Archive for the ‘Peter Sloterdijk’ Category

Review of Sloterdijk’s “You Must Change Your Life”

10 November 2012

I feel a bit uneasy linking to the New Humanist, produced by the Rationalist Association, as their iconoclastic zeal doesn’t appeal to me, however I found this review of Peter Sloterdijk’s You Must Change Your Life by Jonathan Rée interesting.

Semiotics of Subjectivities

24 February 2012

XL Congress of the Italian Association for Semiotic Studies, Turin, September 28-30, 2012. Keynote speakers:

  • Maurizio Bettini
  • Omar Calabrese
  • Jean-Claude Coquet
  • Umberto Eco
  • Paolo Fabbri
  • Bruno Latour
  • Giovanni Manetti
  • Peter Sloterdijk
  • Patrizia Violi

CfP: Making the World Happen

7 February 2012

Making the World Happen: International Events and the Logistics of Globality

111th AAA annual meeting, Borders and Crossings, November 14-18, 2012, San Francisco, CA

Paper abstracts are invited for this panel to be submitted to the Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology (SUNTA).

International events (Olympic Games, World’s fairs, World cups, transnational meetings and conventions) play nowadays a significant role in the creation and densification of global connections for the flow and circulation of people, materials, capital, technologies and ideas. Whereas anthropologists have often paid attention to the symbolic and ideological dimensions of international events, analyses of the institutional, managerial and logistical frameworks of these events have predominantly been economic in orientation with a focus on their overall costs and benefits. Conversely, the recent surge of publications in event management tellingly displays a new corporate interest towards the discipline of cultural anthropology as ethnographic insights are being valued as useful toolboxes in the ongoing management of conflicts and controversies in the context of international events. This panel will bring together ethnographic investigations into the organizational layers of these short-lived global hubs in order to explore in comparative guise their complex assemblages of material and infrastructural configurations that allow for the effectivity of transnational operations.

Submitted proposals for presentations should address one of the following topics:

1. Following controversies: Opening the black box of international events sheds light on the debates and conflicting concerns that emerge between various stakeholders (individual, institutional, international, non-human, etc.) around issues such as design, themes, orientation, outsourcings, public safety, legal harmonizations.

2. Assembling atmospheres: Events designed for the fostering of global connections and the development of international exchange rely on the manufacture of breathable spaces, that is the constitution of artificial climates, spheres of immunity, air-conditioned globalities (Sloterdijk) achieved through an ecology of devices and infrastructures.

3. Spatiotemporal attunements: International events are also anchored upon the existence of “grooved channels” (Geertz, Bestor) that support the engineering of a “ready-made” globalization in order to facilitate the enactment of the daily operations of global connectivity. These include the creation and enforcement of standards that accompanies the transnational extensions in the circulation of materials, people and commodities, the constitution of “obligatory passage points” (Callon), and the establishment of hourly schedules for deliveries, inspections, maintenance, accounting activities, etc.

Please submit the following information to Van Troi Tran ( by Friday, March 16, 2012 for consideration:

Name, Institutional affiliation, Paper title, 250-word abstract, Contact information

Organizers: Van Troi Tran, Sophie Houdart

For more information:

American Anthropological Association:

AAA 2012 Annual meeting guidelines and rules for participation:

Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology:

Hatch by Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert

27 January 2012

If you happen to be in the resurgent boomtown of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada between March 30 and June 10 this year, and have an interest in the intersection of art and urbanism, check out Hatch, Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert’s show at the Mendel Art Gallery:

Artists by Artists: Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert

March 30 to June 10, 2012

Hatch is an exhibition of parallel investigations into notions of path finding and city building. Tammy Lu and Crystal Bueckert’s research and drawings address historical and imagined narratives of Saskatoon by tracing and layering events, characters, infrastructures and geography.

Using human and architectural characters of Saskatoon as a narrative code, Lu proposes a process of city planning that involves a continual personal re-configuration of local stories. Bueckert renders collected images into hybrid maps that explore the evolutions and revisions of city building. Employing a non-linear book format, the artists splice their imagined urban spaces to form permutations of possible mapping schemes.

Lu and Bueckert’s collaborative image immediately reminded me of this Sloterdijk passage:

Life is a matter of form–that is the hypothesis we associate with the venerable philosophical and geometrical term “sphere.” It suggests that life, the formation of spheres and thinking are different  expressions for the same thing. Referring to a vital spheric geometry is only productive, however, if one concedes the existence of a form of theory that knows more about life than life itself does–and that wherever human life is found, whether nomadic or settled, inhabited orbs appear, wandering or stationary orbs which, in a sense, are rounder than anything that can be drawn with compasses. (pp. 10-11)

Peter Sloterdijk, Spheres. Volume I: Bubbles. Microspherology

Sloterdijk’s Spherological Poetics of Being

16 January 2012

Hat tip to Graham for bringing attention to this book on Sloterdijk: it turns out there is also an open access version, downloadable from here:

Schinkel, W. and Noordegraaf-Eelens, L., Eds. (2011). In Medias Res: Peter Sloterdijk’s Spherological Poetics of Being. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. [PDF]

The book also includes Latour’s “Cautious Prometheus” lecture.

Sloterdijk has in recent years grown into one of Germany’s most influential thinkers. His work, which is extremely relevant for philosophers, scientists of art and culture, sociologists, political scientists and theologists, is only now gradually being translated in English. This book makes his work accessible to a wider audience by putting it to work in orientation towards current issues. Sloterdijk’s philosophy moves from a Heideggerian project to think ‘space and time’ to a Diogenes-inspired ‘kynical’ affirmation of the body and a Deleuzian ontology of network-spheres. In a range of accessible and clearly written chapters, this book discusses the many aspects of this thought.

Bruno Latour on networks and spheres

7 March 2011

In e-flux journal Issue no. 23:

Some Experiments in Art and Politics

Inspired by Tomas Saraceno’s installation Galaxies Forming along Filaments, Like Droplets along the Strands of a Spider’s Web (2008), Bruno Latour looks at the topology of the sphere as an alternative to that of the network. Whereas networks are able to articulate cursory and diffuse forms of connectivity in the midst of an infinite expanse, the sphere can be seen as pointing the advantages of networks to another technology by which local, fragile, and complex “atmospheric conditions” can gain a form of resilience by way of a container within a broader network. How can we then apply the same logic to a means of “recomposing” disciplinary divides in a way that sustains a common vocabulary, yet overcomes established hierarchies?

Academic fashions

16 December 2010

Google’s Books Ngram Viewer seems like the ultimate tool for tracing academic fads and fashions. It charts how often a word or phrase has been mentioned in books over a time period (in the last 200 years). Here are some Ngrams just for fun, on ANT, Latour, Heidegger, Harman, Deleuze, Whitehead, Sloterdijk and others. More on Ngram Viewer at The Guardian.

Rage and Time

4 October 2010

I thought it was interesting how one of the reporters on BBC News 24 observed today that the British Conservative Party Conference delegates are such a jolly crowd, especially compared to those at last week’s Labour conference who generally seemed angry, despite the fact that the Tories are the ones presiding over doom and gloom and implementing draconian spending cuts, so displays of jouissance might seem inappropriate.

Indeed, there are plenty of things to be angry about these days, so I was cheered up to discover that Peter Sloterdijk’s psychopolitical investigation into Rage and Time [Zorn und Zeit] was published in English earlier this year. Might it help explain the rage of Labour?

In any case, here are a couple of nice quotes from Zorn und Zeit, which seems to be a deliberate pun on Heidegger’s Sein und Zeit.

As much as the affinities with the basic claims of Being and Time are obvious, the Master from Messkirch only approached the temporal structure of revolutionary resentment in a formalist way before, for a time, evading it for the black heaven of the “national revolution.” Heidegger never fully understood the logical and systematic implications of the concept of revolution. He understood it just as little as he understood the connection between our historicity and Dasein’s ability to be resentful. His investigation of the temporal structures of the caring, projecting, and dying Dasein does not provide us with an appropriate conception of the deep nexus of rage and time. The birth of history out of the project form of rage and, even more, the totality of processes leading to the capitalization of resentment remain obscure in his work. (p. 66)


The concept of companionship, it could be argued, is the political form of what Heidegger referred to from the perspective of fundamental ontology as “errance” (die Irre). Whenever people “err” they move within an intermediary zone situated in between wilderness and route. Heidegger himself was an eminent witness of this, as a matter of fact, because of his periodic preference for the Nazis. Because errance signals a middle course between passage and drift, the travelers will inevitably get to a place that is different from where they wanted to go at the beginning of their journey. “Wayfaring” (das Gehen) with communism turned into an odyssey of comrades because it presupposed what should have never been assumed: that the communist actors were pursuing a more or less civilized road to destinations that could be reached. In reality, they supported a developing dictatorship that used excessive, idealistic, and exaggerated violence to bring about what a liberal state could have achieved in less time in a more spontaneous, more effective, and, to a large extent, bloodless manner. (pp. 154-155)

Sloterdijk in English

3 January 2010

A nice bibliography of Peter Sloterdijk’s work in English with links, from Sean Sturm.

Spheres Theory

2 September 2009

As promised in the video, the text of Peter Sloterdijk’s 17 February 2009 lecture at Harvard has now been published in the Harvard Design Magazine under the title: “Spheres Theory: Talking to Myself About the Poetics of Space.” (hat tip to namhanderson.)

Update: Now that I have read it, I can say it’s absolutely brilliant, packed with mind-expanding ideas. I can’t wait for the English translation of Sphären to come out.

Here are a few gems:

Humans are pets that have domesticated themselves in the incubators of early cultures. (…)

Everything successful is operational, while revolutionary phases achieve nothing as long as they do not contain real potential abilities. Which is why no one today asks what programs are being announced but rather what programs are being written. Writing is an archetype of ability: The invention of script marks the beginning of the operational subversion of the world as it exists. (…)