Externalization & Human Nature

Dr. Baruch Gottlieb
Externalization & Human Nature

Seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Tuesdays, 14-18 h, bi-weekly, 7 dates: 16.4., 30.4., 14.5, 28.5., 11.6., 25.6.2019, 9.7.2019
Hardenbergstr. 33, room 110

This is a seminar about making the ephemeral concrete, the inaccessible available and the unimaginable actionable. Technical revolutions reveal new realities “Wirklichkeiten” by wresting actionable data out of obscurity and into the light of reason and power. “Wirklichkeit” is not about truth, but about behaviours “Wirkung”. Politically, this has a strong anthropomorphic dimension which we must encounter. Data is subatomic, but politics are human scale, so even though we seem to have technically generated modes of consciousness and understanding which have surpassed history, we are still enmeshed in causal and deterministic processes. In this seminar we will examine our contemporary environment of services, driven by pervasive data acquisition and networked computation, affording an extended transpersonal life experience and the promise of a world perfectly managed, not by fallible and imperfect humans but by machines operating incorruptibly forever.
But the world of data is less than paper thin, it is so thin we cannot use the words we conventionally use for size. In the words of physicist Leonard Susskind, it is a hologram, whose power relies on us (and nature) filling in the vast bulk of the reality “Wirklichkeit”. Despite, or maybe because of the exquisite competence of our digital-data-driven devices there is a retrieval of archaic modes of integrative material/psychic intuition, alchemy, and other holistic modes of understanding.
This seminar will push us to examine the aesthetic forms that digital data may take, in the context of the perverse excess which it generates inadvertently, light and dark arts, ephemeral and heavy arts. We will do this critically, materialistically, with as much concern for what is lost or left behind in digitization as what is produced. Helping us along the way will be contemporary thinkers on the edges of science, philosophy, aesthetics and ethics, such as Karen Barad and Brigitte Falkenburg, Ursula Franklin, Silvia Federici and Donna Haraway, but also Epicurus, Democritus, Ludwig Boltzmann, Karl Marx, Georges Bataille and Georgio Agamben. We will do this in text and in image, in sound and in movement, with a focus on performativity.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credit: Each participant is expected to produce a small synthetic presentation which connects their practice to themes handled in the seminar. Additionally all participants are expected to prepare purposefully for and participate actively in the discussions and activities of each meeting.

Ausrichtung der Veranstaltung: politisch, vorwärtsgewandt
Kompetenz/Aktivität der Teilnehmenden: reflektieren/denken, transformieren

Baruch Gottlieb, trained as a filmmaker at Concordia University, has been working in digital art with specialization in public art since 1999. He has exhibited and produced permanent works globally including: Prince Takamatsu Gallery Tokyo (2005), ZKM Museum for Art and Media Karlsruhe (2011), Dakar Biennale (2002, 2004, 2006), transmediale, Berlin (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012). Gwangju Biennale (2004), Yeosu World Expo (2012), ISEA Istanbul (2011), LABORAL (2011), Canadian Embassy Berlin (2011) etc. From 2005-2008 he was assistant professor of Media Art at Yonsei University Graduate School for Communication and Arts in Seoul, Korea. He is currently Artist-researcher in Residence at the Institute for Time-Based Media, lecturer in philosophy of digital art at the University of Arts Berlin and honorary fellow of the Vilém Flusser Archiv. He is also artistic director of the exhibition series “Flusser & the Arts”. He writes extensively on digital media, on digital archiving, generative and interactive processes, digital media for public space and on social aspects of networked media. More information on www.g4t.info.