Spinoza: Passionate Action! (E-Seminar)

Dr. Baruch Gottlieb
Spinoza: Passionate Action!

E-Seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Thursdays, 14-18 h, 7 dates: 7.5, 14.5, .21.5, .28.5, 4.6, 11.6, 18.6.2020 (Video Live Sessions 14 - 15:30h)

In this special seminar, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the radical disruption underway, it would be remiss not to reorient our study of embodied thinking through Spinoza to investigate the prevailing conditions. To this end we will attempt, through careful attention and listening to and carry out rather small iterative projects together, as a body of bodies so to speak, testing that which separates and connects us.

This rupture gives us a unique opportunity to examine and re-evaluate the trade-offs we make in our social structures to ensure maximal freedom for minimal compromise. As we begin this seminar we will actively investigate what has changed in our new circumstances, and elaborate performative practices to explore together the distinctions between what has and hasn’t changed and what we can learn from this situation.

Here below you finde the original, still largely appropriate course description:

The meaning we make and the meaning we seek is made from experience through our senses. And though we are all different, and the differences are important, what makes experience meaningful is our capacity to find commonalities and share these through language, gestures, sounds and signals. At the same time, conventional understandings of human being need to be revisited, reformulated and radically reworked. Human being exists in a rich and intricate matrix of other beings and materialities and cosmic natureculture which nurture us and which we, in turn, transform. We are not separate, yet we also can be free, not absolutely free, contingently free. We have ideas yet these are embodied, in human bodies enmeshed in the rich matrix of life. As it comes time to act socially, politically, to confront the planetary destiny we share.

At the dawn of our age of automation, Benedict de Spinoza famously examined this difficulty, challenging his readers to imagine freedom as contingent with laws defined by Nature, and Nature expressed through other human beings. “There is no individual thing in the universe more advantageous to human beings than one who lives by the guidance of reason. For the most advantageous thing to human beings is that which agrees most closely with their nature that is (as is self-evident), a human being.” (Spinoza, Ethics, part IV, Prop. 35, Coll.1).

Thinking, moving and uttering with challenging and engaging thinkers and artists, working with all our senses and perceptions we will explore the limits and contingencies of human experience and understanding, “staying with the trouble” towards bodily knowing, and sensual critique. Through readings, discussions, writing, acting, music and transdisciplinary experiments we will examine and elaborate what it means to be human in our contemporary technical condition.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credit: regular and active participation.

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

Baruch Gottlieb, trained as a filmmaker at Concordia University Montreal, has a doctorate in digital aesthetics from the University of Arts Berlin. From 2005-2008 he was professor of Media Art at Yonsei University Graduate School for Communication and Arts in Seoul, Korea. He is active member of the Telekommunisten, Arts & Economic Group and laboratoire de déberlinisation artist collectives. Author of "Gratitude for Technology" (Atropos 2009), "A Political Economy of the Smallest Things" (Atropos 2016), and Digital Materialism (Emerald 2018) he currently lectures in philosophy of digital art at the University of Arts Berlin, in digital ethics at Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus and is artistic researcher at West Den Haag. He is curator of the touring exhibition series "Flusser & the Arts" based on the philosophical writings of Vilém Flusser, which has been presented at ZKM, Karlsruhe, AdK Berlin, West den Haag and GAMU Prague and "FEEDBACK: Marshall McLuhan and the Arts" which has been presented at Den Haag,  Leipzig, Berlin, Detroit/Windsor, and is travelling to Montreal and Frankfurt in 2020. He is initiator of the transdisciplinary event series Spinoza and the Arts. He writes extensively on digital media, digital archiving, generative and interactive processes, digital media for public space and on social and political aspects of networked media. More information on baruchgottlieb.com.