Archive for July, 2013

Rob Neuwirth: The 21st-century Medieval City

29 July 2013

“the cities of tomorrow,” the developing-world shanty-towns where a billion people live now, and three billion (a third of humanity) are expected to be living by 2050. With vivid stories and slides (shown for the first time publicly), Neuwirth detailed how life works for the squatters in Rio, Nairobi, Istanbul, and Mumbai. It’s hard for new arrivals— 1.4 million a week around the world, 70 million a year. They throw together mud huts and make do with no water, no electricity, no transportation, no sewage, and barely room to turn around amid square miles of dense crowding.
You can see more about The Long Now Foundation and Seminars About Long Term Thinking at:

Don Ihde – Trust and Technologies

27 July 2013

Don Ihde – Trust and Technologies

For the most part we take our technologies for granted which is an implied trust. I will begin with Heidegger’s famous ‘break-down’ phenomenon which as been used in many ways with respect to understanding and relating to technologies. I shall then turn to a number of concrete examples of human and social relations to technologies to illustrate the complexities which are presupposed through our uses of technologies. “Trusting my Toyota” fits into the topical situation today, now much publicized, of automobile culture, the fates of American car manufacturers, design and use strategies and our participation therein. The analysis will be multidimensional and patterned after the type of studies undertaken in the technoscience seminar.

Robert Macfarlane on landscape and the human heart.

27 July 2013

How do the landscapes we love shape the people we are? For several years and more than a thousand miles, Robert Macfarlane has been following the vast network of old paths and routes that criss-cross Britain and its waters, and connect them to countries and continents beyond. His journeys have taken him from the chalk downs of southern England to the remote bird-islands of the Scottish north-west, from the disputed territories of Palestine to the pilgrimage routes of Spain and the sacred landscapes of the eastern Himalayas.
Along the way — along the ways — he has walked stride for stride with a 5,000-year-old man near Liverpool, followed the ‘deadliest path in Britain’, sailed an open boat far out into the Atlantic along an ancient sea-road, and crossed paths with walkers of many kinds: wanderers, wayfarers, shamans, trespassers, poets, devouts, ghosts and dawdlers.

Gestes Spéculatifs – Day 3: Bruno Latour

25 July 2013


Here, finally, is the second of Day 3’s lecture, given by Bruno Latour with a commentary by Donna Harraway. The original title of the talk was to be: “Quelle guerre doit avoir épuisé quels combattants pour que la diplomatie soit prise au sérieux?” (“Which war must have exhausted which combatants for diplomacy to be taken seriously?”). I’m not sure what the actual title was in the end, but it was certainly about morphisms and involved a fairly total deviation from what I was expecting.

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Latour presented us the ‘angel of geostory’ – who features in his recent Gifford Lectures: a short video clip of a woman walking backwards towards the camera, facing her past, suddenly turning around to face the future and, in absolute horror, fleeing, before finally turning around to face what is coming… This is our modern predicament: eyes glued on the past…

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Modes of Existence Now Available

23 July 2013

for folks interested in an online reading group of the newly released English version

Memories of Another Future: Andrew Pickering on Cybernetics

21 July 2013

Memories of Another Future: Andrew Pickering on Cybernetics

lecture notes and recording, plus Q&A

Utopian thinking has long been out of fashion in academia but there was a palpable sense of nostalgia in Andrew Pickerings talk last week for a time when scientific practice still seemed to hold the key to another world. Drawing on his book The Cybernetic Brain, Pickering offered cybernetics as an unrealised alternative future: a non-modern ontology of unknowability and becoming. In his account, cyberneticists undertook daring experiments with adaptive systems and ecologies, and in doing so they offered an alternative to the modern understanding of science as mastery over nature and the imposition of categories and hierarchies on the world. However, as his rousing talk also made clear, there are many shades of cybernetics to chose from. Pickering favoured the playful and performative experiments of the early cyberneticists over what he called “second order” cybernetics: the preoccupation with command and control and the epistemological analysis of situated observers.

Owen Flanagan: Why the hard problem of consciousness is not so hard.

20 July 2013 offers us a therapy for mysterian tendencies.

Wiebe E. Bijker – Vulnerability of technological cultures

18 July 2013

lecture in English starts at around 5:44m
Bijker’s fields of research include social and historical studies of science, technology and society; theories of technology development; methodology of science, technology and society studies; democratisation of technological culture; science and technology policies; ICT, multimedia and the social-cultural dimensions of the information society; gender and technology; and meta studies of architecture, planning, and civil engineering. With Trevor Pinch he is considered as one of the main adherents of the Social Construction of Technology-approach

Annemarie Mol- Emotional Geographies: On cultivating bodies

17 July 2013

Prof. Annemarie Mol, University of Amsterdam: Feeling, wording, eating. On cultivating bodies
Keynote lecture 4th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, July 2nd 2013
See also:…

ERICH HÖRL: Origins of the Contemporary Ecological Paradigm

15 July 2013

The image of planet earth has become an icon of possibly the last utopias of the 20th century: of living in ecological harmony with nature, and of the creation of a borderless world. It transmits visions of one-ness, of wholeness, of a united world, and it popularized both ecological and systems thinking and appeared to support the idea of a post-nation state, globalized and networked society. What does the image of planet earth “want”, what operations does it perform on various ideological and affective registers?