Political Technologies in Crisis: Spring/Summer 2017 Seminars
Sam Samiee, Why So Serious? Or Gutten Morgen Anslem!, detail, Acrylic on canvas, 260cmx300cm 2014.
Sam Samiee, Why So Serious? Or Gutten Morgen Anslem!, detail, Acrylic on canvas, 260cmx300cm 2014.

We are very pleased to announce our spring/summer 2017 lineup of seminars, beginning Monday, January 23 with Paul Feigelfeld’s seminar on the infrastructural intelligence. The seminar includes a timely cryptology workshop, engaging PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), Tor (Anonymity Network), encrypted messaging, and Tails Linux, amongst other systems.

In February, VNS Matrix co-founder Virginia Barratt and Laboria Cuboniks member Petra lo Kendall will co-teach “The Future is Unmanned: Technologies for Corrupt Feminisms.” The class will feature an array of guests including Donna Haraway, Sandy Stone, and several others concerned with the relationship between technocultures, technofutures, and technosubjectivities.

Additionally, Stefan Heidenreich’s seminar engages ‘money’ as the central medium of an economy, whose job is the allocation of tasks and distribution of goods and services, and prefigures a post-monetary economic system which would replace money and currency altogether.

Then in March, Reza Negarestani leads a seminar on Plato, “A Reality Game in Four Levels,” informed by analytic and continental readings as well as the Tübingen school of Platonic studies that seeks to integrate the formal and dramatic characteristics of the dialogues into full-fledged cosmological thought.

On our seminar age, you will find out more information about these seminars as well as the ones we have planned by John Bova, Levi Bryant, Victoria Ivanova, Katerina Kolozova, David Löffler, Anne-Françoise Schmid & Alice Rekab, and Mohammad Salemy & Ashkan Sepahvand. We will be announcing more seminars on our website into the summer by other scholars and thinkers. Please visit our website and Facebook page regularly for these and other events.

The New Centre for Research & Practice enjoyed an outstanding 2016, which included our collaboration with the 11th Gwangju Biennale: The Eighth Climate,
The New Centre’s #AGI Summer Residency partnerships with The New School for Social Research & Pratt Institute, nineteen seminars, and several roundtables and reading groups including those on Antoine Bousquet, Andrew McLuhan, Isabelle Stengers, Bernard Stiegler. We published For Machine Use Only (&&& Publishing 2016, edited by Mohammad Salemy), collaborated on the publication of Reinventing Horizons with Tranzit Display in Prague, and continued the development of our journal &&&. In addition, we successfully placed several of our certificate students into a range of graduate degree programs, while welcoming a number of new certificate students into our institution. To view the complete list of our activities in 2016, please visit thenewcentre.org.

Join us today by becoming a Member, a Friend, or enrolling in one of our Certificate Programs. To apply in our rolling Certificate Programs please complete this form. All of our seminars are conducted online via Google+ Hangouts, enabling participants to engage with instructors from anywhere in the world. Our Certificate Students automatically become Members of The New Centre and thus receive all members’ benefits, including access to our twelve Re:search Groups, our Writing Centre, our Member Symposia, Reading Groups, and Roundtables, as well as opportunities to publish their research on the &&& platform.

If you prefer to become involved with The New Centre prior to applying for a Certificate Program, we recommend becoming a Member or Friend, or enrolling in any of our available seminars. Among other services, becoming a Member provides you access to our entire 2014–17 video archive, while Friends of The New Centre gain permanent access to all of our member services.


To view the complete list of our activities, please visit List of New Centre Activities.

One of The New Centre for Research & Practice’s central mandates has been to provide new possibilities for our members and students, especially those who practice their work outside or in-between existing institutional frameworks. We help those transitioning between one degree and another, or between one institution and another, to expand their research networks beyond what can be offered by any single institution. Our members and certificate students enjoy access to face-to-face, real-time engagements with emerging thinkers and scholars, collaborating with them and with each other while producing new forms of knowledge.

To apply in our rolling Certificate Programs please visit our Programs section. All of our seminars are conducted online via Google+ Hangouts, enabling participants to engage from anywhere in the world. Our Certificate Students automatically become Members of The New Centre and thus receive all members’ benefits, including access to our twelve Re:search Groups, our Writing Centre, our Member Symposia, reading groups, and roundtable events, as well as opportunities to publish their research on our &&& platform.

If you prefer to become involved with The New Centre prior to applying for a Certificate Program, we recommend becoming a Friend or Member, or enrolling in any of our available seminars. Among other services, becoming a Member provides you access to our entire 2014–16 video archives, while Friends gain lifetime access to all of our member services.



Mission Statement

The New Centre for Research & Practice is conceived upon the idea that the space of knowledge is a laboratory for navigating the links between thought and action. Our pedagogical approach bootstraps the conventional role of the Arts and Sciences to construct new forms of research and practice alongside, within, and between the existing disciplines and technologies. The New Centre’s aim is a constructivist one, to assemble an environment, both virtual and actual, that inspires our members to invent alternate understandings that can be put into collective practice.

List of New Centre Activities

/// 2016

The New Centre for Research & Practice enjoyed a productive Spring/Summer 2016, which included participating in the Reinventing Horizons conference / book launch featuring Jason Adams, Katerina Kolozova, Patricia Reed, Mohammad Salemy, Nick Srnicek, and Tony Yanick, as well as organizing the Artificial Cinema exhibition in Prague; the screening of our certificate student Manuel Correa’s #artoffline documentary at the 2016 Rotterdam International Film Festival, the appearence of Victoria Ivanova, Matteo Pasquinelli, and Mohammad Salemy at Studium Generale 2016, Gerrit Rietveld Academie’s annual transdisciplinary theory program in Amsterdam; partnering with the 11th Gwangju Biennale 2016; organizing the #AGI Accelerate General Intellect conference featuring Amy Ireland, Nick Land, Reza Negerastani, Patricia Reed, and Peter Wolfendale and the Future of Mind panel at The New School for Social Research. Other New Centre events from Spring/Summer 2016 included informational sessions at Institute for New Connotative Action (INCA) in Seattle and Oregon Public House in Portland, online roundtables with Antoine Bousquet, Andrew McLuhan, Steven Shaviro, and Tiziana Terranova, as well as a reading group on the work of Isabelle Stengers. To view the complete list of our activities so far in 2016, please visit thenewcentre.org.

/// 2015

The New Centre for Research & Practice enjoyed a momentous 2015, which included a partnership with e-flux, three international conferences, twenty-two seminars, and twenty-three roundtables, reading groups, and emergency-response events. We also published our first e-book, and our organizers were interviewed for an edited collection, “Politics of Study”. In addition, we successfully placed several of our certificate students into a range of graduate degree programs, while welcoming a number of new certificate students into our program.

Over the course of Summer 2015, we partnered with e-flux to produce Superconversations, a series of responses to Supercommunity, as part of the 56th Venice Biennale. In July, we partnered with Université de Technologie de Graz & IZK Institute for Contemporary Art for the Knowledge Forms, Forming Knowledge conference, a two day conference at Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien (watch). And in August, we partnered with Deakin University (an institutional member of The New Centre) to produce Alien Aesthetics, a two day conference in Melbourne, concerned with xeno-visions, -sounds, and -mediations (watch).

In Fall 2015, we continued this pattern initially in October, via our partnership with The Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute, through which we broadcast a month-long seminar by Fernando Zalamea in Brooklyn entitled, “Grothendieck and a Theory of Contemporary Transgression” (watch). Finally, in December 2015, we partnered with e-flux to produce Machines That Matter, a conference held at e-flux’s headquarters in Manhattan.

In addition, throughout the year, we collaborated or partnered with a variety of institutions, including Center for Transformative Media at Parsons: The New School for Design, Department of Cultural Studies at University of Minnesota, Graduate Media Department at University of Buffalo, Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Sociales (Bogota), Corporación Para el Desarrollo de la Educación y la Investigación Social (Bogota), FOAM Collective, Michigan Political Science Association, Newcastle University, Department of Philosophy at Aquinas College, Sydney School of Continental Philosophy, & Momenta Art.


Membership Overview


ACCELERATE ACADEMIA: As a member, you will become part of a research network through which to workshop ideas and develop practical knowledge in a manner that accelerates, intensifies and transversalizes existing academic frameworks. The New Centre is an expanding network of organizers, affiliates, members and friends from a vast array of fields and disciplines including digital pedagogy, computer programming and scholarship in the arts and sciences. We are coming together to assist those interested in seeking knowledge in arts, sciences and humanities. Our goal is to augment conventional research practices of reading and learning at the graduate level.

ECOLOGIZE KNOWLEDGE: As a member of The New Centre, you will gain access to connections, resources and services that ecologize what otherwise might remain isolated practices of knowledge production and distribution. The success of the membership drive will facilitate group research projects, the maintenance of affordable enrollment fees for graduate-level seminars, the offsetting of overall operating costs for the year, and the provision of more adequate payments to the instructors for their work. In addition, funds raised will be applied towards scholarships for those who deserve to study with us, but cannot afford our programs.

SHAPE THE FUTURE: As a member, you will ensure democratic control over The New Centre through voting participation in our annual general meetings, thereby assisting the Organizing Committee and the Board of Directors the future plans of the organization. Further, by becoming a Member or a Friend of The New Centre, you will directly contribute to the development and sustainability of the institution, while holding those of us involved with the day to day activities accountable for the quality of our work and the effectiveness of our actions.

Membership with The New Centre will engages you as a part of our mission to accelerate academia, ecologize knowledge and shape the future, both inside and outside the institution. Any additional funds raised beyond our initial goals will go towards recapacitating what The New Centre can do, including planning and holding an annual Summer Program, organizing symposia and conferences, launching a publishing platform and digital library, and organizing a working group to develop The New Centre’s website into an open-source and non-commercialized social media nexus.

The New Centre offers several levels of membership in addition to regular seminar enrollment, which together enable us to offer affordable graduate-level seminars, provide access to our archived seminar videos, plan and hold our summer school, organize symposia and conferences, facilitate group research projects, and enable members to distribute their materials on our mailing list, amongst other services. Aside from helping to support the operating costs of The New Centre, our paid memberships ensure democratic control over the institution by providing voting participation in our annual general meeting.


Seminar Enrollment

Seminar enrollment is available without prerequisites, and regardless of Membership, Friendship, or admittance into a New Centre Certificate Program. By being enrolled, you get a chance to closely work with your instructor and other enrolled students on the topic of the seminar. Enrollment will entitle you to access our video archive from the day you pay for the seminar until 8 weeks after the last seminar session. Enrolled students also get access to all the seminar material via Google Classroom. Credits and payments spent on all enrolled seminars can be rolled forward into a future certificate program application if they were taken within 12 months of the application being made.

Certificate Programs

The New Centre for Research & Practice is authorized as a Licensed Proprietary School (LPS) by the State of Michigan, USA, to provide graduate-level certificates of competency in a range of fields and disciplines. Our certificates are intended to complement, enhance, and intensify MA and PhD programs from existing accredited colleges and universities, as well as to recognize those enrolled in our seminars to broaden the scope of independent research and practice.

Presently, The New Centre offers certificate programs in Critical Philosophy, Curatorial Practice, Social & Political Thought and Transdisciplinary Research & Practice. The award of a graduate-level certificate from The New Centre requires the completion of twelve one-credit seminar modules. Once you are accepted as a certificate program student, any previously completed seminar module at The New Centre can be applied towards your certificate. Modules are transferable between programs to create a unique plan of study, to be approved by the Certificate Programmer. In addition, a program may require a project to be completed in order for a certificate to be awarded. The cost of each certificate programs is USD 2000.

Please contact info@thenewcentre.org if you would like to receive a copy of The New Centre's Student handbook.



To apply for our Graduate-level Certificate Programs, complete The New Centre's Application Form.

Art & Curatorial Practice

Programmer Mohammad Salemy

The New Centre’s Art & Curatorial Practice Program is one of the only international curricula responding to the challenges that cultural and economic globalization as well as planetary telecomputation have together created for the production and distribution of contemporary art and knowledge in the 21st century. The Program engages with the fields from a critical standpoint by encouraging students to question the institutional assumptions about the role of artists and curators with a focus on the epistemological and social ramifications of art making, exhibitions, their surrounding activities, and their political economy. Part historical, part conceptual, and part practical, the program encourages students to form their own critical approach by focusing on research topics and connecting specific materials from within the discourse of contemporary art to other fields of knowledge from the sciences and humanities. As part of its practicum, the program will include the publication of research and student-curated events and exhibitions. Rather than issuing stand alone certificates, The New Centre’s Art and Curatorial Practice complements existing, accredited MA/PhD programs at other higher educational institutions by introducing students to newer concepts and methodologies which have yet to be incorporated in art and curatorial curricula at accredited universities and colleges, thus preparing students for either entering these institutions or providing them additional knowledge and skills for professionally entering the field as artists or curators. Through their course of study, the students will meet and become part of the network of professional artists, critics, curators and thinkers who are currently involved in the fields of art and curatorial practice.

Critical Philosophy

Programmer Levi Bryant

The New Centre’s Critical Philosophy Program is devoted to developing philosophy adequate to the problems and questions posed by the 21st century. The rise of the Anthropocene, which threatens global catastrophe, developments in physics, neurology, and biology, transformations in global capitalism and the way in which the military, media, and economic systems are now intertwined and exceed the boundaries of nation-states have all generated new conceptual challenges for philosophy. These transformations have posed a set of questions about the nature of reality, knowledge, and ethics that cannot fully be addressed by the resources of traditional philosophy alone and require new philosophical concepts. Students in the Critical Philosophy Program will attend seminars in critical contemporary philosophy seldom taught in university graduate programs. In addition, students will take seminars devoted to the history of philosophy and how that history might be appropriated in terms of the present and future conditions. Above all, students will be encouraged to develop research projects of their own devoted to thinking ontology, epistemology, and ethics within the frame of the contemporary.

Media & Technology

Programmer Olivia Lucca Fraser

If, following a roughly dialectical bent, we take concepts to be what mediates and modulates our relation to the world -- the circuits of communication and control in which we find ourselves -- then 'media' and 'technology' are names for the concept's material existence. They are the forms of our efferent alienation from the world we inherit, both the paths of the world's past and future humanization, and the relentless volatilization of our present humanity. It is this material existence of the concept that our programme aims to investigate. Though the horizon of our research is certainly universal or global in its scope, our seminars will each be grounded in particular case studies of technological mediation, ranging from cryptocurrency to mathematical formalisms, pornography to AI, sound art to cyberfeminism. Neither purely reflective nor purely technical, the majority of our seminars will seek to combine theory and practice, many aiming to train the students not only to theorize about this or that techno-aesthetic assemblage, but to tinker with it, build it, exploit it, and adapt it for themselves. This may involve learning how to construct a diagonal proof in logic, programme a machine learning algorithm, or code digital soundscapes on the fly, to invoke just a few upcoming seminars.

Social & Political Thought

Programmer Jason Adams

The New Centre’s Social & Political Thought Program is designed to intensify students’ capacities for comprehending and disturbing power relations as they exist today, in the increasingly undemocratic, markedly unequal, globalized world of the early 21st century. The seminars proceed by way of juxtaposition, generating divergent readings of the classic texts of political theory through a historically-informed and future-oriented encounter with more recent social & political thinking. The Social & Political Thought Program is distinguished however, not only in its synthesis of genres, but also in its affirmation of practice: mobilizing both classic and contemporary political thinking to question dominant assumptions about contemporary events in all of their legal, rhetorical, technological, aesthetic, economic and spatio-temporal ramifications. Just as the old is brought into a nexus with the new, so too is theory brought together with practice. And while the conventional liberal and communitarian, radical and critical threads of social and political thought are engaged throughout the coursework, the program emphasizes breadth of understanding across tendencies, as much as depth of fluency in any one tendency.

Transdisciplinary Research & Practice

Programmer Tony Yanick

The New Centre’s Transdisciplinary Research & Practice Program aims to explore the interfaces between the arts, sciences, and vernacular knowledge by engaging with strategies that capture complexity, cultivate new ecologies of knowledge, and affect individual and collective transformations. This program offers theoretical and practical support to enhance and realize issue-based transdisciplinary projects unrestricted by the constraints of any one discipline. The program provides support and access to resources and community, offering seminars that cannot fit into a discipline-specific program, but are at once between, across, and beyond all disciplines. This program is ideal for those interested in research across specializations and professions; including graduate students designing theses and dissertations and undergraduates seeking to enhance their skills in research methods, qualitative research, interdisciplinary / multidisciplinary / transdisciplinary approaches from a range of perspectives, and arts-based or community-based researchers.

Spring 2017 Seminar Schedule

Archeology of Abstraction (Reconstructing Futures I)

Instructor: Davor Löffler
Program: Media & Technology
Credit(s): 1
Module: 1 of 2
Date: May 20, 27; June 3, 10
Time: Saturdays, 2:00pm - 4:30pm EST

Crows building a nest with hangers
Module I: Archeology of Abstraction

DESCRIPTION: This seminar is based on the materials from the upcoming publication, “Generative Realities: On the Temporality and Metaphysics of Technological Civilization”

Starting around 1880, with the fusion of industry, capital and science, the sphere of human domestication expanded into the realm of sub-mechanical, sub-corpuscular, sub-organic, sub-conscious, and sub-phenomenal processes. The interface to this realm of generative processes was “information”. Cast into cybernetics, it first allowed for the rendering of all kinds of dynamic relations as accessible units, while later in the form of algorithmization, it proliferated an entirely new continuum of objects, agencies and ontologies. Today, these developments are eroding modernity’s phenomena at all of its fronts – social, economical, political, scientific, industrial, cognitive, metaphysical, temporal, anthropological – thus heralding the beginning of a new civilizational stage, a fundamental shift in human-world-relations. But where does it lead? To answer this question this seminar will travel back in time to where it all began. Based upon the recently developed cognitive-archaeological “Tübingen Model of the Expansion of Cultural Capacities” we will examine stages in early cultural and cognitive evolution (3Ma – 25Ka) for developmental patterns and principles that might help us to understand the current transformation of the human structures by locating it within the progression of civilizational expansions. This formalization of the outside of cultural and social evolution will enable us to extrapolate forms of mind, society, temporality and metaphysics that we can expect to emerge both during and after our existence.


Session 1: The Search for the Second Sun

Meillassoux, Quentin: After Finitude. An Essay on the Necessity on Contingency. London/New York: Continuum 2008
___pp. 5-7, 9-18, 27

Luhmann, Niklas: Introduction to Systems Theory. Cambridge/Malden,MA: Polity Press 2013 ___pp. 63-71

Mühlmann, Heiner: Nature of Cultures. A Blueprint for a Theory of Cultural Genetics. Wien/New York: Springer 1996
___pp. 2-12

Ogburn, William F./Thomas, Dorothy: Are Inventions Inevitable? In: Political Science Quarterly, 1922, Vol. 37, No. 1, 1922, 83-98
___pp. 83-98 (especially the list of 148 multiple discoveries pp. 93-98)

Simonton, Dean Keith: Multiple Discovery and Invention: Zeitgeist, Genius, or Chance? In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1979, Vol. 37, No. 9, 1603-1616
___pp. 1603-1605

Tennie, Claudio/Call, Josep/Tomasello, Michael: Ratcheting up the Ratchet: On the Evolution of Cumulative Culture. In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Vol. 364, 2009, 2405- 2415
___pp. 2405, 2407-2409, 2411-2412

Session 2: Operational Chains, Depths of Time and the Evolution of the Mind: The Tübingen Model of the Expansion of Cultural Capacities

Guest: PD Dr. Miriam Noël Haidle, Research Center “Role of Culture in Early Expansions of Humans”, Institute of Prehistory, Early History and Medieval Archaeology, Tübingen/Germany

Haidle, Miriam N./Bolus, Michael/Collard, Mark/Conard, Nicholas J./Garofoli, Duilio/Lombard, Marlize/Nowell, April/Tennie, Claudio/Whiten, Andrew: The Nature of Culture: An Eight-Grade Model for the Evolution and Expansion of Cultural Capacities in Hominins and other Animals. In: Journal of Anthropological Sciences, Vol. 93, 2015, 43-70

Haidle, Miriam N.: How to think tools? A Comparison of Cognitive Aspects in Tool Behavior of Animals and during Human Evolution. In: Cognitive perspectives in tool behavior, Vol.1, 2012 http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/frontdoor.php?source_opus=6014
___pp. 196-198 (only cognigrams of animal tool use)

Lombard, Marlize/Haidle, Miriam N.: Thinking a Bow-and-arrow Set: Cognitive Implications of Middle Stone Age Bow and Stone-tipped Arrow Technology. In: Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2012, 237–264
___pp. 244-258 (only cognigrams and tables of bow-and-arrow-assembly)

Session 3: Formalizing Technogenesis / Noogenesis

Suddendorf, Thomas: The Gap. The Science of What Separates Us from other Animals. New York: Basic Books 2013
___pp. 91-111, 216 (Chap. “Time Travelers”)

Leroi-Gourhan, André: Gesture and Speech. Cambridge,MA/London: MIT Press 1993 ___pp. 237-255 (Chap. “Gesture and Program”)

Session 4: Probing the Threshold to Civilization: Coupled Minds, Excentric Insulations, Aesthetical Membranes

Tomasello, Michael: A Natural History of Human Thinking. Cambridge,MA/London: Harvard University Press 2014
___pp. 120-123, 133-141 (table on p. 140)

Mühlmann, Heiner: Nature of Cultures. A Blueprint for a Theory of Cultural Genetics. Wien/New York: Springer 1996
___pp. 11-24, 29-40

Sloterdijk, Peter: Foams. Spheres Volume III: Plural Spherology. Cambridge,MA/London: MIT Press 2016
___pp. 362-500 (Chap. “Anthropogenic Islands”)
___For a summary of this chapter see: Rouanet Freitag, Bárbara: The Trilogy Spheres of Peter Sloterdijk. In: IOP Journal, Vol. 21, 2011, pp. 73-84, pp. 79-83)

Donald, Merlin: The Exographic Revolution: Neuropsychological Sequelae. In: Malafouris, Lambros/Renfrew, Colin (Ed.): The Cognitive Life of Things. Recasting the Boundaries of the Mind. Cambridge/Oxford: Oxbow Books 2010, 71-79

Beyond Price & Profit:
Art, Finance & the Question of Value

Instructor: Victoria Ivanova
Program: Art & Curatorial Practice
Credit(s): 1
Module: 1
Date: March 22, 29, April 12, 26
Time: Wednesday, 3:30pm - 6:00pm EST

Damien Hirst, For the Love of God, 2007
How can the art sphere function as an experimental ground for producing and circulating financial logics that deviate from those of financial capitalism? This seminar explores different theories of financialisation and how these may be applied in understanding the relationship between contemporary art and finance. Particular attention will be given to socio-cultural analyses of finance and the possibilities that these may open up for art as a platform for speculative modulation. Apart from textual references, the seminar will be based around a series of case-studies from the art field, both historical and current, while each session will involve a guest-speaker whose practice or current project is targeting different aspects of art’s potential as a vehicle for socially valuable financial paradigms.

22 March 2017 — Session 1

Deloitte and ArtTactic (2016) Art and Finance Report.

Ivanova, V (2016) Contemporary art and financialisation: two approaches. In: Finance and Society, 2(2): 127-37.

Knorr Cetina, K. and Preda, A. (2012) Introduction. In: Knorr Cetina, K. and Preda, A. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Finance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1-12.

29 March 2017 — Session 2
with special guests, João Enxuto and Erica Love

Gupta, V. (2015) Programmable blockchains in context: Ethereum’s future.

Projansky, B. and Siegelaub, S. (1971) The artist’s reserved rights transfer and sale agreement.

12 April 2017 — Session 3
with special guest, Alexandra Pirici

Appadurai, A. (1988) Introduction: commodities and the politics of value. In: Appadurai, A. (ed.) The Social Life of Things. Commodities in Cultural Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Martin, R. (2012) A precarious dance, a derivative sociality. In: The Drama Review, 56(4): 64-79.

26 April 2017 — Session 4
with special guest, Emily Rosamond

Dowling, E., Harvie, D. (2014) Harnessing the social: state, crisis and (big) society. In: Sociology, 48(5): 869-886.

Rosamond, E. (2016) Shared stakes, distributed investment: socially engaged art and the financialisation of social impact. In: Finance and Society, 2(2): 111-126.

Image: Damien Hirst, For the Love of God, 2007

Difference & Repetition for the 21st Century

Instructor: Levi Bryant
Program: Critical Philosophy
Credit(s): 2
Module: 1 & 2
Date: February 16, 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6
Time: Thursdays, 6:30pm - 9:00pm EST

Abraham Cruzvillegas, Blind Self-Portrait, Tratado de Libre Comer, 2009
DESCRIPTION:Published nearly fifty years ago in the tumultuous year of 1968, Difference and Repetition is increasingly recognized as Deleuze's primary magnum opus. This seminar will be devoted to a close and careful reading of this work, paying particular attention to his critique of representation, as well as the prevailing ontologies premised on identity, his alternate ontology of difference, his alternate account of time, and his alternate account of individuation. And yet, unlike many seminars on this book which might simply take a historicist approach, the beginning assumption in this case will be that the real question for today is how this text speaks to us in the present, and how it might begin to speak to us differently, in the unfolding future. While every text always already exceeds its historical horizon, the form and content constitutive of Difference & Repetition in particular, demands a fundamentally different approach: that it itself be read differentially.

REQUIREMENTS: Participants in the seminar will be required to present one day of assigned course readings and write a 10 - 20 page essay over Difference and Repetition at the end of the semester.

Image: Abraham Cruzvillegas, Blind Self-Portrait, Tratado de Libre Comer, 2009

Infrastructural Intelligence:
Cryptology & the History of Technology

Instructor: Paul Feigelfeld
Program: Media & Technology
Guest(s): TBA
Credit(s): 2
Module: 1 & 2
Date: February 14, 21, 28, March 7, 14, 21, 27, April 4
Time: Tuesday, 1:00pm – 3:30pm EST

Enigma Machine Cipher
DESCRIPTION:This course explores the infrastructuralization of artificial intelligence techniques including deep learning and convolutional neural networks along with the autonomization of capitalist processes in tools and entities like blockchain, DAO and Ethereum. By approaching them in the context of their cultural, philosophical, political, social, economic, and ecologic entanglements, students will gain a much more critical perception of the potential implications they carry than they might otherwise encounter. Of course, technological infrastructures have long become ecological both in terms of material needs requiring a restructuring of old and establishment of new infrastructures (such as rare earth mineral mining, transport, recycling, waste, etc.), and through which the Anthropocene has long become the Technocene. The ubiquity and behavior of these infrastructures both in IoT objects, as well as distributed systems, has been modeled after the techno-ecologic thought of the Baroque and Cybernetics and are thus in critical need of analysis. From institutional critique to infrastructural critique, the course develops countertactics in theory and practice, while closing with a hands-on cryptology workshop (PGP, TOR, encrypted messaging, introduction to Tails Linux etc.).

REQUIREMENTS: The seminar will be composed of eight two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. During this period material blogged the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Based upon the set readings, online news and commentary, and ongoing class discussion, students will be expected to contribute ~400 words of content to the seminar blog on relevant topics. (This will additionally be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion). The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word extended white paper on a research topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: Enigma Cipher machine Rotor, circa 1940s

Integrative Objects II:
Art Practice & Philo-Fiction under Collective Intimacy

Instructors: Anne-Françoise Schmid & Alice Lucy Rekab
Program: Critical Philosophy
Credit(s): 1
Module: 1
Date: March 15, 29, April 5, 6
Time: 1:00 - 3:00pm EST

Macoto Murayama: growth and form
DESCRIPTION:In this course we will continue the development of the concept of the integrative object. Implementing it in art and in philosophy under the condition of collective Intimacy, as began in the first New Centre seminar. This condition brings the gestures and styles of invention present within these two fields into relationship through practice. Within this course it is our desire to decompose the gesture of the philosopher, calling for a point of exteriority in the form an artistic creation, however this cannot be interpreted without the collective intimacy of all the ingredients of both philosophy and art. To understand the creative act of the artist we need collective intimacy without concept, but this is not possible without a point of exteriority of a common life or common a sense. The link between a work of art and an opus of philosophy is an asymmetrical connection. Schmid and Rekab therefore, will explore this connection through a series of 4 seminar meetings consisting of taught lecture, reading, discussion and practical work.

REQUIREMENTS: The seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. During this period material blogged the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Based upon the set readings, online news and commentary, and ongoing class discussion, students will be expected to contribute ~400 words of content to the seminar blog on relevant topics. (This will additionally be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion). The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word extended white paper on a research topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: Macoto Murayama: growth and form, 2016.

Mathematics of Inhuman Existentialism

Instructor: John Bova
Program: Critical Philosophy
Credit(s): 1
Module: 1
Date: July 5, 12, 19, 26
Time: 5:00 - 7:30pm EST

Phases of the Moon, NASA Archives, 1964
DESCRIPTION:Is it possible for philosophy to occur in and through the tension between two apparently incompatible demands: for thinking to be answerable to a mathematical ontology no longer conflated with logicist regimentation, and for it to participate in an intimacy with existence no longer confined to the categories of the human? That is, is a contemporary mathematical existentialism—as Lucca Fraser provocatively baptized it—possible? Or, to ask the question yet a third way, what can being-in-itself and being-for-itself mean for us, now, at the null point of inflection which is our contemporary technological and political situation? In order to pursue this question, we will engage in a joint reconceptualization of two all-too-famous works, aiming both at making them speak to the projects of those coming to them for the first time, and at a strict defamiliarization for those who have previously taken their measure in the context of received interpretations.
1) Mostly ignored by academic philosophers and sloppily embraced at the level of a cultural phenomenon, Jean-Paul Sartre's Being and Nothingness has long been a source of inspiration and frustration to its few close readers. In our consideration, there will be no attributions of inauthenticity to food-service workers, no holes and slime, and Pierre, thankfully, will have left the building to a second degree. Instead, we will work at explicating the difficult and incompletely figured logic of reflexivity and detotalized-totality which underlies the book's most stunning intuitions. A guiding goal of the seminar is to arrive at a new interpretation of what can be called “Sartre's theorem”, the central nerve of Being and Nothingness: that being-in-itself-for-itself, the structural key to the interpretation of existence as the value which haunts it, is a contradiction. This theorem has never been explicated in a fully satisfactory way, in large part because the phenomenological tools available in Being and Nothingness are sufficient at most for suggesting and announcing it, but not for explaining its necessity or for understanding the possibility-space in which it is located and whose structure it expresses. Thus, if Sartre's theorem is to become useful for us again in the context of contemporary philosophy, it has to be liberated from the moribund phenomenological tradition which forms its ostensible methodological basis. 2) Enter Badiou's generation-defining Being and Event, which, as we propose to read it, enacts the first successful transplantation of existential logic into the alien soil of mathematics. The joint reading rebounds on both texts. We shall read Being and Event as a realization of a strikingly Sartrean program on vastly improved ontological hardware, while at the same time reading Sartre as a thinker of the event (one of the most crucial terms in Being and Nothingness), of the necessity of contingency (an explicit Sartrean thesis which has been revived in one way by Meillassoux—we shall explore others), etc.
The significance of the breakthrough is undeniable, however Being and Event is only the beginning of the project of a mathematical existentialism, not its end. The point of the joint reading is rather to enable us, by focusing on this act of radical translation between existential philosophy and mathematical ontology, to think more deeply into the ground of the remarkable phenomenon explaining the success and even the necessity of the graft, along the vectors of our own projects. That ground, I propose, is metalogic-metamathematics, the concept of which will occupy our reflection as both content and method. The phenomenon is that of a striking emergence by which the classic themes of existential philosophy, indeed of philosophy itself, which are rightly and inevitably repressed at the outset of logico-mathematical investigation, return by their own necessity, in critically clarified but infinitely more powerful form, when we cross the threshold from first-order logic to metalogic-metamathematics. In order to continue the project of philosophy under contemporary conditions, we must cross this threshold.

Image: Phases of the moon, NASA Archives, 1964

Photography, Social Media & the Politics of Platform Homosexuality

Instructors: Mohammad Salemy & Ashkan Sepahvand
Program: Media & Technology
Credit(s): 1
Module: 1
Date: June 4, 11,18, 25
Time: 11am - 1:30pm EST

Berghenk Experience, Installation, Rens Mors, 2016
DESCRIPTION:“Yes, we copy normal relations, we either occupy the place of the subject or that of the object, but we copy them in any case. Today's homosexual does not embody polymorphic desire: he moves univocally beneath an equivocal mask. His sexual objects have already been chosen by social or political machination, and they are always the same. If, to boot, consciousness gets involved in political struggle, then the heterosexual and exogamic tendencies of today's homosexuality will become a caricature, and we will see more and more cases where a dick can only make love to a head and a head to a dick.” – Guy Hocquenghem (1973)
What happens to male homosexuality in the age of cybernetics and social media? From the heydays of newsgroups of the early internet to the dating sites of the 1990s, gay men have been quick to utilize the spatial possibilities of the cyberworld to construct new forms of “being social in the world” which often both contradicts and compliments their physical existence. With an eye on this history, this seminar explores how digital photography, mobile computing and social media have together transformed the practice and performance of homosexuality on the global stage. Drawing from the fields of anthropology, philosophy, queer studies & art, the seminar speculates not only on the future of male homosexuality but also how, as always, transformations of the category of game ay will have consequences for all other forms of sexuality.

Image: Berghenk Experience, Installation, Rens Mors, 2016

Plato, a Reality Game in Four Levels

Instructor: Reza Negarestani
Program: Critical Philosophy
Credit(s): 2
Module: 2
Date: Sundays: May 28; June 4, 11, 18, 25; July 2, 9, 16
Time: 10:30am - 1:00pm EST

Tiepolo Ceiling Lamp
In a time when proclaiming oneself as a philosopher or worse as a Platonist is an open invitation to the public charge of elitism, idealism, logocentrism, patriarchy and even fascism, reengaging the work of Plato seems to be more of a tasteless attempt to undo all the great achievements of the late twentieth century theoretical thought and its fight against philosophical haughtiness and human exceptionalism than an ill-advised academic career choice. But provocation – objective, disinterested, formal and persistent – is the job of philosophy, that is the courage of truth. Taking its cue from Rosemary Desjardins's reconstruction of Plato’s rational enterprise and Alain Badiou’s Plato’s Republic, this course aims to elaborate and rekindle the nature of this philosophical provocation by presenting Plato as an archetype Promethean thinker. Our reading methodology will be informed by analytic and continental readings of Plato as well as the Tübingen school of Platonic studies that seeks to integrate the formal and dramatic aspects of the dialogues into a recipe for a fully-fledged cosmological thought.

Image: Tiepolo Ceiling Lamp, Manuel Vivian, 2014

Post-Philosophy II:
Marx, Laruelle, Irigaray and Braidotti

Instructor: Katerina Kolozova
Program: Critical Philosophy
Credit(s): 1
Module: 2 of 2
Date: Saturdays: May 13, 20; June 3, 10
Time: 11:00am - 1:30pm EST

Agnes Martin, Falling Blue, 1963
Humanity is a theologico-philosophical creation and it is – as a consequence – always naturalized. Thanks to philosophy and theology, nature is always humanized. As long as the technological component of the radical dyad called the cyborg can be humanized or transformed into pure transcendence constituting the only accessible reality (= pure rationality), it is neither monstrous nor inhuman. It is not posthuman either. It is profoundly humanist. As a consequence, it will also be naturalized. The rationalist mind determined by its anthropocentrism in the last instance will unavoidably mimic and reproduce nature. Therefore, in spite of the commitment to hybridization it will never be inhuman or monstrous. The technological extension and the biological body are both alien to subjectivity which is essentially and unavoidably a philosophical creation, they both assume the position of the real vis-à-vis the subject. Subjectivity, on the other hand, is always already philosophical. It is nothing but the automaton of signification which re-presents the human or constitutes it as representation. What makes in (non-)human is precisely the subject’s failure to fully represent. Technology precedes subjectivity – just as the body does – and it cannot, therefore, have an ontological status – it is pre-philosophical. It precedes it as téchne (τέχνη) precedes philosophia (φιλοσοφία). It is the real vis-à-vis the subject of language. The hybridization of the two constitutes a category of society or the “species being” of humanity. Perfecting the imperfect nature – because “irrational” – cannot be its purpose since the idea that nature contains meaning or sense, i.e., a certain causa finalis, is theological-philosophical. In order for something to be susceptible to perfecting, it should contain the tendency to be perfect. Minimally, it should be grounded in the possibility to constitute a meaning, a purpose. It should contain a telos, i.e., it should be a theological category. Marxist and post-philosophical investigation of the hybridity at issue does away with philosophy’s self-sufficiency and resorts to materialist argumentation making use of philosophical material in a scientific manner. The latter refers to the position with regard to the instance of the real rather than to mimicking mannerism. There will be a remainder in this process that will be called metaphysical and our claim to science in post-philosophical terms will be concerned with accounting for such metaphysics. In this course we shall explore the question of whether and to what extent we can speak of materialist, feminist and Marxist metaphysics without philosophy. In our investigations we shall resort to Karl Marx, François Laruelle, Luce Irigaray and Rosi Braidotti.

Image: Agnes Martin, Falling Blue, 1963

Project for a Post-Monetary Economy

Instructor: Stefan Heidenreich
Program: Social & Political Thought
Credit(s): 1
Module: 1 of 2
Date: Mondays: May 22, 29, June 26, July 3
Time: 3:00 – 5:30pm EST

Escalator Collage from wallup.net, 2016
DESCRIPTION:The purpose of an economy is to distribute goods and to allocate tasks. Matching-algorithms and artificial intelligence could devise better procedures for distributing goods and tasks, leading to a post-monetary economy. For now, money will still govern all economic transactions, but the monetary regime may only be a transitory phase. From the viewpoint of media history, there is strong evidence that points its demise.As David Graeber has recently shown, coins and currencies replaced earlier notation based methods of crediting. By compressing the data, money facilitated a stunning growth in quantity of trade, far beyond the capacity and the extension of then existing notation systems. With data systems that can track and compute all transactions, we can start to design non-monetary modes of organizing distribution and allocation. The technical requirements have existed for nearly a decade. Methods governed by algorithms or artificial intelligence can theoretically allow for more efficient, just, and productive forms of economy exchange. To be clear: the concept of the post-monetary is not about substituting money with digital currencies like bitcoin. The aim is to replace money altogether, with all its inconsistencies and drawbacks, with its psychologically disturbing need to assign quantifiable value to everything and its socially destabilizing inequalities. One of the revolutionary side effects of a post-monetary economy would be to limit huge accumulations of wealth.
The course consists of two modules, each of four weeks. It will take the format a research & development group meeting. In first part, I will present the initial proposal for a post-monetary economy as published in the book, “Forderungen” (German only, Merve: Berlin, 2015). The second part will contribute to an upcoming publication, “Money. Project for a Post-Monetary Economy”

REQUIREMENTS: Each module of the two-part seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. During this period material blogged the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Based upon the set readings, online news and commentary, and ongoing class discussion, students will be expected to contribute ~400 words of content to the seminar blog on relevant topics. (This will additionally be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion). The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word extended white paper on a research topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: Escalator Collage from wallup.net, 2016

The Concept of Acceleration:
The 21st Century Critique of Political Economy

Instructor: Nick Land
Program: Critical Philosophy
Credit(s): 2
Module: 2
Date: March 5, 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9, 16, 23
Time: Sundays, 10:00am - 12:30pm EST

Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2011
The objective of this two-module seminar is philosophical rigorization of the concept of “acceleration” as it is encountered in various species of contemporary thought. It is anticipated that such cultural tendencies will proliferate and intensify, although that is itself a self-reflexive characteristic of the social process which the seminar seeks to abstractly model. The first module provisionally, though not dogmatically, assumes a level of conceptual invariance across different species of accelerationism -- broadly coincident with the term 'acceleration' itself in its recent and often merely impressionistic philosophical usage. The second module will enter into a more active, technical, and critical mode, as it attempts to work with the concept of acceleration, investigating its capacity for further escalation. Reinforcement, intensification, or acceleration of acceleration, is the inevitable expectation. The entire content of the seminar is presented as a disputable and disputed contemporary controversy. The political temperature of the seminar environment will be dependent upon student demand, but the baseline will be absolute coldness.

Image: Roger Hiorns, Untitled, 2011

The Future Is Unmanned:
Technologies for Corrupt Feminisms

Instructors: Virginia Barratt & Petra Kendall
Program: Media & Technology
Guest(s): Linda Dement, Lucca Fraser, Amy Ireland, Rasheedah Phillips, Francesca da Rimini, Sandy Stone (+ guests TBD)
Credit(s): 1
Module: 1
Date: Sunday February 26, March 5, 12, 19
Time: 5 – 7:30pm EST


“...it was a hundred years before anything akin to Ada’s software would find the hardware on which to run...but technical developments are rarely simple matters of cause and effect” -Sadie Plant

DESCRIPTION: Instead of beginning, this seminar will submerge itself into the middle of a swamp of feminisms parthenogenetically spawned from the algo-digital mire. We will survey the strategic insurgencies and tactical affective gestures of technologized feminisms, analyse incompatibilities and system failures and play in the ludic space of anti-re/productive slimes with the aim of encouraging a proliferation of ever-new and divergent permutations of future-oriented feminisms at ease with computation. In a world of increasing global complexity and technological mediation, our understanding of gender, race, and other areas of subjectivity are being transformed at their core leading to profound cultural shifts that must be responded to and pushed in a progressive direction. In a retrochronic feedback loop we will look forward in order to look back, trans-generationally, to see how current and future technologized feminisms have created space for earlier progressive cyberfeminist concepts to become operational, and how these futures are sporulating ant-arboreally and creeping slime-wise. The increasing emergence of collaborative ventures like Laboria Cuboniks, Cybertwee, FemTechNet, Black Quantum Futurism, TransHackFeminist, GynePunk Collective, DeepLab and other collective cyber/feminist, hacktivist and futurist projects are demonstrative of the abiding importance and the tentactular reach of progressive techno feminisms across the membrane of sciences, technology and culture.

REQUIREMENTS & Details: The seminar--stretching across four two and a half hour sessions--will be structured as a collaborative reading and discussion group. sessions will navigate the feral domain of technologized feminisms with the aim of intensifying the strategic insurgencies of early cyberfeminists. A tentacular scattering across the membrane of feminisms. Each session will begin with an introduction to the set texts by the instructors, followed by prepared student presentations and class discussion. Session Preparation: Students are expected to do the required readings assigned for each week, along with participating in presentations and discussion both in session on Google Hangouts On Air and asynchronously on the discussion board provided by the seminar (Google Classroom). In addition, each student is expected to prepare a presentation related to one of the texts dealt
with in the course and lead a group discussion on this material. These will be assigned in the first session.

Image: Christina McPhee “Anemone-Antinomie” 2011, ink and gouache on hotpress paper, 54 x 44 inches / 137 x 113 cm

Past Seminars

#Accelerate I:
The Accelerationist Reader

Instructor: Mohammad Salemy & Jason Adams Guests: Diann Bauer, Benjamin Noys, Nick Srnicek, & Ross Wolfe Credit: Module: 1 of 2 Date & Time: September & October 2014

Integrative Objects:
The invention of Philo-Fiction

Instructor: Anne-Françoise Schmid Date & Time: Oct 5, 12, 19, 26, 2016 2:30-5:00pm

“This way of working leads us to consider the new objects of science no longer as complex, but as ‘integrative’. The complex object corresponds more or less to the stage of the open work, where the creation of a discipline of itself no longer allows us to apprehend the objects which it works with, but requires the interpretation of others. This state of affairs supposes the convergence of disciplinary perspectives upon partially-given objects—just as the Klavierstücke are always the work of Stockhausen, but only become audible through the intermediary of a performer who is not only implicitly the ‘translator’, but explicitly the ‘composer-translator’. The ‘new objects’ have very different characteristics. They superimpose fragments of knowledge according to a discipline+1. They also comprise the non-knowledge of each discipline in relation to these objects: disciplinary non-knowledge which, by iteration, allow us to reformulate in each discipline the knowledge that it masters and the non-knowledge that it constructs. The only unity these objects have, a partial and momentaneous unity, is that of the intentions of particular researchers, which never entirely encompass them as a whole. Ultimately these objects are no longer manipulable; they are not constructed in a phenomenological distance which separates the researcher from his or her object. They are radically non-synthesizable. Just as the concept of ‘uncertainty’ has passed from the margins of science into its heart, that of the non-synthesizable is beginning to afford a certain methodological access to created objects (GMOs, the product of nanotechnology, of synthetic biology, etc.) and objects of study (obesity, depression) which involve numerous disciplines and which do not converge. We need to invent scientific methods that will allow the construction of methods of invention within this non-synthesis.”

Fiction and philosophical invention are not the same. The first is an operator which permits passing from one real punctum to another, the second concerns philosophical knowledge and its structure. But is it possible, and now necessary in the new ways of philosophical writing, to associate the two. These new affinities are the theoretical and practical topics of this course.

As already suggested, these connections are new and not given and can be forged indirectly. The role of what Anne Francoise Schmid calls the Integrative Objects is to render them possible with entire new varieties of fiction, not only in the site of literature, science or art, but also in the tradition of philosophy. The unexpected associations these operations provide appear in a generic space, and need our labor for their articulation.

Philo-fiction is made possible by three conditions:

  • A point of exteriority –Integrative objects are not immediately visible, but absolutely necessary

  • Generic and Ordinary Human, Order and Resistance – Painting is not possible in an exclusively ordered space (see Maurice Matieu, the mathematician and painter), but creating new relations between philosophy and science requires an order. The philosophies which concern the “ordinary” are searching for the same gestures which connects science and philosophy. In return, Fiction enables the passage from order to resistance and to the shift in potentialities.

  • The Architecture of Knowledge versus the Architectonic –Architecture often comes first, with repetitious rhythms and rhetorical constructs (see Vitruvius against ancient and modern rhetoric). However, architectural operations are not sufficient for philosophical constructions which require a combination of both empirical-a priory and transcendental materials with a ratio of 2 to 3.

The seminar is both a review of existing literature regarding the connections between philosophy and fiction and a forum for generating new associations between the two realms. Throughout the seminar, students will work individually and collaboratively to work on three practical exercises:

  • Writing a philosophical fiction
  • Describing a philosophical invention
  • Inventing a link between one to another

The seminar is composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. Readings will be set for each week, and students will be expected to write 400 words on some aspect of the week’s topic in advance. During this period material written by the participants about the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Both the reading list and the student's responses will be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment on, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion. The final assessment will consist of an extended essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: Stock photography, Hour glass concept by Julieta Aranda


The Stack to Come:
Synthetic Sensing/ Intelligence (and The New Normal)

Instructor: Benjamin Bratton Module: 2 Date & Time: Tuesdays, September 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov 1, 8, 2016 4:00 – 6:30pm EST

This 8 session seminar will explore the design philosophy of systems at diverse scales: from planetary-scale computation (through Bratton’s recent book, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty) to molecular-scale sensing/intelligence (though his recent work and research with D:GP at University of California, San Diego).

Our condition is one that links seemingly distant and different things, one into another. Ecological flows become sites of intensive sensing, quantification and governance. Global computing infrastructure spurs platform economics and creates virtual geographies in its own image. Cities link into vast discontiguous urban networks as they also weave borders into enclaves or escape routes. Addressing systems locate billions of entities and events into unfamiliar maps. Interfaces present vibrant augmentations of reality, standing in for extended cognition. Users, both human and non-human, populate this tangled apparatus, an accidental megastructure that Bratton, calls The Stack.

The seminar will include a discussion of The Stack and several discussions, with invited guests, and demonstrations of recent design projects and technical research programs. Some presentations and discussions may also intersect with design development at D:GP at UCSD and Bratton’s seminar at SCI_Arc.

The course consists of two modules, each of four weeks. Each module consists of two lectures and two sessions of extensive discussions

Each module of the two-part seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. During this period material blogged the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Based upon the set readings, online news and commentary, and ongoing class discussion, students will be expected to contribute ~400 words of content to the seminar blog on relevant topics. (This will additionally be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion). The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word extended essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: James Clark, Mountain Lion Diorama, 1955, Hall of North American Mammals

Maths & Ideas:
From Antiquity to Renaissance

Instructor: Reza Negarestani Module: 2 Date & Time: October 29, Nov 5, 12, 19, 26, December 3,10,17, 2016 1:00-3:30pm EST

This course provides a basic introduction to mathematical thinking and elementary mathematical concepts. We will survey the history of mathematical discoveries from the antiquity to the end of Renaissance by analyzing case studies and situating them in the context of advances in philosophy, logic, physics and technology. For example, how developments in banking system, bookkeeping methods and maritime navigation advanced the theory of magnitudes which in turn contributed to developments in Kinematics and what is now called linear algebra. By looking at different case studies and examining thoughts and methods behind these discoveries, the course aims to portray mathematics in a different light as a field where intuitive thinking, formal rigor and creative experimentation come hand in hand.

The course consists of two modules, each of four weeks.

Each module of the two-part seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. During this period material blogged the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Based upon the set readings, online news and commentary, and ongoing class discussion, students will be expected to contribute ~400 words of content to the seminar blog on relevant topics. (This will additionally be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion). The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word extended essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: Rafael, School of Athens, 1509-1511

Path Dependency & Semiotic Fatality

Instructor: Nick Land Module: 2 Date & Time: October 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 26, December 3, 10, 2016 10:30am – 1:00pm EST

The format of the Qwerty keyboard illustrates the production of a destiny. Even in the epoch succeeding the mechanical type-writer, and its specific design imperatives, the legacy layout of alphanumeric keys settled during the 1890s has remained frozen into place without significant revision. In the language of complex systems analysis, this is a special example of path-dependency, or irreducible historicity, characterized by irreversibility. Qwerty persists – arguably, as a suboptimal keyboard solution – due to identifiable ratchet-effects. Based upon this privileged model, the historical, technological, and economic process of ‘lock in’ through positive feedback is called QWERTY-nomics (and here simply ‘Qwernomics’).

This two-module course will (1) re-visit the late 20th Century debate on qwernomics as an illustration of central themes in complexity theory (and the cybernetics of positive feedback), then (2) re-open the discussion of Qwerty as a techno-economic manifest destiny, and thus a gateway into the workings of modern historical time.

The first module will reconstruct the theory of path dependency, with Qwerty as its key. The second module will be primarily devoted to the exploration of Qwerty as a semiotic fatality. How can Qwerty be most rigorously apprehended as an abstract object, or number pattern? What are the exoteric and esoteric consequences of this convention having been robustly installed within global history?

The most fundamental pre-requisites for the course are a Qwerty keyboard and a basic competence at alphabetical ordering (or alphabetical ordinal arithmetic).

Preliminary Readings
‘Clio and the Economics of QWERTY’ (1985), Paul A David

‘The Fable of the Keys’ (1990), Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis

‘10,000 B.C.: The Geology of Morals (Who Does the Earth Think It is?)’, from A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
(Worth reading as a cryptic disquisition on the keyboard, among all its other merits.)

Image: Chinese typewriter,

Curatorial Practice II:
Curating the Future

Instructor: Mohammad Salemy Module: 2 of 3 Date & Time: Dec 20, & January 9, 16, 30 12:00 - 2:20

Deleuze & Guattari Beyond the State

Instructor: Levi Bryant Date & Time: Final Module: August 11th, 18th, 21st, & September 1st 6:30 - 9:00 PM EST

The hypothesis for this seminar is that the State is essentially a theological structure. In conceptualizing theology as a State structure we should take care to distinguish this structure from religion and the supernatural. Although many forms of religiosity are, in a sense, theological, the distinguishing mark of theology is not the presence of the supernatural or the divine, but rather that of the sovereign that overcodes all other elements of a particular social field. There are thus purely secular theologies as in, for instance, those forms of sociality organized around a sovereign leader, a master-signifier such as “the party”, or ontotheologies like Nietzsche's where all of being is subordinated to a key term such as the “will to power”.  

This structure is what Deleuze and Guattari refer to as “Oedipus” in Anti-Oedipus. Thus, Oedipus should be thought as much broader than a particular structure of the family or a psychoanalytic theory and instead as a theological form of thought that manifests itself in forms of labor, thought, science, metaphysics, politics, art, and, of course, religion. The thesis of this seminar is that it is essentially this theological structure of thought and practice that Deleuze and Guattari target in their politics.  Deleuze and Guattari strive to go beyond the State, and therefore propose an a-theism, an anarchism, or a form of thought, practice, and politics where the site of the overcoding sovereign is void or absent. Through a close reading of Nietzsche & Philosophy, Kafka: Towards a Minor Literature, and Anti-Oedipus, this seminar will explore the mechanisms by which the State is formed, how it functions, and why subjects become so ineluctably attached to these theological formations. Above all, we will look at the strategies of flight from the State and how these formations might be contested.

Participants in the seminar will be required to write one weekly post addressing some issue in that week’s reading or the prior week’s seminar discussion.  In addition, students will be required to respond to one other student's blog post each week. Blog posts and responses are to be posted every Saturday prior to the Tuesday seminar meeting to the classroom’s page .  At the end of the seminar, students will be required to write a 2000 – 3000 word essay dealing with some of seminar's themes or to produce a media or artistic artifact based on the issues discussed over the semester.  Students are free to propose other projects as well.  These projects will be due two weeks after the last seminar session.

Contemporary Readings of Hegel

Instructor: Ray Brassier Module: 2 Date & Time: Sunday October 9, 16, 23, 30 and November 6, 13, 20, 27 10:00am – 12:30pm EST

Hegel famously characterized philosophy as its own time comprehended in thought. Today, 185 years after Hegel’s death, several contemporary philosophers have enlisted Hegel in their attempts to comprehend our time in thought. What is striking however is that these philosophers invoke Hegel as the inspiration for radically antagonistic comprehensions of our present. Since the spontaneous comprehension of our present is as a time of catastrophic crisis it is unsurprising that the comprehension of crisis should be riven by a crisis of comprehension. The power of Hegel’s thought, and its contemporary salience, so this course will argue, is that crises of comprehension must yield comprehensions of crisis that obligate their critical overcoming.

The necessity at issue is rational and it is precisely the status of rational necessity that is at stake in these antagonistic reactivations of Hegel. The claim that Hegelian rationalism is committed to converting crises of comprehension into their comprehensive overcoming will be tested against those who emphasize the conciliatory, integrative aspect of Hegel’s rationalism at the expense of traumatic discontinuities, but also against the attempt to convert Hegel’s thought into a tragic meditation on the impossibility of rationally overcoming trauma. We will trace the schism between these integrative and disintegrative reactivations of Hegel back to conceptual issues about the status of rationality, metaphysics, critique, dialectics, and the absolute in Hegel’s thought. We will also try to understand how these conceptual antagonisms give rise to fundamental political antagonisms, not only between social democratic reformism and revolutionary communism, but also between communism as a possible object of affirmation and communism as an impossible lost object of mourning.

The course consists of two modules, each of four weeks.

Each module of the two-part seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. During this period material blogged the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Based upon the set readings, online news and commentary, and ongoing class discussion, students will be expected to contribute ~400 words of content to the seminar blog on relevant topics. (This will additionally be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion). The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word extended essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: Contemporary Hegel by Arkan Ehonis, 2013-2016

Complexity and Computation:
An Introduction to Measures, Paradigms and Programs

Instructor: Reza Negarestani Module: 1, 2, & 3 Date & Time: January 24 - April 10, 2016 11:00am - 1:30pm

This seminar is an introduction to two widely popular yet often culturally misconstrued topics, complexity and computation. Why are social sciences no longer tenable without an extensive restructuring around theoretical and applied dimensions of these two subjects? Why is in the absence of a systematic engagement with the all-encompassing consequences implied by the findings and advances in computation and complexity sciences, philosophy's regression to antediluvian platitudes inevitable? And at the same time, why should the vogue culture surrounding complexity and computation be approached with a critical vigilance and extreme caution? By presenting a survey of some of the key ideas in complexity sciences and computation which have direct implications for philosophical and political thinking, this seminar sets out to tackle and answer these questions.

Outer Edges:
21st Century Spatial Metapolitics

Instructor: Nick Land Module: 1 & 2 Date & Time: Sundays: June 12th, 19th, 26th, August 14th, 21st, 28th, & September 4th 10:30AM - 1:00PM EST

This Seminar is concerned primarily with the tradition and prospects of geopolitical anarchy snd its related literature, as exemplified by the principle of Dynamic Geography theorized by Patri Friedman. The other significant theorists of this tendency whose work will be reviewed and discussed are Robert Nozick, and Scott Alexander. The object of the seminar is the cultural current that counterposes dissociation in space to resolution in time. ‘Metapolitics’ – in this sense – designates the strategic perpetuation of ideological irresolution into (fractured) space. Geography is thus advanced as an alternative to dialectics.

Central preoccupations of the seminar will include: Universality, particularity, peculiarity, singularity; the ‘meta-’ function in philosophy; cognitive investment of space; exit and voice; nationality as an epochal construct; spatial subtexts in the conception of property; politics and diplomacy; boundaries, borders, and frontiers; seasteading and space colonization.

The course consists of two modules, each of four weeks. The first module will concentrate on political philosophy, the second will ramify the discussion into historical and science fictional / futurological territory.

Each module of the two-part seminar will be composed of four two and a half hour sessions, each of which will be conducted as an extended seminar. During this period material blogged the previous week will be discussed alongside the set material. Based upon the set readings, online news and commentary, and ongoing class discussion, students will be expected to contribute ~400 words of content to the seminar blog on relevant topics. (This will additionally be posted to the google classroom page for everyone to read and comment upon as they wish, providing some preliminary threads for the group discussion). The final assessment will consist of a 2500 word extended essay on a topic agreed upon with the instructor in advance.

Image: Mark Rothko, Red on Maroon Mural, Section 74, 1959

New Rationalism:
The Shape of Systems to Come | Reason & Time

Instructor: Reza Negerastani Module: 1&2 Date & Time: Sunday: January 11th, 18th, 25, February 1, 15, 21, 22- March 1st 11:30 AM - 2 PM EST

Emergency Government:
The Political Theory of Decisionism

Instructor: Jason Adams Guests: Bruce de'Medici, Jasbir Puar, & Jerome Roos Credit: Module: 1 of 1 Date & Time: October 2014

Curatorial Practice III:
Curating the Future Now!

Instructor: Mohammad Salemy Module: 3 of 3 Date & Time: Saturdays: February 3rd - March 5th 12:00 PM - 1:45 PM EST

The 20th century, particularly after the Second World War, witnessed the emergence of a new class of cultural producers named curators who worked with with artists, museum officials, and private collectors to organize art exhibitions. Through an ongoing process of self-specialization, curators began to play a decisive role not only in the production of art, but in shaping the function of the individual artist as well. Over the course of the last two decades, in turn, many universities have begun to offer curatorial studies programs, focusing on the development of the curator’s role in constructing associations between art, artists and audiences, as well as elaborating the significance of exhibitions as the key space for approaches to contemporary art and society.

This seminar is the final module of the Curatorial Practice series of seminars.* It will consist of 6 strictly hands-on workshops which continue the work of the seminar from the previous module. Participants will collaborate closely with the instructor in small groups, and at times will work on an individual basis, in order to utilize the cybernetic strategies developed in the previous module.** The seminar will assist in the further development, installation & presentation of the planned exhibition and conference in March at Prague’s TranzitDisplay. In addition, the seminar will focus and contribute to the production and publication of the events’ catalogue.

Building the Commune:
Insurgent Government, Communal State

Instructor: George Ciccariello-Maher Date & Time: Tuesdays: January 13th - February 3rd 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM EST

Philosophy and Mathematics I:
Consequences of Diagonalization

Instructor: John Bova Date & Time: Thursdays February 5th, 12th, 19th and Friday February 27th 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM EST

Reintroduction to Metaphysics I:
The Speculative Return

Instructor: Peter Wolfendale Module: 1 of 2 Date & Time: October 2014

The Future of Human Insecurity

Instructor: Nick Land Module: 1 & 2 Date & Time: Sundays: October 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th & November 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM EST

Global Politics of the Anthropocene

Instructor: Carlos Amador Date & Time: Mondays: Feb 9th - Mar 2nd 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM EST

Artifice & Alienation:
SF Cinema as Critical Political Thought

Instructor: Jason Adams Module: 1 of 1 Date & Time: Fridays: October 16, 23, 30, & November 6 6:00 - 8:30 PM EST

The Anarchy of Objects I:
Objects and Regimes of Attraction

Instructor: Levi Bryant Module: 1 of 2 Date & Time: October & November 2014

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The New Centre for Research & Practice
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Student Services: Tracy Susheski


Access Service Hours of Operation:
As of Monday, October 13th, 2014, The New Centre offers Access Service hours Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 8 PM EST. This is not only for Students, Members and Friends, but the general public as well. We will be providing registration and technical support, as well as providing details about our current and upcoming activities and how to become involved. Please add access@thenewcentre.org to your Google+ contact list and use it to either email us about issues / questions / concerns or to access us via video/audio Google hangouts, during these times.

***General information questions should continue to be sent to info@thenewcentre.org.

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