Master’s Program in Aesthetics and Politics
The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part One
Image: Warren Neidich, Neuropower, 2008, magic marker on paper
Hosted by Arne De Boever (MA in Aesthetics and Politics, CalArts), Warren Neidich (The Delft School of Design, TU Delft School of Architecture), and Jason Smith (Art Center), “The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part One” brings together philosophers/critical theorists, media theorists, scientists and artists to discuss the state of the mind and brain under the conditions of contemporary capitalism, in which they have become the new focus of laboring.
How do the transformed conditions of labor--more specifically the fact that so much contemporary labor is immaterial, affective, and cognitive--transform the role of emancipatory politics and education today? In the switch from the body to the brain/mind as the major sites of normalization and instrumentalization, the machinic intelligence of the assembly line has been transformed from the hardware of industrial production to the workings of the self, through linking (for instance) attention with new regulatory conditions such as branding and social networks.
Do these new conditions have ramifications for the brain and mind? Did the social, political, economic, psychic and historical conditions which led to the production of the modernist subject create its own psychopathologies like neuroaesthenia and hysteria, which required specific remedies like talk therapy and dream interpretation? Did these psychopathologies find their raison d’etre in the conditions of the brain’s neurobiological architecture? And furthermore, did these changes also produce artistic actions that feedbacked and recalibrated the cultural landscape as a form of therapy? Could the same be said today? Are attention deficit disorder (ADD), panic attacks, and depression a result of the infosphere’s excess: of the mutating political/ social/ cultural conditions of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries that overtax and overstimulate the worker? What artistic forms and procedures and species of critical thinking have arisen in response? Might the answers to these questions be found in linking these new conditions to the fundamental shaping of the neuroplastic potential of the brain/mind?
The conference will begin on Friday, November 9th at the Goethe-Institute (5750 Wilshire Blvd.) with a keynote address by Franco “Bifo” Berardi (introduced by Sylvère Lotringer) and will continue on Saturday, November 10th and Sunday, November 11th at the West Hollywood Public Library (626 N. San Vicente Boulevard). Speakers will include Jonathan Beller, Jodi Dean, Tiziana Terranova, Patricia Pisters, and Bruce Wexler.
"Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part Two" will take place at the ICI Berlin Institute of Cultural Inquiry, from March 7th until March 9th, 2013.
More details will be announced as the conference date is approaching.
Friday, November 9th, Goethe-Institute
Franco “Bifo” Berardi, introduced by Sylvère Lotringer
“The General Intellect is Looking for a Body”
Saturday, November 10th, West Hollywood Public Library
moderated by Arne De Boever
“Proletarianization of the Brain”
moderated by Warren Neidich
“Madness, Miracles, and Machines”
“Neuroplastic Sensitivities and Embodiment of Constructed Realities”
Graduate student panel, organized by Manuel Shvartzberg and Linette Park
“Disrupted Subjectivities and Phronèsis in Aesthetic Labor”
“Digital Dandyism: Narcissism and the Politics of the Facebook Aesthetic”
John A. Tyson
“Pedagogical Fields of Resistance To the Pathologies of Cognitive Capitalism”
Sunday, November 11th, West Hollywood Public Library
moderated by Jason Smith
“Attention Capital Violence and the Psycho-Logistics Thereof”
Franco “Bifo” Berardi
“The Visual Background of the Financial Collapse”
Jonathan Beller is Professor of Humanities and Media Studies and Director of the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute, and a current Fellow of the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Gender. His books include The Cinematic Mode of Production: Attention Economy and the Society of the Spectacle, and Acquiring Eyes: Philippine Visuality, Nationalist Struggle and the World-Media System. Current book projects include Present Senses: Aesthetic, Affect, Asia in the Global, and Wagers Within the Image. He is the editor of a forthcoming issue of Scholar and Feminist Online entitled Feminist Media Theory: Iterations of Social Difference.
Franco “Bifo” Berardi is a contemporary writer, media-theorist and media-activist. He founded the magazine A/traverso (1975-1981) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice, the first free pirate radio station in Italy (1976-1978). He is the author of numerous books, including Cyberpunk, The Panther and the Rhizome, Politics of Mutation, Philosophy and Politics in the Twilight of Modernity, and The Factory of Unhappiness. He is currently collaborating on the magazine DeriveApprodi as well as teaching social history of communication at the Accademia di belle Arti in Milan.
Arne De Boever teaches American Studies in the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts, where he also directs the School’s MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics. He has published numerous articles on literature, film, and critical theory and is editor of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. His book States of Exception in the Contemporary Novel was published by Continuum.
Jodi Dean is a Professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She is the author or editor of eleven books, including Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (Duke 2009) and The Communist Horizon (Verso 2012). She is co-editor of the international journal Theory and Event.
As a conceptual artist, Kuan Hwa works in digital video and cross-disciplinary media to question the paradigms of aesthetics with regard to globalism and historical memory. He often achieves this by reproducing and curating objects or "world" traditions through a mimetic re-doubling of culture. Not simulacra, nor ready-mades, he situates objects of his practice as studies of the way set-forms and learning processes function in an increasingly global economy of languages. His current academic research focuses on what constitutes art as a separate domain and aesthetic philosophy. He is in the art MFA program at UC Irvine and is concurrently finishing an emphasis in Critical Theory.
Sylvère Lotringer studied at the Sorbonne and received his doctorate from the École Pratique des Hautes Études VIe section, Paris. He has published books with French theorists Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard and is the author of Antonin Artaud. He has also published on Georges Bataille, Simone Weil, L.-F. Céline, Marguerite Duras, and Robert Antelme. In addition, he has written extensively on art and contributed to exhibition catalogues from the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum. As General Editor of Semiotext(e) and of the “Foreign Agents” series, Lotringer was instrumental in introducing French theory to the United States.
Warren Neidich is an artist and writer who works in multiple media. He has recently been exploring the conditions of cognitive capitalism using noise music as an inspiration for installations made of speakers, drawings, and videos. He has been exhibited internationally at such institutions as PS1-MOMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, LACMA, the Laguna Art Museum, the California Museum of Photography, the ICA, the Ludwig Museum, and MUKHA. In 2010, he received the Vilem Flusser Theory Award and in 2011, he received the Fulbright Scholar Program Fellowship in Fine Arts. He is a former tutor and artist in residence at Goldsmiths College (2004-2007) and instructor at Southern California Institute of Architecture. He is currently a research fellow at the Delft School of Design, TU Delft School of Architecture.
Linette Park is a graduate of the MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics at the California Institute of the Arts. Her research interests include understanding intersections of power, identity, public/private spaces, education, and the aesthetics and politics of participation. She has further pursued these concerns through pedagogical frameworks in non-profit organizations, activism, and various community arts spaces. In 2010, she was selected to facilitate a workshop on “Story-Telling for Women of Color in Activism” at F-Conference, Sydney’s first feminist conference in ten years. She moved back to the Bay Area later that year and held the position of Programs Intern with the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. She has worked with farmers, artists, and political organizers centered on issues of equity, resource availability, sustainability, and ecology.
Patricia Pisters is professor of film studies and chair of the department of Media Studies of the University of Amsterdam. She is editor of Necsus: European journal of Media Studies. Her publications include The Matrix of Visual Culture: Working with Deleuze in Film Theory (Stanford University Press, 2003) and Mind the Screen (ed. with Jaap Kooijman and Wanda Strauven, Amsterdam University Press, 2008). Her latest book is The Neuro-Image: A Deleuzian Film-Philosophy of Digital Screen Culture (Stanford University Press, 2012). For more info, please consult her website.
Jason E. Smith is Assistant Professor in the Graduate Art Department at Art Center College of Design (Pasadena). He writes on contemporary philosophy, politics and art, and has published work in Artforum, Critical Inquiry, Parrhesia, and Radical Philosophy, among other places. He co-edited and introduced, with Hasana Sharp, Between Hegel and Spinoza (Continuum, 2012) and recently published, with Jean-Luc Nancy and Philip Armstrong, Politique et au-delà (Galilée, 2010). His translation of and introduction to Alain Badiou and Élisabeth Roudinesco’s Lacan, Past Present will appear with Columbia University Press in 2013.
Manuel Shvartzberg studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and is a registered architect in the UK. He has worked, among others, for OMA/Rem Koolhaas, and was project architect for David Chipperfield in London, leading the design team for the critically acclaimed Turner Contemporary gallery (2006-2011). In 2008 he founded the RIBA award-winning experimental practice Hunter & Gatherer, and he has lectured in diverse international institutions on questions of art, architecture, and critical theory. In 2012 he completed the MA in Aesthetics and Politics program at CalArts. He is a practicing architect, writer, and teacher currently serving as adjunct faculty at CalArts and Woodbury University.
Seth Stewart’s childhood performances and impromptu backyard excavations led him to a BA in Interdisciplinary Performance and Anthropology from Oberlin College. A former member of NYC’s Laboratory Theatre, Seth moved to California to attend CalArts where he received his MFA in Film Directing in 2007. He returned to CalArts in 2011 for his MA in Aesthetics & Politics. His current preoccupations include dandyism, horror, “bad” acting, anachronism, and the creation of spaces for what Hannah Arendt describes as the impossible act of “willing backwards”. Seth’s work has been shown in New York at MoMA, CultureFix, The Tank, The American Living Room Festival, and Dixon Place, as well as The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Roots and Culture in Chicago, and in Los Angeles at REDCAT, Bedlam at Al’s Bar, WUHO, and the LA Zinefest.
Tiziana Terranova is Associate Professor of Sociology of Culture and Communications at the Università di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’, Italy. She is the author of Network Culture (Pluto Press 2004), a member of the free university network Uninomade and associate editor of the journal Theory, Culture and Society.
John A. Tyson is a Ph.D candidate in art history at Emory University. He holds an M.A. from Tufts University. During the 2011-12 academic year John was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Critical Studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program. He is continuing to reside in New York while writing his dissertation, "Hans Haacke: Beyond Systems Esthetics." In his teaching and prior research John has also focused on art of the African diaspora and African art. He recently published an article in Synthesis on the work of the South African artist Anton Kannemeyer. Additionally, John’s analysis of Haacke’s negotiations of large-scale international exhibitions will appear in an upcoming issue of pros*.
Bruce E. Wexler is a Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscientist at Yale University. He was a NIH Career Research Scientist and recently was awarded a “transformative research” award for potentially paradigm changing medical research from the Director of the National Institute of Health. Professor Wexler’s research aims to harness neuroplasticity through computerized brain exercises and physical exercises to treat cognitive deficits associated with illnesses. More recently, he and Dr. Jinxia Dong, former national gymnast and now Professor of Sports Science at Peking University, developed an integrated program of brain and body exercises to promote cognitive development in children. The program is used in New York City and Connecticut schools. Professor Wexler has published over 100 scientific papers. Based on ideas in his book Brain and Culture: Neurobiology, Ideology and Social Change (MIT Press, 2006), he and Ambassador Andrew Young co-founded the non-profit organization A Different Future to reclaim the public idea space from extremists by amplifying the voices of moderates in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. As a consultant for the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, he is conducting a U.S. State Department funded study of how the “other” is portrayed in Israeli and Palestinian school books.
CATHERINE MALABOU, “Plasticity: Looking For New Political Modes of Being”
November 9th, Tuesday. 7:30pm, Ahmanson Auditorium at MOCA Grand Avenue.
For directions, please consult moca.org.
Catherine Malabou teaches philosophy at the University of Paris X-Nanterre and is Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Her work articulates the notion of plasticity at the crossroads of philosophy and neuroscience. Her publications in English include The Future of Hegel, Counterpath (with Jacques Derrida), What Should We Do With Our Brain?, and Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing.
Catherine Malabou's lecture will be preceded by an afternoon symposium, hosted by the Fall 2010 interdisciplinary course cluster on bioart at CalArts:
On Bioart: Symposium on Biology, Technology, and the Arts
Speakers will make provocative, 15-minute statements about the crossover of science, technics, and aesthetics in their work. Presentations will be followed by a discussion with the audience. This event is free and open to the public.
The schedule for the presentations is as follows:
4:30-4:45pm: Martie Haselton (Communication Studies and Psychology, UCLA)
4:45pm-5pm: Philip Ross (Artist, founder and director of CRITTER salon, San Francisco)
5pm-5:15pm: Robert Mitchell (English, Duke)
5:15-5:30pm: Michael Pisaro (School of Music, CalArts)
5:30pm-5:45pm: Anne Marie Oliver (Intermedia and Contemporary Theory, PNCA)
5:45pm-6:15pm: Discussion with the audience