Design, fiction, and speculative philosophy for a planet in crisis

In cooperation with KNAW

11sep2019 20:00 - 21:30


We are currently living through the earth’s sixth mass extinction. We need to open up new vistas for living and dwelling on a planet in crisis. This event will reflect on ways in which artists and designers can create and experiment with much needed fresh frameworks. With: Adam Nocek, Betti Marenko, and Patricia Pisters.

“But in the real world it is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true”. In 1929 philosopher and scientist Alfred North Whitehead uttered these words in his seminal lecture, published as ‘Process and Reality’. Fast-forward nine decades and Whitehead’s postulate is still accurate as regards our treatment of and attitudes towards the earth. Our planet’s crisis is in no small part due to the West’s stubborn commitment to a regime of scientific truth and mastery that disavows modes of knowing that do not conform to its own.

In his lecture ‘Designs for Real Worlds. Speculative practices and decolonial propositions’ Adam Nocek reframes Whitehead’s conception of the speculative in terms of the autonomous and ontological design practices already underway in much of the Global South (especially in Latin America). Betti Marenko then continues with ‘The Power of Maybes. FutureCrafting, or how to divine futures by design’ in which she looks at the digital uncertainty inherent in current technological apparatuses where machine learning and predictive algorithms operate in increasingly autonomous ways, becoming unknowable even to their programmers. The lectures are followed by a discussion with the audience moderated by Patricia Pisters.

About the speakers

Adam Nocek is Assistant Professor in the Philosophy of Technology and Science and Technology Studies in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) and director of ASU's Center for Philosophical Technologies (CPT). He is a founding member of the art and design collective NON+ based in Amsterdam. Nocek is a Visiting Researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and is the 2019 Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) Visiting Professor.

Betti Marenko is Reader in Design and Techno-Digital Futures, University of the Arts London (UAL), as well as Contextual Studies Leader for Product Design, Central Saint Martins (UAL). She is Visiting Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Patricia Pisters is Professor in Film and Media Culture at the Department of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam. She is currently senior fellow at Cinepoetics, Centre for Advanced Film Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. 


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