Lecture at Sandberg Institute

March 10, 2017

Talk on Uncertainty, Hypothesis, Interface. March 10, 2017, 17-18:30, Amsterdam. Download poster here.

In an age of alternative facts, where opinions carry the weight of some sort of truth-function, the task of forging an actionable bond between epistemologies (or knowledges in the definitively plural) and politics seems like an ever-daunting undertaking. BUT, before sending off the wrong impression that this is a call for pure scientism (or a politics determined by science), it must also be emphatically stated that in such an integration, epistemologies cannot be falsely conflated with over-determined ontological commitments either – we cannot confuse what we know of reality, with all that reality is, or could be - so a fetishization of science also won’t do. To put in in terms used by the architect Keller Easterling, What would it mean to have know-how, and not merely know what of planetary-scaled complexity? What are the commitments and gestures that could usher in a ‘better’ complex-reality to come? Who or what speculates on what ‘betterment’ means or could be? Who and what even composes this ‘many’, as we enter a post-anthropocenic condition? Now it’s fair to say that the sort of discourse we’ll be moving through tonight, exists in a very small community, despite the importance of its relevance in confronting urgent issues that face our planet. To be clear, I’m not talking suggesting we need a populist reformatting of planetary-complexity, but to have its diagrammes exist beyond the page and the lecturehall, these conceptual diagrammes have to seize us somehow as an incentivizing anticipation beyond analytical description. Such a proposition finds resonance in the force of the diagramme described by Gilles Deleuze, namely that a diagramme can possess the quality of pronoia, meaning both care and foresight. It’s in this way that the diagramme becomes linked to futurity, not in that it determines or guarantees the future in a specific way, but acts as a kind of thought-prosthesis beyond what is given before us. In this way, the future-given, can only ever be hypothetical – a point to which I’ll be returning.

-Excerpt