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

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.

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