2013, Sat, Jan 12

Island: Techné

With Renée Green (Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge), Xavier Le Roy (Performance-Künstler, Frankreich), John Law (Department of Sociology, Open University, Milton Keynes), Cary Wolfe (Department of English, Rice University, Houston). Moderation: Karin Harrasser (Institut für Medien- und Kulturwissenschaften, Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln)


What does it mean to “do” in the Anthropocene? This island will examine action, creation, and intervention, departing from the Greek term techné, a word that touches many registers of meaning, from art, craft or skill to technique or technology. Philosophically techné’s origins lie in a revelation of the world through technical cunning, implying a particular poetics. Its forms of mediation produce extensions of the human, such as tools or ideas, and stimulate processes where humans and non-humans must merge together to make things happen. If according to an Anthropocenic view, agency becomes extended to include all actors animate and inanimate, then it could be suggested that a post-human world has emerged. How does the planetary potentiality “to do” complicate narratives of agency, change, and effectuality?



Renée Green (Cambridge, MA) is an artist, filmmaker and writer. She is an associate professor and the director of ACT, the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology. Her work engages with investigations into circuits of relation and exchange over time, the gaps and shifts in what survives in public and private memories as well as what has been imagined and invented. She also focuses on the effects of a changing transcultural sphere on what can now be made and thought.


Karin Harrasser (Cologne) is professor and researcher at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Cologne, and is working on cultural and scientific history of prosthetics. Other research projects are on gender, media and technology, theories of the subject/theories of the object, and pop culture/science fiction. Karin Harrasser was an artistic and research director for the project “Die Untoten: Life Sciences & Pulp Fiction.”


John Law (Milton Keynes) is a professor for sociology and the co-director of the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), and director of the Social life of Method Theme within CRESC that is jointly based at the Open University and Manchester University. His research approach is interdisciplinary, materially and discursively heterogeneous; it is concerned with the performativity of method.


Xavier le Roy (France) holds a doctorate in molecular biology from Université Montpellier, and has worked as a dancer and choreographer since 1991. Since 2004, he is involved in various educational programs. His works emerge out of experiments aiming to produce experiences that challenge the distribution of the visible, the hearable and the sayable. His latest work "Retrospective" was developed in 2012 at Fundació Tapiès in Barcelona.


Cary Wolfe (Houston) is Dunlevie Professor of English and founding director of the Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice university. He is author of "WhatIs Posthumanism?" (2010), a book which weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and poststructuralism. It is part of the series "Post-humanities" for which he serves as founding editor at the University of Minnesota Press.


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