Various circumstances in the run up to my BKM appearance back in Dec last year prevented me from doing the talk I had intended to do. It’s a bit of a jumble as a result. This is more an experiment with a range of virality and post-virality ideas than an articulation of neuroculture and noncognitive capitalism – mainly focusing here on noncognitive HCI.
As the transition from virality to neuroculture becomes more evident I will of course elaborate on, for example, the mereological problem at the centre of Wittgenstein’s brain/body emergence and the assemblage theory that replaces it etc etc.
Thank you very much to Erich Hörl for the kind invite and Robin Schrade for his wonderful effort to bring in the visuals.
Mentioned this example in my BKM talk on Tues as an illustration of the hyperbole surrounding neuroculture. Interesting response in the Guardian by Robin McKie (science editor). So yes, more old folksy assumptions are once again “proved” by brain imaging. More of what Shulman calls fMRI phrenology perhaps?
Would be even more interesting however to find some interferences in between biological constituted and culturally inscribed viewpoints…
Reports trumpeting basic differences between male and female brains are biological determinism at its most trivial, says the science writer of the year.
Talk just confirmed at Bochumer Kolloquium Medienwissenschaft (BKM) on 03/12/2013.
Tony D. Sampson | School of Arts and Digital Industries, University of East London
Noncognitive Capitalism in Times of Neuroculture
In this talk I will expand on the idea of noncognitive capitalism briefly introduced in my book Virality (Minnesota, 2012). There I attempted to grasp some of the conditions of network capitalism through a “resuscitation” of Gabriel Tarde’s imitation thesis. In short, Tarde was fascinated by the brain sciences of his day, and as such, he theorized base social relation (repetition-imitation) as “unconscious associations”, or in other words, social networks of mostly hypnotized brain cells. Here I will rethink what we might now call neuroculture and ask to what extent avenues of current brain science are coming together with capitalist enterprise to shape contemporary social relationality.
I will contend that the looming shadow of neuroculture provokes a series of questions. The first (what can be done to a brain?) explores the interwoveness of often conflicting cognitive and behavioural neuroscientific research, the attention economy and work in the digital industries. The second (what can a brain do?) asks if a brain can be liberated from the objectifying forces of neuroculture. And finally (what is it that thinks?) struggles to look beyond the objectified brain to nomadic assemblages of sense making.