Aesthetics of the Generic & Non-Event

Instructor: Tom McGlynn Date & Time: Wednesdays: March 18 - April 8th 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM EST

“[T]he generic is capable of supporting a multiplicity of heterogeneous acts or predicates, among other things the thoughts of science and philosophy: the generic is endowed with extension but without totality or singularity, thus under-determined, non-absolute” –François Laruelle from The Generic Orientation of Non-Standard Aesthetics.

“The difference between the apparatus and the universe is, accordingly, that the apparatus is subject to human control. But it cannot stay this way forever: in the longer term, the autonomy of the apparatus must be liberated from human beings.” –Vilém Flusser from Into The Universe of Technical Images

Through an exploration of our contemporary relationship to the technical image, this seminar will develop an aesthetic theory of the generic in relation to the non-human form. Laruelle’s Non-Standard Aesthetics posits an under-determined collapsing of art and philosophy in order to elide categorical distinctions between the realms of vision and thought. Flusser frames the contemporary image within ostensibly non-human and technical means; they both propose a “new universal” criteria for judgments of taste and reason, but, crucially, without any reference to an idealized Absolute. In relation, the idea of the evental, or the crucial fulcrum of actualized being conceptualized most notably in Alain Badiou’s Being and Event, will be considered within the more radical context of Laruelle’s onto-vectoral immanence and Flusser’s technical framework.

What are the important implications of a generic aesthetics? How has a continuous and accelerated accommodation of image making/producing to technological means of production engendered an under-determined criterion of representational reason? Why does it seem that the present moment calls for a more active and pragmatic approach to aesthetics? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this seminar by guest artists and curators regarding the form and content of the generic.

Each seminar will consist of focused readings that will help to structure the group discussion, which will be presented both in a physical, institutional location in New York City and online, via Google+ Hangouts. Participants are expected to contribute to these sessions spontaneously and with four short response papers (500-750 words max), due on a weekly basis. In addition to the written component, participants will engage in a daily photographic process from which they will curate a select grouping of images demonstrative of an aesthetics of the generic, which will be developed both individually and within the group dynamic of the seminar.

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