The Rightness of Wrong: Error and Progress in Science and the Arts – Vortragsabend

John Holcroft (used with permission)

A roundtable with Christopher Chamberlin (ICI Berlin), Işıl Eğrikavuk (UdK Berlin), Özgün Eylül İşcen (ICI Berlin), and Alison Sperling (ICI Berlin), hosted by Kata Katz, Mafalda Sandrini and Anita Jóri.

What drives the human if not its failings? It creates tools, because its body fails to keep up with the flora and fauna, it builds societies and cultures, then the individual on its own can't make it in this world. It reaches out to the stars, because it fails to preserve its own habitat. 

We experience failures to different degrees, and still it is an intrinsic aspect of everyone’s life. It lets us find new approaches, it corrects our mischiefs, it allows us to learn patience and gratefulness, amongst many other things. However, in a neo-liberal economy, there is not much space for failure and its transformative power; on a personal level we are usually ashamed of it, and on an institutional level, failure is never communicated, establishing narratives mainly based on hegemonic stories of accomplishments.

Scientific and artistic practices grow, explore and bend contemporary frames of knowledge and viewpoint as they embrace the method of failing. We might never achieve the fleeting state of perfection, but do we care if we find something extraordinary instead?

To be able to explore, to find the surprising, wonderful things we seek as scientists, academics, or artists we need not just a method, but a supporting structure. How much space is given to us by the very same institutional structure that benefits from the method failing?

During this first encounter of the project "Stories of Scientific Failures", initiated by Kata Katz and Mafalda Sandrini, we want to push a reflection on how we see the major failings of the German university and research structures, as well as the way artists and society approach the arts, and find out whether the establishment of a culture of failure in the artistic and academic world would be beneficial.

Also, Flusser himself had his dealings with the rigorousness, inflexible system, superior hierarchy, as being the “enfant terrible” of communication theory and media philosophy. In light of these we can't think of a better place to have conversation about academic systems and their shortcomings. This first session would be the prelude of the following events and discussions, establishing together the terms of participation and the format of the event(s).

If possible, the event will take place in person in conformity with COVID-19’s regulations. Prior registration, a maximum of 45 people will be allowed to participate. The event will be filmed, but not streamed, in order to allow the discussion round to flow in an intimate atmosphere.

Please register via email.

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