Nicholas Gaskill, A. J. Nocek (eds.): The Lure of Whitehead (2014)

27 March 2015, dusan

“Once largely ignored, the speculative philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead has assumed a new prominence in contemporary theory across the humanities and social sciences. Philosophers and artists, literary critics and social theorists, anthropologists and computer scientists have embraced Whitehead’s thought, extending it through inquiries into the nature of life, the problem of consciousness, and the ontology of objects, as well as into experiments in education and digital media.

The Lure of Whitehead offers readers not only a comprehensive introduction to Whitehead’s philosophy but also a demonstration of how his work advances our emerging understanding of life in the posthuman epoch.”

Contributors: Jeffrey A. Bell, Nathan Brown, Peter Canning, Didier Debaise, Roland Faber, Michael Halewood, Graham Harman, Bruno Latour, Erin Manning, Steven Meyer, Luciana Parisi, Keith Robinson, Isabelle Stengers, James Williams.

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2014
ISBN 9780816679959
ix+427 pages

Review: Ronny Desmet (Constructivist Foundations, 2015).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF
ARG

More on Whitehead.

Stamatia Portanova: Moving without a Body: Digital Philosophy and Choreographic Thoughts (2013)

26 February 2015, dusan

“Digital technologies offer the possibility of capturing, storing, and manipulating movement, abstracting it from the body and transforming it into numerical information. In Moving without a Body, Stamatia Portanova considers what really happens when the physicality of movement is translated into a numerical code by a technological system. Drawing on the radical empiricism of Gilles Deleuze and Alfred North Whitehead, she argues that this does not amount to a technical assessment of software’s capacity to record motion but requires a philosophical rethinking of what movement itself is, or can become.

Discussing the development of different audiovisual tools and the shift from analog to digital, she focuses on some choreographic realizations of this evolution, including works by Loie Fuller and Merce Cunningham. Throughout, Portanova considers these technologies and dances as ways to think—rather than just perform or perceive—movement. She distinguishes the choreographic thought from the performance: a body performs a movement, and a mind thinks or choreographs a dance. Similarly, she sees the move from analog to digital as a shift in conception rather than simply in technical realization. Analyzing choreographic technologies for their capacity to redesign the way movement is thought, Moving without a Body offers an ambitiously conceived reflection on the ontological implications of the encounter between movement and technological systems.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
Technologies of Lived Abstraction series
ISBN 0262018926, 9780262018920
200 pages

Reviews: Donnarumma (Mute, 2014), Murphy (Afterimage, 2014), Thain (Digicult).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (11 MB)

Luciana Parisi: Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013)

20 February 2015, dusan

“In Contagious Architecture, Luciana Parisi offers a philosophical inquiry into the status of the algorithm in architectural and interaction design. Her thesis is that algorithmic computation is not simply an abstract mathematical tool but constitutes a mode of thought in its own right, in that its operation extends into forms of abstraction that lie beyond direct human cognition and control. These include modes of infinity, contingency, and indeterminacy, as well as incomputable quantities underlying the iterative process of algorithmic processing.

The main philosophical source for the project is Alfred North Whitehead, whose process philosophy is specifically designed to provide a vocabulary for “modes of thought” exhibiting various degrees of autonomy from human agency even as they are mobilized by it. Because algorithmic processing lies at the heart of the design practices now reshaping our world—from the physical spaces of our built environment to the networked spaces of digital culture—the nature of algorithmic thought is a topic of pressing importance that reraises questions of control and, ultimately, power. Contagious Architecture revisits cybernetic theories of control and information theory’s notion of the incomputable in light of this rethinking of the role of algorithmic thought. Informed by recent debates in political and cultural theory around the changing landscape of power, it links the nature of abstraction to a new theory of power adequate to the complexities of the digital world.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
Technologies of Lived Abstraction series
ISBN 0262018632, 9780262018630
392 pages

For a New Computational Aesthetics: Algorithmic Environments as Actual Objects lecture by Parisi (2012, video, 72 min).

Reviews: Lecomte (Mute, 2013), Ikoniadou (Computational Culture, 2014).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (24 MB)