Sketches of Another Future with Andrew Pickering

19 April 2014 by

A Plea For Slow Science, Isabelle Stengers

17 April 2014 by


Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science & Literature

16 April 2014 by

Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science & Literature

via Robert Mitchell’s new book is wonderfully situated across several intersections: of history and literature, of the Romantic and contemporary worlds, of Keats’ urn and a laboratory cylinder full of dry ice. In Experimental Life: Vitalism in Romantic Science and Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), Mitchell argues that we are in the midst of a vitalist turn in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and that this is only the latest in a series of eras of what he calls “experimental vitalism.” Experimental Life is largely devoted to exploring the first of those eras by tracing an experimental vitalism through a wide range of Romantic textual worlds from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. After a wonderful discussion of the meanings of the “experimental” in the arts and sciences, Mitchell’s book proceeds to look at a series of cases through which we can understand how Romantic thinkers sought out the points of perplexity in vital phenomena, encouraged that perplexity, and often did so by exploring “altered states” that seemed to confuse life and death. These altered states included suspended animation, disorientation, digestion and collapsurgence, mediality, and encounters with the uncanniness of plant life, and Mitchell’s treatment of each case is both beautifully articulated and full of unusual and illuminating juxtapositions. Ultimately, Experimental Life offers readers not just a way of understanding these Romantic contexts, but also engages each case in a way that informs how we think about contemporary biomedical sciences and biopolitics.

Massumi on Undetermined Relations

16 April 2014 by

Cyborg Art- Prefigurative, Performative, Inhuman, Hybrid? C.H.Gray

15 April 2014 by

Culture, including art, is natural. Since humans are makers this means art is fundamentally a techno-social, hybrid system of the mental, the biological, the machinic and the inert. New understandings allow for new technosciences which produce new social conditions that lead to new understandings, all the while this dance means the creation of new artistic practices (artivism, maketivism, prefiguration, performing cyborg citizenship, sousveillance, hypernatural) and theoretical claims (cyborg art, hybrid art, bioart, eco art, infoart, inhuman art, symbiotic art, digital art, inorganic agency). What are we to make of this proliferation? Do we know what we like and does that make a difference? What can we know when we are the flawed instruments of knowing? Should (can?) art be part of helping the world through its current crisis or can it only be an escape from it?

Where to start with reading Peter Sloterdijk?

14 April 2014 by

Originally posted on Progressive Geographies:

sloterdijkWhere should you start with reading Peter Sloterdijk? I have previously done this with Henri Lefebvre, and Chathan Vemuri asked me the same question for Sloterdijk. This is my attempt at answering this, largely in relation to works already in translation – comments or additions welcome.

What is interesting is that in quite a short period of time, Sloterdijk has gone from very little being translated to almost everything either in print or under contract. Yet he can be a frustrating read, especially in his short works, and it is not always clear how books work in relation to each other.

image_miniHis two first works (aside from a book he seems to have largely disowned) were Critique of Cynical Reason and Thinker on Stage: Nietzsche’s Materialism. Both were translated into English fairly quickly, but then none of his books were translated for almost two decades, even though he was publishing…

View original 739 more words

Live Sociology: Social Research & its Futures, Les Back

14 April 2014 by

The lecture draws on recent debates about empirical sociology’s methodological crisis that results from the emergence of sophisticated information-based capitalism and digital culture. Researchers face the challenge of “newly coordinated social reality” in which social relations and interconnections exist across time and space. However, this challenge co-exists with an unprecedented opportunity to use digital multi-media to re-imagine the craft of social research. In the face of these challenges it is argued that sociological craft needs to be invigorated by a renewed focus on its political purpose. Back argues for a live sociology, able to attend to the fleeting, distributed, multiple and sensory aspects of sociality through research techniques that are mobile, sensuous and operate from multiple vantage points. The lecture is based on his new book edited with Nirmal Puwar entitled Live Methods

Are there 15 ways to be unhappy? Surfing Bruno Latour’s ‘An Inquiry into Modes of Existence’

12 April 2014 by

Originally posted on Pop Theory:

1). Samin’ and changin’

DSCF1034I have had Bruno Latour’s An Inquiry in Modes of Existence (AIME) kicking around my desk since last summer, thinking it’s the sort of book one should probably read in case it turns out to be mind-blowingly important. I finally got round to reading it, in a certain manner, recently, encouraged by the setting up of a reading group by the NAMBIO research group in the Geography here at Exeter, which I have actually not been able to attend until this week. I might not be able to go to the next one meeting either, so in the spirit of stretched-out, online thinking that this book is meant to exemplify, I thought I’d try to articulate some of the thoughts that it has provoked in me. (The book is just one element of a more ambitious ‘digital humanities’ project – a website, basically…

View original 4,379 more words

Steve Woolgar’s It Could Be Otherwise: Provocation, Irony & Limits

11 April 2014 by

Love Drugs, Cheating Genes & the Ethics of Science Communication, Kevin Elliott

11 April 2014 by


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 240 other followers