SFSIA 2021 | Tony David Sampson – Experiencing Radical Aesthetic Ontology

Experiencing Radical Aesthetic Ontology
Tony D. Sampson’s talk will focus on two trends in neuroculture influencing the production of radical aesthetic experiences. The first trend refers to disciplinary incursions by so-called neuro-rationalists into the work of artists through the development of neuroaesthetic programmes. Principally associated with cognitive and algorithmic neuroscience, it is argued that neuroaesthetics generally reduces aesthetic experience to conservative, locationist and ocularcentric regimes. The second trend relates to the new paradigm of affective neuroscience. On one hand, the turn to affect in brain science challenges rationalist models by prioritizing previously marginalized affects, sensations, and emotions in the production of concepts. On the other hand, though, as affective neuroscience enters the cultural circuits of capitalism, these productions introduce new pressures on what Fuller (2008) identifies as the capacity of radical art to bring ferocity and passion to the world. Drawing on his dystopian media theory trilogy of books on affective politics, neuro-contagion and aesthetic ontology, Sampson concludes by discussing art methodologies intended to return ferocity and passion to re-radicalized aesthetic experiences.

Tony D. Sampson is an academic, author and editor. His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) and Affect and Social Media: Emotion, Mediation, Anxiety and Contagion, co-edited with Darren Ellis and Stephen Maddison (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018). His new book – A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Social Media – was published by Polity in 2020. Tony is the host and organiser of the Affect and Social Media conferences in east London and a co-founder of the public engagement initiative the Cultural Engine Research Group. He currently works as a reader in digital media cultures and communication at the University of East London in the UK where he also leads the MA Media and Communication Industries and supervises PhDs and Prof Docs in Fine Art.
For more information see: sfsia.art/2021-online/

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