Webinar Epiphylogenetic Turn and Surroundings: In (Tertiary) Memory of Stiegler

A round table moderated by Andrej Radman, Stavros Kousoulas (TU Delft) and Marc Boumeester (ArtEZ University).

Contributed by:

The work of Bernard Stiegler (1952–2020) provides invaluable material forrethinking our surroundings in the context of the Epi-phylo-genetic Turn developedin his theory of anthropotechnical evolution. In addition to primary memory (i.e. geneticinformation expressed in DNA) and secondary memory (acquired epigenetically througha complex nervous system), there is tertiary memory stored in the form of ‘technics’,such as film and architecture, guiding evolutionary processesepi-phylo-genetically. The webinar willexplorethe ways in which architecture and film contribute to, and are affected by,subjectivation processes: the co-constitution of techno- and (neg)anthropo-genesis.As Gökhan Kodalak and Sanford Kwinter recently put it, our taskis to reverse engineer the subject in order to discover the relations that itenfolds. Separating the‘cultural’ from the ‘natural’ environment – as if there were a world of ideal and aworld of material products – is erroneous. There is only oneworld. In DonnaHaraway’s terms, ‘nature-cultures’ emerge sympoetically in areciprocally-constitutive manner where nothing makes itself. Rather, theheterogeneous ensembles emerge as a result of dynamically sustainedmaterial-discursive processes. It is such negentropic work that engenders path-dependentbecomings within the constructed and constructing surroundings.

The webinar is devoted the constitutive dynamics of subjectivation andits material conditions, a.k.a. existential niches. Only recently have biologists consideredthe effect of niche constructionon the inheritance system. An organism does not only passively submit to thepressures of a pre-existing environment, it also actively constructs its niche.It is thus high time to complement the Darwinian principle of natural selectionwith the Neo-Lamarckian principle of auto-affection. Stiegler’s work demonstrates how technicalevolution entails an ‘externalisation’ of memory, wherein past experiences anddifferentiation processes are retained and successively accumulated within thevery organisation of material environments. In other words, from cave paintingsto books to cinema and architecture, technical tools and ensembles getorganised exo-somatically. Architecture and film, in this expanded sense, areto be recast as the ‘ex-organised’technics dealing with constructing/constructed niches and concomitant forms oflife and social production.

Practical Info

The webinar will take form of a round table based onparticipants’ submissions. The submissions are purely optional and need to containthe following:

a) Name;

b) Affiliation;

c) Bioblurb (50 words);

d) Title;

e) Question/Statement (maximum 100 words);

f) Image (JPG 150 dpi).

The participants are kindly requested to submit theircontributions to the organiser before October 28th 2020.

For correspondence please contact Andrej Radman at a.radman@tudelft.nl