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Nouveau groupe de lecture (Witte de With)

16 January 2015
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Nous avons le plaisir de vous mentionner l'existence d'un nouveau groupe de lecture à Witte de With - qui s'ajoute à notre liste précédemment établie. Nous en profitons pour rappeler que de nombreux documents essentiels à la compréhension de l'enquête sont uniquement disponible sur notre libre d'accès et que les membres des groupes de lecture sont plus qu'invités à contribuer en ligne puisqu'il n'est jamais trop tard !

Witte de With is pleased to once again team up with the Centre for Art and Philosophy of the Erasmus University and to host this reading group, which this year focuses on Bruno Latour’s latest book, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2013). The reading group will take place at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, every second Wednesday of the month at 7pm.

Schedule: 14 January: Introduction, chapters 1, 2
11 February: Chapters 3, 4, 5,
11 March: Chapters 6, 7, 8
8 April: Chapters 9, 10, Conclusion part II
13 May: Chapters 11, 12, 13
10 June: Chapters 14, 15, 16, Conclusion

The reading group is open to anyone interested in and committed to philosophical thinking about art and art theory. To sign up please write to Sjoerd van Tuinen at Bruno Latour is one of the most important contemporary thinkers dealing with the relations between science, technology, art and society. Whether he investigates the construction of scientific facts and technical artifacts (Science in Action 1987), or the production of the social and the public sphere (Reassembling the Social 2005) or the ecological necessity, in politics and elsewhere, to give a voice, not to humans but to ‘things’ (Politics of Nature 2004), each time he thematizes the inextricable relations between humans and non-human entities.

His basic intuition is that We Have Never Been Modern (1993): while the moderns think they are capable of separating the subjective or cultural aspects (values, beliefs, politic) and objective or natural aspects (facts, knowledge, science) of things, they increasing mixture – from cloned sheep to h1n5 to the anthropocene – proves the contrary. So-called hard facts – from the higgs-bossom to the credit crisis – are always constructions that presuppose a whole cluster of potential alliances and mediations. This doesn’t make these constructions any less real. Rather, it demands for a more realistic interpretation of objectivity, which can put science back at the center of the world. Climate change, justice, the soul or God are all equally real or actual, even if this doesn’t mean that they also exist in the same manner. Hence An Inquiry into Modes of Existence (2012), a synthetic study in which Latour combines his earlier work on science, but also on technology, economy and religion with the work of contemporaries such as Isabelle Stengers and Philippe Descola and that of more or less ‘forgotten’ philosophers such as Gabriel Tarde, Étienne Souriau and Gilbert Simondon. The result is a cohesive ‘multirealism’ in which Latour demonstrates how the values in various regimes of sene are subject to constant negotiation. In this way he returns to the anthropological question he first raised 20 years ago: if we have never been modern, then what and where were we and who are ‘we’? His answer: we are on Gaia, the only true globe, which threatens us at the same time that we threaten her. Or more exoterially: we are no longer in the ‘economy’ , a second nature of which the laws would be at right angles with first nature, but in the ecology. The ecology does not need philosophers defending her purity as a science, but ambassadors that can ground her in work-nets of a diversity of actants woven of mutual interest, trust and processes of learning. They speculate on a future in which progressivity is no longer proven by the separation of opinions and facts, but by the search for a sustainable cohabitation of past and future, the ‘others’ and the ‘moderns’.

ABOUT THE COLLABORATORS Centre for Art and Philosophy
Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam

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