A nice review of my book in Information, Communication & Society out now.
University people might be able to access it through Athens or via their insititution. Much of it is visible though. See here.
This summer school/conference should be of interest to people into neuroculture.
Faculty include: Elena Agudio, Ramon Amaro, Kathryn Andrews, Marie-Luise Angerer, Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Ina Blom, Yann Moulier Boutang, Juli Carson, Shu Lea Cheang, Yves Citton, Arne de Boever, Matthew Fuller, Katie Grinnan, Ed Keller, Agnieszka Kurant, Cecile Malaspina, Anna Munster, Abdul-Karim Mustapha, Reza Negarestani, Warren Neidich (founder/director), Florencia Portocarrero, Tony David Sampson, Lorenzo Sandoval, Tino Sehgal, Anuradha Vikram, and Charles T. Wolfe.
The brain and mind are the new factories of the twenty-first century in what is referred to as cognitive capitalism, where workers have transitioned from proletariats to cognitariats. Here, the brain not only refers to the intracranial brain consisting of neurologic matter, but also the situated body and the extracranial brain composed of gestalts, affordances, linguistic atmospheres and socially-engaged interactions. Just as the pioneers of cognitive capitalism (such as Tony Negri, Maurizio Lazzarato, and Mario Tronti among others) realized the coming digital economy would have serious consequences for labor and the production of subjectivity, the transition from the information economy to the neural-based economy (or neural capitalism) is a new moment of crisis with even greater challenges. Activist Neuroaesthetics questions what neuro-enhancing drugs, new technologies (like brain-computer interfaces that link the brain to the internet currently explored by companies like Facebook and Neuralink), and the transition from artificial neural networks to artificial intelligence will do to our sense of self and freedom.
Activist Neuroaesthetics understands that our capacity to consciously and directly affect our complex environment of evolving relations through artistic interventions is key to an emancipatory ethics. By consciously refunctioning and estranginging the environment, we are estranging and refunctioning our material brain’s neural plastic potential – literally enhancing its capacity to ‘think outside the box.’ This cognitive activism forms the basis of Activist Neuroaesthetics which resists new forms of subjugation at work in neural capitalism. Activist Neuroaesthetics is more than simply an aesthetic response, but is also a way of reengineering what aesthetics as a philosophical concept means. As such, Activist Neuroaesthetics pro-actively forms a counter-insurgency against the tactics of the neural economy which attempts to privatize and normalize the suppression of free thought and produces a regime which further weakens the cognitariat and makes obvious neural capitalism’s totalitarian tendencies.
This year’s Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art program will take place online in collaboration with ACTIVIST NEUROAESTHETICS, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of artbrain.org. ACTIVIST NEUROAESTHETICS is a year-long festival of events curated by Warren Neidich, Susanne Prinz and Sarrita Hunn including a three-part exhibition (Brain Without Organs, Sleep and Altered States of Consciousness, and Telepathy and New Labor), conference, screenings, lectures and publications, developed by lead institution Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V. with various local partners that will take place online and in Berlin over the course of 2021. In July, an ACTIVIST NEUROAESTHETICS Conference will be held in collaboration with Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art.
Priority Deadline: May 2
Applications for SFSIA 2021 | online are open to students, practitioners and scholars from the fields of art (including video, painting, photography, sculpture and installation), design, architecture, critical writing, neuroscience, science and technology studies, critical theory, cultural studies, film and media studies, and beyond.
Please note this online program is focused around discussion-oriented seminars and public lectures listed in the program schedule. Additionally, participants should plan extra time for the required Reader and to informally connect and engage with other participants as interest and time allows.
All information HERE
Today’s guest post is authored by Mark Featherstone and John Armitage, editors of the new Cultural Politics issue “Viral Culture.” Learn more about “Viral Culture” or purchase the issue here.
In this blog post we want to explain the originality and relevance of the idea of ‘viral culture’, which we explore in the special issue of Cultural Politics devoted to the idea. However, before we talk about originality, it is important to note that it is possible to find precursors to what we are calling ‘viral culture’ in the work of a number of writers who understood what was happening with processes of globalisation and informationalisation from the 1960s onwards. It is important to acknowledge their influence upon our theory of ‘viral culture’ because in a sense what we have done is picked up the debates they started and explored them in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In looking for these influences we might track back as far as the 1960s and think about Jacques Derrida’s early work. In his early works, such as Of Grammatology, Derrida was interested in the informationalisation of biology through the discovery of DNA and communication processes filtered through computers that translated meaningful language into mathematical symbols. In his view this transformed everything, what he spoke about in terms of ‘the living’, into a kind of text that was endlessly on the move and fundamentally unfinished and unfinishable. In much the same way that one never finishes writing, Derrida saw that reproduction is endless and really represents the transmission or communication of DNA code to a new generation through sexual contact. This final point about sexual contact and the combination of DNA in the formation of a new person or animal was very important for Derrida because it represented communication and the emergence of new life, new meaning, and new possibilities. As the new is born, so the old must die out. This is why in his later works he writes about auto-immunity, which really means maintaining openness to the other through opposition to processes immunity that seek to shut down communication.
Pleased to have an article with Jussi Parikka in this issue of Cultural Politics. You can also look here: https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/88497
Subject: Cultural Politics Table of Contents for March 01, 2021: Volume 17, Number 1
March 01, 2021; Volume 17, Number 1
Read This Issue Articles
Viral Culture John Armitage; Mark Featherstone
Protective Measures: An Exercise Bruno Latour; Stephen Muecke
In a Viral Conjuncture: Locking Down Mobilities David Morley
Trump, Authoritarian Populism, and COVID-19 from a US Perspective Douglas Kellner
After the “Age of Wreckers and Exterminators?”: Confronting the Limits of Eradication and Entanglement Narratives Eva Haifa Giraud
Against the New Normal Sean Cubitt
The Operational Loops of a Pandemic Tony D. Sampson; Jussi Parikka
The Great City Is Fragile: Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary Kevin Robins
Circuit Breakers and Biopolitical Strategies Cera Y. J. Tan
Virus Is a Language: COVID-19 and the New Abnormal Chris Hables Gray
Life, Death, and the Living Dead in the Time of COVID-19 James Der Derian; Phillip Gara
On the World of the Virus: Remaking Image Theory Anew John Armitage
Žižek’s Pandemic: On Utopian Realism and the Spirit of Communism Mark Featherstone
On the Beach John Beck
Virus Is Other People Irving Goh
“In celebration of the 25th anniversary of artbrain.org, ACTIVIST NEUROAESTHETICS is a festival of events including a symposium, three-part exhibition, conference, screenings, and publications, developed by lead institution Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V. along with various local partners that will take place online and at different venues on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin over the course of 2021.”
I’m also confirmed for a guest lecture on my sleepwalker book at the Seminar of Aesthetics, University of Oslo on June 18th.
The Seminar of Aesthetics is an interdisciplinary forum for new research at the intersection of aesthetic theory, philosophy and art. “Since 1988 the seminar has presented a long series of guest lecturers from all over the world, among them Paul Ricoeur, Jacques Derrida, Norman Bryson, Jean Starobinski, Julia Kristeva, Gayatri Spivak, Arthur Danto, Thierry de Duve, Sarat Maharaj, Michael Fried, John Rajchman, Boris Groys, Peter Kivy, Andrew Benjamin, Gianni Vattimo, Martin Seel, Hélène Cixous, Gernot Böhme, Gottfried Boehm, Mieke Bal, Peter Brooks, Eric Alliez, Wolfgang Ernst, WJT Mitchell, Hal Foster, Mark B. Hansen, Lorraine Daston and Mark Wigley.”
Aiming to get to Berlin this summer to do some lectures on neurocultures, experience capitalism and aesthetics for Warren. In the meantime, here’s his manifesto… an ongoing project that resonates well with discussion in my books The Assemblage Brain and A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media.
Here’s an extract:
1. Every person on planet Earth has the right to fully develop their neural plastic potential. This Manifesto of Activist Neuroaesthetics is a call to arms against engineered neural optimization. Activist Neuroaesthetics seeks to produce fully developed singular entities constituting a multiplicity whose differences in neural architectures (their neural diversity) are embraced and promoted as forms of collective autonomous power. Activist Neuroaesthetics promotes the idea that artists and art professionals play a key role in making this happen.
2. Neural plasticity is a human trait that knows no boundaries.Neural plasticity refers to the ways and means that the brains’ structure and function is modified by experience throughout life, although more so in youth. The brain’s materiality, both its grey matter consisting of cells called neurons especially its dendrites and synapses, as well as its white matter composed of myelenated axons called tracts are modified in this process. In addition to normal training and experience recent evidence has drawn attention to injury induced functional and structural plasticity as well as plasticity involved in learning new skills. Activist Neuroaesthetics embraces neural plasticity as a political tool and means for change, resistance, and emancipation against the powers of neural capitalism which aims to normalize plasticity by sculpting its potential into something supple and easily controlled. As Catherine Malabou states: “Flexibility is plasticity without its genius.” While flexibility encourages supplication to power by unquestionably taking on its form, plasticity counters its power by inventing and creating its own forms beyond sovereignties normalizing apparatuses and dispositifs.