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.

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)

Craig Dworkin: No Medium (2013)

10 January 2014, dusan


(photo source)

“In No Medium, Craig Dworkin looks at works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent, writing critically and substantively about works for which there would seem to be not only nothing to see but nothing to say. Examined closely, these ostensibly contentless works of art, literature, and music point to a new understanding of media and the limits of the artistic object.

Dworkin considers works predicated on blank sheets of paper, from a fictional collection of poems in Jean Cocteau’s Orphée to the actual publication of a ream of typing paper as a book of poetry; he compares Robert Rauschenberg’s Erased De Kooning Drawing to the artist Nick Thurston’s erased copy of Maurice Blanchot’s The Space of Literature (in which only Thurston’s marginalia were visible); and he scrutinizes the sexual politics of photographic representation and the implications of obscured or obliterated subjects of photographs. Reexamining the famous case of John Cage’s 4’33”, Dworkin links Cage’s composition to Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, Ken Friedman’s Zen for Record (and Nam June Paik’s Zen for Film), and other works, offering also a “guide to further listening” that surveys more than 100 scores and recordings of “silent” music.

Dworkin argues that we should understand media not as blank, base things but as social events, and that there is no medium, understood in isolation, but only and always a plurality of media: interpretive activities taking place in socially inscribed space.”

Publisher MIT Press, 2013
ISBN 0262018705, 9780262018708
219 pages

Interview with the author (Critical Margins)
Author’s lecture at Penn Poetry & Poetics (video, 19 min)

Reviews: Johanna Drucker (Los Angeles Review of Books), Michael Leong (Hyperallergic).
Commentary: Richard Marshall (3:AM Magazine).

Publisher

EPUB