Keynote Capture All_Life
with: Byung-Chul Han, Vera Tollmann
In German with simultaneous translation to English.
In today’s “dataism” can we even regain both a sense of self and a collective shaping of life?
Do technologies of making life more transparent allow for more autonomy over one's everyday life or do they rather lead to new levels of self-exploitation? In this rare conference appearance, Byung-Chul Han, who has been called one of the most important philosophers in Germany today, will interrogate the notion of “The Transparent Body”. For Han, a new “Psychopolitics” now forms an essential part of an emerging “digital totalitarianism” to which we as individuals are the main contributors. The path of ever increasing self-optimisation is not the path of enlightenment he maintains, instead it leads to a life devoid of narrative, adding data to data in the name of efficiency. Movements such as Quantified Self are about gaining self-knowledge through tracking various bodily functions such as heartrates and nutrition levels or even subconscious activity such as sleep patterns and brainwave readings. The paradox being that the more data we collect about ourselves, the less we seem to actually know ourselves, having outsourced self-insight to computational processes of data mining that produces its own “digital unconscious”. In the age of “dataism” that follow a marketing logic of individual capture, can we even regain both a sense of self and a collective shaping of life? Sometimes mislabeled as a cultural pessimist, Byung-Chul Han, in proposing “idiocy” and “secrecy” as strategies of evading power actually consistently tackles this question with a visionary form of critical utopianism.