicalize our actions by including our own deaths as a viable means to solving problems. These two uses allow for the extraction of an imperative rooted in the fiction of our reworked sense of immortality in Berkeley: “act as if we could not die”.

-Philipp P. Thapa (Institute for Climate Protection, Energy, and Mobility IKEM, Greifswald/Berlin): “To be a mobile of the Ekumen: The conversation of imaginary cultures and its ethos in Le Guin’s Hainish cycle”

There have always been countercurrents to the (techno-)futuristic imagination in both the societal development and the creative production of the West. They have often dissociated themselves from the term ‘futurism’ for the same reasons that the indigenous futurism movement hopes to change its meaning.For example, the theorist of social ecology, Murray Bookchin, identifies futurism with Jetsons-type visions of the future which celebrate technological progress while conserving and naturalising the existing social order. In contrast, utopianism aims to reconsider all aspects of a social world. It is less interested in The Future as such – itself the construct of a specific culture – than in human possibilities and their diversity.
Shifting the language from futurism to utopianism brings into focus genre-transcending works of the imagination such as those by the White American writer Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018). Daughter of cultural anthropologists Alfred and Theodora Kroeber, Le Guin created and explored multicultural fictional worlds with an anthropologist’s sensibilities. Many of her best-known stories and novels are set in either of two universes. Earthsea is a sprawling archipelago of small and large islands comprising various languages, cultures, ethnicities, and ecozones. In this contribution, I focus on the Hainish universe, which Le Guin herself preferred to call the Ekumen.
Taking the structure of Earthsea to greater extremes, the Hainish cycle is premised on the existence of several dozen human-inhabited planets. They were settled hundreds of thousands of years ago by the people of Hain, whose descendants, including those on Earth, subsequently forgot that other human worlds existed. The Ekumen is a non-directive (and non-colonial) consortium of worlds seeking to reconnect humanity. To learn about worlds, especially those not yet part of the Ekumen, it sends out observers known as mobiles, who are often at the centre of Le Guin’s stories. The mobiles write reports in the manner of field anthropologists, reflecting on both the host culture and their own perspective and experience, just as Le Guin’s stories are both products of the anthropological and utopian imagination and reflect on its methods and problems. To be a mobile of the Ekumen is to wrestle with human diversity and shared humanity alike while engaging in the probably doomed project of building a better future.
In my contribution, I aim to understand better the ethos and possibly philosophy of the mobiles, the Ekumen, and the Hainish cycle as a whole. I suggest that it can be read and studied as a brilliant expression of pluralistic utopianism, providing templates for a non-colonial conversation of utopian and future visions informed by a diversity of cultures.

 

 

Moderator: Ursula Baatz

Session 5 (14:00-15:00) - Futurities and nature

Philadelphia, PA, USA
08:00

Montréal, Canada
08:00

São Paulo, Brazil
10:00

Berlin, Germany
14:00

Singapore, Singapore
21:00

Kyoto, Japan
22:00

-Matthias Fritsch (Concordia University Montréal): “Indirect Intergenerational Reciprocity in Indigenous Philosophies and its Relevance to Climate Ethics”

The talk seeks to propose a concept of justice for future people that is mindful of Indigenous critiques of the ‘Anthropocene’ and associated climate eschatologies. The first section will review these critiques, which suggest that motivating pro-futural care by dreading an impending climate crisis tends to betray a privileged, often settler-colonial perspective, given that for many Indigenous peoples, what is feared the most in such apocalyptic narratives (forced removal from land, loss of meaningful, identity-conferring connection with land and its wildlife perceived as kin, becoming refugees, loss of agency and self-determination, etc.) has already happened to colonized peoples the world over (Dillon 2012; Scott 2016; Whyte 2018).
Thus, a more appropriate relation to the future calls for a more differentiated grasp of the past, including an understanding of what one owes to ancestors. Whyte, for one, suggests in this context that Indigenous approaches to climate change are often motivated through dialogic narratives with descendants and ancestors (Whyte 2018). Thus, if we all placed ourselves in historical lineage, if we all engaged in intergenerational dialogue with our ancestors, we would see that some of our contemporaries live the dream of their ancestors and others a nightmare. The beneficiaries of colonialism now have the “luxury” of viewing the environmental crisis as one that lies wholly in the future, even if that future starts here, while Indigenous communities have been living with such a crisis for a long time.
On this basis, the next section will review various Indigenous accounts of intergenerational ethics, from the seven-generation model of the Iroquois Constitution to Maori gift practices, and argue that, synthesized and distilled, one fundamental and common idea is the claim that present generations owe to the future because they received from their past. The present is here not viewed as a distinct moment on a linear timeline, as, arguably, on the dominant Western privilege granted to the present, but the overlap of past and future.
Accordingly, we the currently living are seen first and foremost as the descendants of our ancestors, and the ancestors of our descendants. Drawing on some intergenerational economics, where owing to the future as a result of having received from the past is discussed as ‘indirect reciprocity’, I will seek to model and defend this view and its social ontology. The paper goes on to explore how dependent this view is on assuming a culture and a land that is relatively stable and shared by generations over time. The final section begins by discussing worries concerning cultural extractivism, that is, appropriating ideas from indigenous cultures who often have already been dispossessed of their ancestral lands, lands that continue to be subject to extractivist practices by ongoing settler colonialism. In the face of these worries, and in the interest of an intergenerational climate ethics, I ask whether the model of indirect reciprocity can be proposed for a global humanity that shares, not merely local land, but the earth and its climate over time with future human beings.

-Christoph Brunner, Sophie Peterson (Leuphana University Lüneburg): “Futurity’s Speculative Lure”

The Ends of the World (Danowski, Viveiros de Castro) have often been proclaimed. Historically, the end of the world occurred again and again for various subjectivities in the frame of a.o. (settler) colonization and the slave trade, genocide, mass detention, disproportionate violence, and the effects of continued dispossession and dislocation of populations. Such a conception of the recurrent end dislodges a linear idea of time and allows us to critically inquire the term of "future societies" beyond a teleological narrative of betterment.
Aimee Bahng deploys the term futurity as an analytical concept to grasp the different narrative engagements with the future. Thinking in terms of futurity enables us to "denaturalize" future's singularity, and at the same time emphasizes the power of future-narratives to "materialize the present" (2018). On the one hand, futurity describes capitalist operations of seizing, capturing and controlling in late liberalism with and through narratives structured around a quantifiable idea of the future. In the face of constructions of the future-preemptive (Massumi) and future-denying narratives, Bahng, on the other hand, proposes a "postcolonial speculation "or what Saidiya Hartman calls "critical fabulation ", as a practice of queering temporalities by refusing dominant time regimes. Such a refusal criticizes narratives of insertion and inclusion of supposedly marginalized subjectivities under Western conceptions of progress. Futurity, we suggest, provides a vital conceptual ground for challenging the potentially redemptive idea of future societies as attached to specific temporal orders.
In doing so, we elaborate on the notion of futurity as a speculative lure for a sociality that moves "before and before" (Harney/Moten 2013) in a time of the not-yet and the always already. In critical fabulation, futurity becomes an "open-ended gesture" (Bahng on Muñoz), engaging the historical and embodied experience of the end of the world as much as requiring a specific way of navigating the present of violent oppression. Stefano Harney and Fred Moten propose the notion of "fugitive planning" as a continuous practice towards a sociality of the undercommons that allows us to extend the imaginative aspect of futurism towards "fugitive communities." The fugitive emphasizes continuous movement and refusal of (de)finite fixation, acting as a differential and queering operation. Giving the fugitive a speculative power enables us to conceive narrative as an open and integral structure, weaving the sensuous, material, corporeal and discursive elements into concrete social formations. Our philosophical proposition then points at a fugitive conception of the present that aims at suspending ends of the world as future-narratives. In un-thinking the promise of future societies, we openly experiment with speculative fabulation as a practice of transtemporal solidarity.

-Arata Nakashima (University of Bonn): “Grant’s Nature Philosophical Futurism: What is the Future in Nature?”

“Futurism,” in the context of the art movement in Italy, originally consisted in resisting the “dull” traditions of the past by emphasizing rapid technological growth. This movement, on the one hand, certainly had liberal tendencies that encouraged "de-centering," but it also, on the other, had “technocentric” tendencies that could justify the exploitation of nature which caused the environmental crisis. It is no doubt that the environmental crisis is a serious problem for the “future” of humanity: left unresolved, it could eventually lead to fatal consequences (extinction, catastrophe) for us or the generations after us. Therefore, we need to envision a “new (or modified) futurism” to avoid the environmental crisis.
In order to approach these issues, I will take up Grant's reading of Schelling’s later Nature-philosophy, as an approach to constructing such futurism. Iain Hamilton Grant, one of the best contemporary Nature-Philosophers and a prominent Schellingian, interprets Schelling’s technical term “Weltgesetz” just as “a manifesto for philosophical futurism” in his essay Nature After Nature, or Naturephilosophical Futurism (2020). In this presentation, I will argue, according to Grant’s claim, that we can find in Schelling’s later Nature-philosophy a “futurism” in the sense that it encourages us to fundamentally rethink the relationship between (human) thought and the natural environment.
My presentation consists of three parts: Firstly, I will clarify the implication of Grant’s claim that the “Weltgesetz” is a manifesto for [nature-]philosophical futurism, by organizing his multi-layered arguments in his recent essays. In doing so, I will focus especially on the concept of “Weltgesetz” because this is the key to understanding the meaning of “Exhibition” in the late Schelling’s Exhibition of the Process of Nature and Exhibition of Pure Rational Philosophy. Secondly, I will compare Grant’s reading of the late Schelling with that of Buchheim (2019), showing that the former emphasizes the material-time side of Schelling’s later Nature-philosophy, whereas the latter emphasizes the logical-space side of this. Finally, I will argue, based on these considerations, that the “Weltgesetz” (Welt-gesetzt, world-posited) is the result of Exhibition of the matter (Materie) itself, that, in this sense, includes time (the past, the present, and the future). I will also conclude that Grant’s “(nature)-philosophical futurism” suggests a future which is not a consequence of human thought, but of the Exhibition of the matter itself.

-Renzo Filnich (DEI-UV, Universidad de Valparaíso): “Qatipana: Becoming and Individuation about the encounter between technical apparati and natural systems”

The present research turns around the concepts and processes of Becoming and Individuation where it evidences a functional model based on the articulation of an information processing system based on the approaches of the philosopher Gilbert Simondon; which aims to model a sensorimotor cycle performed by the cognitive system of an Artificial Intelligence agent. To establish this model of biological inspiration, we use the concepts of information and modulation in Gilbert Simondon and information in Norbert Wiener's cybernetics. These resources require us to ask ourselves the following question: How does the technologization and computerization of cultural techniques change the very nature of knowledge of the affection of being with others (people, things, animals)?. To answer this question we will offer an interdisciplinary study (arts, sciences, information technologies) on the effect of this symbiosis and in what ways it can be seen in the use full of knowledge about the foundations of living and non-living matter. The architecture that we have called Qatipana (Quechua word that denotes the flow of information processing systems), although it cannot be considered as a systems theory, has the utility of being able to explain some empirical observations that we also present here. In conclusion, the implications and limitations of this model and the research that is being carried out to present its utility and probability as a model of the algorithmic cognitive system are part of the questions of communication and affect in the decisions provided by the automatic system.

 

 

 

 

Moderator: Mădălina Diaconu

Session 6 (15:00-16:00) – Asian Futurisms

Montréal, Canada
09:00

São Paulo, Brazil
11:00

Berlin, Germany
15:00

Kyoto, Japan
23:00

-Matthew C. Kruger (Boston College): “Art, Technology, and the future of religion: Simondon with Mariko Mori and Takashi Murakami”

Gilbert Simondon’s Du mode d’existence des objets techniques outlines an intriguing relationship between technics, religion, and the aesthetic. Technology and Religion are, in Simondon’s telling, branches from the original magical unity of the universe. And in the present moment, they are firmly split, viewed in opposition to each other, addressing contrary human interests and offering contrary effects. The primary question of this paper, therefore, is whether, following Simondon’s articulation, a more harmonious integration of technology and religion might be possible; and the place to look for this would be in the realm of the aesthetic. As Simondon writes: “To this day, it does not appear possible for the two reticulations, that of technics within the geographical world and that of religions in the human world, to analogically encounter each other in a real, symbolic relation. And yet only in this way could the aesthetic impression state the rediscovery of the magical totality, by indicating that the forces of thought have once again found one another. Aesthetic feeling, common to both religious thought and technical thought, is the only bridge that could allow for the linking of these two halves of thought that result from the abandonment of magical thought.” (Simondon 194)
My paper, therefore, will look at the merging of technology and religion in the work of two Japanese artists, Mariko Mori and Takashi Murakami. Each reflects on technology, and increasingly in their work, on religion; they reflect on alienation and danger, and the future, as well. Yet the two approaches are also distinctive in terms of the potential solution each might outline, with Mori’s suggesting something more harmonious, and Murakami’s more critical. The mushroom clouds in the background of many of Murakami’s works tell of the ongoing specter of technological violence, and his work quite often contains a critique of the sexualization of youth implicit in anime and pop culture. Mori, on the other hand, though her work does at times depict distance and anomie in the presence of technology, increasingly reveals a more harmonious integration of religious imagery within technological settings. Neither figure, of course, wishes naively to return to a traditional religious form; instead, their art presents an aesthetic reflection on the possibility of a future where a religion can be thought of in deep connection with technology, and thus to that magical unity Simondon describes.

-Amanda Sayonara Fernandes Prazeres (ALAFI): “Empathy and interrelation: exercising intercultural philosophy”

An important issue for intercultural philosophy is the method we use to investigate the thinking that has been developed in a different cultural context. In the circumstance of a globalized world, it becomes increasingly necessary for an academic philosophical work to include the diverse study of the traditions of thought— derived from a distinct cultural, historical, linguistic background. The interest in discovering and valuing other philosophical traditions starts under a critical perspective on the centralism of European philosophy and its philosophical reason. Additionally, it follows the postulation for recreating a temporal and pluralistic universality founded in intercultural dialogue as a mechanism to spend the world, as stated by Raúl Fornet-Betancourt. However, how to learn from other philosophical traditions without falling into a dualistic or relativistic perspective—that tends to separate me and the other, West and East, philosophy and thought? To answer this question, I propose to analyze two concepts developed by the Japanese philosopher Nishitani Keiji (1900-1990) in his masterpiece "Religion and Nothingness". I address Nishitani's interpretation of ​​“learning” (jap. narau 習う) as “ontological empathy” and analyze the consequences of essentially assuming the same way of being of the thing we intend to learn from for a genuine mutual understanding that could be useful for the philosophical work. Furthermore, through the concept of circuminsessional interpenetration (jap. egoteki sōnyū 回 五 的 相 入), I present another possibility of interrelation between I-Thou and I-world, which intends to re-evaluate the method we use in the intercultural philosophical practice. Thus, by applying the concepts presented by Nishitani in the intercultural aspect of philosophy, I believe we can avoid the problem of dualism and relativism, which ultimately hinders the approach and apprehension of philosophy in a plural and inclusive way.

-James Garrison (Baldwin Wallace University): “Reconsidering the Life of Power: Ritual, Body, and Art in Critical Theory and Chinese Philosophy”

Subjectivation, the post-structuralist notion that contingency compels normative subjects to perform ritual norms in order to acquire recognition, autonomy and the means for survival, is a compelling theory for describing the self as relational, bodily, discursive, and ritually-impelled. However, the approach advanced by Michel Foucault and Judith Butler focuses on what she calls The Psychic Life of Power at the expense of its creative side where growth occurs in the course of aesthetic bodily practice, a notion which is well explored in Classical Confucianism and more contemporary Chinese philosophy.
Moving away from the individual level and looking at society on the macro-level, Bernard Stiegler’s influential work in phenomenology calls for a reconsideration of the tekhnē underlying “the politics of memory.” This concerns the constitutive technology that draws together Sein and Schein, being and appearance, in the constitution of public, political life. Meanwhile, Confucian/Marxian philosopher Lǐ Zéhòu converge in their understanding of how finer techniques with a ritual basis lie at the root of human life and how such techniques become covered over and lost with the passage of time. Though the idioms differ and perfect translation remains elusive, they both present novel insight into something being lost and foreclosed in becoming a normative subject and the possibility of recovery through artful ritual technique. The question then emerges: How can this forgetfulness be understood not just as a mere memory lapse, but rather as a major constitutive feature of human culture(s) in the singular and plural?
Bodily practice (here termed “somaesthetic self-cultivation”, following Richard Shusterman) then helps subjects remember how they are produced by ritual techniques and technologies, and how they might set these to work in constituting themselves, thereby unsettling prevailing power structures, even if that is not an intended aim. This particular type of somaesthetic self-cultivation has the potential to generate a new mode in the bodily desire to persist; and just by itself this change in character of the original passionate attachment threatens power mechanisms, even if overt resistance is not involved.
By setting bodily desire to work, to labor on itself artistically, the body can take on a sense of purposiveness without purpose as determined by the wider social field. This kind of work helps, in piecemeal fashion, to reset the reigning expectation that the subject body indisputably “should” act in certain ways so as to cause certain social effects, e.g. continued survival. This type of artful bodily practice does not set forth an end or a hard “should,” like bold resistance projects, but this approach nevertheless accomplishes similar goals, thereby adding to the particular theories of subjectivation and subjectality in a way that contributes to subject life more generally.
These sources each variously show how the ritual artifice of society, much like the subject, is itself contingent. Combining these approaches from critical theory and Chinese philosophy demonstrates how conscious attention to social formation in self-disciplined body-oriented practices can lead bodily self-consciousness to take on a life of its own, as a different type of Other.

-Bongrae Seok (Alvernia University, Pennsylvania, USA): “Future of Robotic AI in East Asian Buddhism”

New technologies are often biased against certain groups of individuals with particular racial/ethnic, social, and linguistic backgrounds. This is particularly so in information technology. Joy Buolamwini and Deborah Raji (2018) reports that many commercial programs of facial recognition fail to identify faces of people specifically women of color. Drew Harwell (2018) reports many cases of linguistic bias where Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant fail to respond to foreign accents. Spanish and Chinese users with nonnative English accents have particular difficulty in using Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Additionally and more seriously, computer programs that are used to sentence criminals are biased against African Americans. The most widely used sentencing software in the US (Northpoint’s sentencing program) outputs risk scores of a convict (the likelihood of committing new crimes) to prevent future crimes but many studies show that risk scores are biased against African Americans (Angwin, Larson, Mattu and Kirchner 2016). Perhaps, part of the biases derive from program bugs or underdeveloped data sets but, independently of these technical errors, racial, cultural, and linguistic biases exist in many advanced technologies because of the way they are developed, programmed, and tested.
In this paper, I will discuss whether robotic AI is biased against religion and spirituality. This is not a direct and explicit bias that can be measured by checking the functionalities or outputs of a program but a philosophical and implicit bias that is not frequently measured and discussed in current literature of technological marginalization. I will focus on robotic AI (a humanoid robot equipped with AI programs) and discuss whether it is biased against religion or religion is systematically marginalized in the development and use of new information technology. Since AI systems are developed to match human mental abilities (i.e., cognitive functions), they intrinsically and philosophically challenge the fundamental distinction between the human mind/soul and the material mind (specifically mechanical processes of computational algorithms) held by many religions. Does AI marginalize religion or does religion reject AI? How do they coexist or marginalize each other?
To answer these questions, I will discuss how robotic AI is introduced and used in East Asian Buddhism (Mahayana Buddhism of China, South Korea, and Japan). Although Muslims are one of the highly wired religious groups actively using apps such as Muslim Pro to support their religious practice, there is no case of robotic AI is reported. In Catholicism, believers can use Confession Chabot app to prepare their confessions but the Catholic Church does not introduce any robotic agent or priest. However, in the Protestant Church of Hesse and Nassau in Wittenberg Germany, a robotic agent, BlessU-2, was built to greet people, recite Bible verses, read programmed prayers, and give blessings. Although it can stimulate people’s curiosity and receive their attention, the local church authority does not believe that BlessU-2 can replace human priests, In contrast, East Asian Buddhism shows an intriguing pattern of how robotic AI is used and incorporated in religion. Many Buddhists believe that a robot is just a programmed mechanism with no awareness and the awakened mind (the Buddha-ness) but others are open to the utilization of robotic AI in Buddhism. For example, robotic monks such as Xian’er and Mindar are built and used in Buddhist temples in China and Japan. Additionally, Buddhist scholars in South Korea believe that the Buddha nature (the possibility of achieving the ultimate enlightenment) exists in the mind of robotic AI. The paper discusses the four different ways Robotic AI is used, incorporated, and discussed in East Asian Buddhism and the intriguing pattern of philosophical marginalization and de-marginalization of AI in religion.

 

Moderator: Lucas Machado

Session 7 (16:00-17:00) - Postcolonial Utopies

Montréal, Canada
10:00

São Paulo, Brazil
12:00

Berlin, Germany
16:00

-Lucas Nascimento Machado (University of São Paulo, Brazil, ALAFI): “Intercultural Dialectics and Dialectical Interculturality”

In our presentation, we will, first, approach the following question: how to do philosophy interculturally? In order to answer that question, however, we have to answer a second one: how to think about the relationship between the self and the other? We believe one possible and fruitful way to answer that question would be to resort to dialectics; dialectics, however, conceived itself by means not only of Western, but Non-Western references. Thus, in our presentation, we will attempt to show how, by articulating the dialectics of Hegel, Nāgārjuna and Nishida, one could come up with a fruitful way of both conceiving dialectics interculturally as well as thinking interculturality by means of a dialectical method. To articulate, however, the dialectics of those different philosophers in a method of doing philosophy interculturally, we shall also bring into discussion another philosopher, to wit, Ram Adhar Mall and his conception of situated unsituatedness (orthafte Ortlosigkeit). We believe that Mall’s concept not only provides a central base for articulating the different dialectics of Hegel, Nāgārjuna and Nishida in a method of doing intercultural philosophy, but can itself be better understood if comprehended dialectically. Finally, we will suggest that, taken to its last consequences, the project of thinking of dialectics as a method to do intercultural philosophy has to necessarily take into consideration Dussel’s conception of analectics, and the limits it imposes to our traditional understanding of dialectics and its possibilities. With this in mind, we shall, however, propose one final reflection: can dialectics, conceived interculturally as a means of doing intercultural philosophy, go beyond the limits of dialectics, as conceived and criticized by Dussel’s analectics? Moreover, could it, in some way, be even integrated with analectics itself and thus, become an even more powerful tool do doing and understanding philosophy interculturally? And, if it can, what would such integration look like?

-Federica González (University of Tübingen): “The mimetic dimension of desire in postcolonial societies”

The future is not just a rational portrayal or narrative, it is also the space of praxis, action, and therefore the canvas where subjects consciously – or unconsciously – draw the objects of their desires. Desire is the affective way in which we relate to the future. Desires, in this way, design the diverse imaginaries of the future. In this sense, I believe that in order to understand the future, or the depiction of the future of marginalized societies, it seems necessary to take into account the way desires have been shaped, specifically in postcolonial societies.
To understand the concept of desire and its specific shape in postcolonial societies, I would like to resort to the so-called “mimetic theory of desire” from René Girard and confront it to the Fanonian understanding of desire as the unsurmountable desire-to-be-white in colonial and postcolonial Martinique and Algeria.
Despite the fact that Girard´s theory emerged from literary analysis; the pivotal idea of his thesis can be fruitful to explore the “mimetic dimension” of desire in postcolonial subjectivities. The gist of Girard´s theory lies in the fact that there is not a direct relation between the subject and the object of desire, but it is rather “mediated” by a third party, and hence, desire is not necessarily a subjective expression of spontaneity. One of the paradigms of a mimetic desire presented by Girard is Julian Sorel from “Red and Black”, whose objects of desire and ambitions are shaped by the power figures of the French society of the mid eighteenth century, and not by a “free agent” who can design its own future in an unbiased way. In other words, desires are biased and determined in a hierarchical relation. Future imaginaries can thus be understood by means of this mimetic theory of desire that can reveal the power relations involved in structuring them.
After presenting in general terms Girard's mimetic theory of desire, I would like to further develop it through Fanon´s understanding of the “desire to be white” in his Black Skin, White Masks. According to Fanon and his reading of Hegel's dialectics of the master and the slave, there is no other objective in the slave than to be like the master. The desires of colonial subjectivities, and maybe also postcolonial, are thus, mediated by a discriminatory and racist situation. The mediation in desire is further elaborated from the point of view of Sartre's account of antisemitism, where “choice” is not free – or authentic – but determined by a “false situation”.
Based on Fanon and Girard, I will argue that the colonial perspective on desire often gets imposed on subaltern cultures and decides on the desirability of things based on a centralized power figure and a false situation. To demarginalize future means then to decentralize desire as a first step towards a multiverse of future perspectives.

-Natalia Rugnitz : “Utopia and Pessimism”

How can human life be better, both from the point of view of individual and of collective experience? What should we do? What can we do and, most fundamentally, what can we expect? The attempt to answer these questions gave rise to a whole literary genre: the utopian genre, which in the Western world was baptized in the 16th Century with Thomas More´s About how things should be in a State and about the new island Utopia. However, utopian spirit and writings existed long before More gave it a name and have, as their most representative ancestral, Plato´s Republic. The utopian nature of Plato´s Republic was the object of an intense debate during the second half of the 20th century and remains such at the beginning of the 21st. The main critique endorsed to it rests in the claim that it offers a picture of a better possible future that has, among others, a fatal error: that of offering a paradigm which is completely unfeasible and, most of all, undesirable all things considered. The aim of my communication will be to develop an alternative interpretation of the utopian nature of Plato´s Republic, according to which such unfeasibility and undesirability are, precisely, what make the Republic´s utopia valuable and useful as a critical instrument for the assessment of representations of the future. My suggestion is that the book constitutes a philosophical utopia, as long as it develops a paradigm of personal and social fulfillment but, at the same time, presents a heavy set of critiques that challenge those paradigms. The fundamental message of the Republic consists not so much of the models being presented, but has to do, rather, with the simultaneous questioning of that very models being performed and, thus, with an advice that is of the utmost importance in relation to the exercise of constructing narratives about a possible better world to come. I will defend that this advice is a methodological one, useful from a point of view that precedes the particular content of whatever utopia is being designed. I will try to show that, to achieve its function of being an effective source of social change, utopian narrative needs to be permeated by an effort of self-criticism that puts into play a pessimistic attitude (in the theoretical and philosophical sense of the term), in order to be more than a wish-thought. Utopian thinking must be capable of assimilating, within itself, the limiting factors to the achievement of the ideal in view of a serious consideration of the given context in which it arises, be it the conventional one, in the sense of the prevailing cultural movement, be it the marginalized one, in the sense of the minorities who work for a more inclusive and representative world.

-Abbed Kanoor (University of Tübingen): “Culture, Ideology, Ontology. On the future possibilities of traditions. A phenomenological investigation”

This conference presentation aims at understanding the relation to cultural past in order to launch a debate about the future of the tradition through the phenomenology of its modes of givenness:

i. Culture and Tradition
Cultural studies take the attitude of an approach from outside to cultures, certainly liberating them from prejudiced hierarchies of evaluation which once positioned them in different grades of “civilization” and “progress”; though the very same attitude would neglect their internal dynamism. Cultural studies may in this respect tend to spatialize cultures, reducing them to their “representative” visible features. Such an arrangement and juxtaposition of cultures conceal their traditionality: the vivid tradere of knowledge, rituals, accents, styles and the permanent communication with the “beginning”. Not only multicultural concepts such as “melting pot” reinforce this mechanism, but even critical discourses concerned with the epistemic (in)justice such as “global history” may take a homogenizing orientation leading to what Homie Bhabha calls the “global cosmopolitanism”.
Thinking the tradition from inside requires a different approach than culturalizing the tradition which reduces its hermeneutic possibilities, its relation to the quasi-mythical “original foundation” (Urstiftung), its immanent movement of transmission as permanent “re-foundation” (Nachstiftung) and the perspectivist approach which it renders possible toward other traditions.

ii. Ideologization of Tradition
In the second part of my presentation I will discuss a process which Daryush Shayegan calls the “ideologization of tradition”: how the tradition could be politicized and produce, as the result of unconscious transmutation, unpredicted forms of thought. The paradox is that while ideologies tend to sanctify secular ideas, religious traditions which want to be militant, secularize sacred ideas. The result is an ambivalent situation between a magico-religious vision and a pseudo-scientific rationalism.
A brief analysis of a typical ideologue of Iranian thought Ali Shari'ati, who transformed the main ideas of Shi'ism insisting upon the militant aspects to oppose the grip of the Western challenge and developed a hybrid anthropology as a mixture of commonplaces drawn from Islamic mysticism and a certain dose of Hegelianism, will as a concrete example help to better understand the ideologization of tradition.

iii. Traditions and Ontologies
In the last part I will argue that the same overlap of ontological registers that causes blockages and cripples the gaze leading to cultural schizophrenia, could lead to a rich encounter with the imagination among artists and writers of in-between experience – e.g. the magical realism. What characterizes our world is not only the cultural diversity of traditions that come into contact with each other, but also the reversible temporalities and sophisticated world apprehensions that accompany them. Relying upon Henry Corbin’s phenomenological approach to the traditional oriental thought and its ontologies, I will try to expose a third possibility beyond the culture and the ideology. As Corbin puts it: “Le passé n’est qu’une chose que l’on dépasse”. It is rather about understanding what once made this past possible, made it happen and was its (possible) future.

 

Moderator: Claudia Cedeño Baez

Keynote 4 (18-19)

Montréal, Canada
12:00

São Paulo, Brazil
14:00

Lisbon, Portugal
17:00

Berlin, Germany
18:00

-Brian Goeltzenleuchter (San Diego State University): “The Olfactory Present and the Future Museum”

How would your understanding of your city differ if you let your nose, rather than your eyes, lead the way? So begins Sillage, an olfactory artwork that activates the museum’s site as a platform for participation in public life by using neighborhood smells to initiate informal conversations with visitors around the politics of urbanism. My lecture frames Sillage as a ‘counter-monument.’ Drawing on the writing of James E. Young, I will define the olfactory counter-monument as that which is ephemeral, physically unimposing, and capable of generating discourse chiefly because it hastens public memory. I introduce the ‘dialogical paradox’ of olfactory art; whereas smells are resistant to linguistic sense-making, they also stimulate a type of collective wonder that leads to active dialog. Inspired by Hannah Arendt’s concept of the vita activa, this sort of dialog challenges Immanuel Kant’s aesthetics by proposing a relational aesthetics based on active smelling that leads to engagement with the city and its constituencies. I conclude by speculating on ways in which the future museum might reassess the physical, organizational, and curatorial paradigms that support neo-Kantian ideals by employing currently marginalized practices of decolonizing its collection and collaborating with its diverse constituency.

 

 

 

 

Moderator: Ingmar Lähnemann

Keynote 5 (19-20)

Montréal, Canada
13:00

São Paulo, Brazil
15:00

Lisbon, Portugal
18:00

Berlin, Germany
19:00

Dominic McIver Lopes (University of British Columbia): “Aesthetic Justice: A Framework”

People with different cultures come into contact with each other, and the contacts can go well or they can go badly. Indeed, if justice is goodness in the arrangement of social life, then arrangements of social life that shape cultural contact can be just or unjust. This lecture introduces a framework for thinking about what is special in contact between aesthetic cultures, in particular, and proposes two interests that should be built into a theory of aesthetic justice.

 

 

 

 

Moderator: Jale Erzen

Keynote 6 (20-21)

Montréal, Canada
14:00

São Paulo, Brazil
16:00

Lisbon, Portugal
19:00

Berlin, Germany
20:00

Raúl Trejo Villalobos (Autonomous University of Chiapas): “Interculturality: experiences and reflections”

There are currently 12 indigenous peoples in the state of Chiapas, most of them direct descendants of Maya civilization. Since 500 years ago, the features of their history are colonization, resistance and marginalization. Higher and university education, on the other side, are recent in the history of the state. The Autonomous University of Chiapas (UNACH), for example, was founded in 1974, and the Intercultural University of Chiapas (UNICH) in 2004. During these years, the number of members from original peoples that have entered higher education has increased. The main problem in this situation remains in the fact that the institutions of higher education have a number of Western criteria as their characterizing features. Thus, the members of original peoples are forced into learning another language and, most of the time, into abandoning their cultures. It is in this sense that the purpose of my presentation is to make some initial reflections on interculturality, taking Raul Fornet Betancout and Luis Villoro into account, in one hand; and, on the other, sharing some experiences of intercultural dialogue. My work’s central idea lies in considering the main problems of interculturality so as to elaborate a more accurate proposal in the immediate and medium-term future.

 

 

 

 

Moderator: Razvan Sandru

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