Objects: A Rock and a Floppy Disc

Lorraine Daston

Thu, Jan 10, 2013
5.30 pm
Admission free
Illustration: Benedikt Rugar

Prologue by Lorraine Daston (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin). Introduction: Katrin Klingan (Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin)

Providing a set of reflections on the narratives with, through and around “things,” Lorraine Daston, author of Things That Talk, addresses the thick aggregates of historical imagination things suggest. As a material coming together of words and worlds, things occupy a fusion of different temporal junctures, timescales and chronographies. A human lifetime, a century, even a millennium, are a blink of an eye compared to geological epochs. The rock, enduring product of processes measured in hundreds of thousands if not millions of years, and the floppy disk, the ephemeral product of febrile processes of technological innovation, stand for this mismatch in scales. However, as human technology transforms nature ever more swiftly, the legato tempo of the rock and the prestissimo tempo of the floppy disk may begin to converge.

Lorraine Daston (Berlin) is director and head of the department “Ideals and Practices of Rationality” at the Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin. She has published widely on the historyof science, including the history of probability and statistics, the emergence of the scientific fact, scientific models, the moral authority ofnature, and the history of scientific objectivity. Her recent talks include “Nature’s Revenge” and “Why Does Nature Have Moral Authority—Even If It Shouldn’t.”

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