About Nick Srnicek

PhD student in International Relations. Co-editor of The Speculative Turn (Re.press, 2011) and co-author of Folk Politics (Zer0 Books, 2012).

Materialist Political Economy

Two new websites worth checking out. The first is Synthetic Edifice, which collects texts related to the accelerationist manifesto – including translations, interviews, and expansions of the ideas in the manifesto. The second site is Speculative Materialism, which looks to be a really interesting new blog which bills itself as a forum for the study of the materialism and ontology of finance.

Call for Participants: Joan of Art – Towards a Free Educational Platform

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Call for Participants: Joan of Art – Towards a Free Educational Platform in collaboration with Maldives Pavilion

The homogenization of learning and accreditation modes realized through the ‘Bologna Process’ accords with a marketisation of education across Western Europe which threatens the diversity of subjects on offer as vocational subjects and those which lean towards the project of rationality become prioritized in terms of funding and resources.

The Venice Process – started at Gervasuti Foundation, Venice, in collaboration with the national Pavilion of the Maldives during the 55th Venice Biennale – aims at offering an alternative education and accreditation system offered by a network of international art institutions.

Events – including performances, seminars and workshops – will span the Biennale, culminating in the writing of a free course in art and ecology – written in conjunction with the Maldives Pavilion – and the delivery of a conference on accreditation systems in November 2013.

We are issuing an international call out for academics, activists, artists and ecologists to participate in the writing of the free course on art and ecology. Participants will be asked to write a lecture or seminar (remotely) by the end of September 2013 and be available to present the course with other participants in Venice in late November.

Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education is an ongoing project started in residence with NOMAS foundation in Rome (2012). It aims at the creation of a free alternative education system delivered via a network of art institutions, globally.

Please send all inquires to conceptualmilitancy@gmail.com

CFP: Tuning Speculation

“Tuning Speculation” will be a two-day conference hosted by the Department of Art and Art History at York University in Toronto from 1-2 November 2013.

Over the past few years, the term “speculation” has become something of a buzzword and has acquired a rhetorical currency that, arguably, owes much of its value to the way Speculative Realism’s agenda to emancipate thinking from a sense of indenture to its own finitude crystallizes a hazy longing in the humanities to invest in something besides the constant deployment of textual strategies and ideology critique. Indeed, a conjectural spirit can be found haunting recent work in feminism, media and animal studies, as well as certain spheres of the social and ecological sciences. However, the force of this speculative thrust has been largely directed towards advancing metaphysical models that challenge the interpretive exception of human experience such that aesthetic figurations, perhaps because the concept of the aesthetic is entangled in the very definition of human being, have been largely excluded from the game. This is lamentable because the speculative venture of the humanities shares much in common with experimental art practices where “an act the outcome of which is unknown” is the not the goal but the very point of departure.

This two-day conference will therefore address the idea of a speculative aesthetics and propose ways of tuning speculation to its imaginative and experimental principle. While several approaches can address the exclusion of the aesthetic from expressions of the current speculative attitude, we propose to concentrate on the sonic arts as an initial point of entry for the reason that the sonic arts rely on a constitutive conceit and effective imaginary that claims access to a material reality which can only be conceived through a rhetoric of immersion and immediacy. In this respect, we suggest that sound art, in the widest sense of the term, pressures the conceptual disconnect between the essentially fantastic gesture that speculation is and the necessary veracity that any realism or materiality demands.

Abstracts (300-500 words) for 30-minute papers from scholars/writers/artists in any relevant field are welcome. We are especially interested in presentations that recognize the necessary intimacy between speculative theory and fiction (in the broadest sense). Please send abstracts, along with biographical details and contact information, to unsound@yorku.ca by 30 June 2013. Participants will be informed of acceptance by 8 July 2013.

More details can be found at www.asounder.org/tuningspeculation.

#Celerity: A Critique of the Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics

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McKenzie Wark (A Hacker Manifesto, and The Beach Beneath the Street) has been kind enough to send us his detailed response to the “#Accelerate” piece which has been circulating around the internet. Since the aim of that original piece was, in part, to polemically intervene in a number of contemporary debates in the UK and US left, it’s been encouraging to see both critical and supportive responses to the vision it set out. Wark’s response here forms a significant and comprehensive commentary on that vision.

It should be emphasised though that “#Accelerate” was written in manifesto form, which means it was presented with the rhetorical force of declarative certainty. Yet while we are confident in the broad strokes of this approach, the specifics are open to debate and we’ve only begun to think through the issues involved. The idea of the manifesto was, first, to initiate and generate conversations about the longest term viewpoint on left politics at a profound moment of crisis. It was meant as a provocation that would raise questions, broach some neglected topics, and put certain key themes on the table. The manifesto was, second, intended to put forth what we believe to be a unique set of possible answers – ones that will hopefully generate further research. Yet, we are not trying to create a new doctrine, nor to determine in advance what must be an experimental process involving the creativity of mass politics. The emphasis, both here and in the manifesto, is on experimentation beyond traditional leftist tactics, in order to discover what works in practice.

Wark’s response is available here. And you can find the original manifesto here. More texts are available at Synthetic Edifice.

Symposium: Schelling and Naturphilosophie

Pittsburgh Summer Symposium in Contemporary Philosophy

Duquesne University

Dept. of Philosophy

Pittsburgh, PA

Call for Applications

 We are pleased to announce the Pittsburgh Summer Symposium in Contemporary Philosophy, held at Duquesne University.  Details for the program are as follows:

Schelling and Naturphilosophie

August 5 – 9, 2013

(Optional Participants’ Conference, August 3-4)

“What then is that secret bond which couples our mind to Nature, or that hidden organ through which Nature speaks to our mind or our mind to Nature?” (Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature)

“The concept of nature does not entail that there should also be an intelligence that is aware of it. Nature, it seems, would exist, even if there were nothing that was aware of it. Hence the problem can also be formulated thus: how does intelligence come to be added to nature, or how does nature come to be presented?” (System of Transcendental Idealism)

Seminar Leaders:

Prof. Iain Hamilton Grant (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Prof. Jason Wirth (Seattle University)

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CFP – MACRO, Rome, April, 2013

Call for Papers – MACRO, Rome, April, 2013

Call for Papers
Joan of Art Towards a Free Education
Conference April 13th 2013
MACRO, Via Nizza, Rome, Italy

In collaboration with Nomas Foundation, European Alternatives

Hypothesis: Freedom in an unfree society can only be feigned. Such a feigning is by definition an artistic act. In a post-political age art bears a social responsibility.

The aim of the project ‘Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education System’ is to deliver a free education system, starting from the very basis of what education is: The sharing of information. In the first stages the very notion of education will be explored so that a new system can be delivered which recognises the value of knowledge sharing between peers and across disciplines. Finally a free accredited system will be set up in such a way that it can be delivered from anywhere in the world, growing and changing organically as it disperses via accessible communication platforms. In this way it is intended to break the monopoly that the State-Business model has over education.

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Abducting the Outside: Modernity and The Culture of Acceleration

REZA NEGARESTANI

Abducting the Outside: Modernity and The Culture of Acceleration

A lecture by Reza Negarestani focused on the possibility of a genuinely modern philosophy of the inhuman in the wake of a disenthralled system of knowledge as an accelerated navigation of concept-spaces. The lecture is drawn on the works of Giuseppe Longo, Lorenzo Magnani, Gilles Chatelet and Alain Berthoz in cognitive sciences, mathematics especially the recent geometrical turn and physics accompanied with introductory commentaries on the exciting works of Gabriel Catren on anarchic constructivism and Benedict Singleton on metis intelligence and a cunning understanding of reason.

Sunday, November 18th, 7:30PM
Miguel Abreu Gallery, 36 Orchard Street, New York

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REZA NEGARESTANI & FLORIAN HECKER

The Non-Trivial Goat and the Cliffs of the Universal:
A Topological Fable on Navigation and Synthesis

Date: Thursday, November 15th, 2012
Time: 7:30 PM

Location: Abrons’ Playhouse, 466 Grand Street, New York (at Pitt Street)

Chimeras are integrated bodies that synthesize incompatible modalities, surpassing their respective particularities without fusing them, finding a common ground, or reducing one to the other. Chimerization, a recent work by Florian Hecker, uses psychoacoustics to compose such creatures from readings of a libretto penned by philosopher and novelist, Reza Negarestani.

Expanding on this work, Hecker and Negarestani come together in a live experiment – less a collaboration between philosophy and sound than a synthesis of the two. In this abstract performance, recalling Artaud’s theatre of cruelty as much as Beckett’s minimalist narratives, the participating elements will be chimerized through their mutual immersion in the abyss of the universal, and thereby revealed, in turn, as nothing other than local guises of this abyssal continuum.

The performance opens (Part 1: Descent) with a theory-fiction-mathematics manifesto that introduces the dramatis personae and abruptly drops the goat of philosophy into the abyss. This prologue of a mangled philo-fiction or ‘philosophy on acid’ is followed (Part 2: Navigation) by a performative gluing of philosophy and sound in which the auditors become the goats, each completing the chimera according to their localization and navigation of the space. In the final movement (Part 3: Alienation) this personal experience of local synthesis is replaced by an estranging immersion into the impersonal experience of the global, synthetic environment as the intensifying, sonic chimerization moves beyond the sphere of the knowable.

An exercise in deregulation of the senses, this unique performance brings together two ambitious thinkers and practitioners in an experimental surgery that opens up their respective fields onto unexplored grounds.

Doors open at 7pm. Seating is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information please contact Sequence Press, located within:

Issue Project Room’s Littoral Series is made possible, in part, through generous support from The Casement Fund, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

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Miguel Abreu Gallery
36 Orchard Street (between Canal & Hester), New York, NY 10002
Tel 212.995.1774 • post@sequencepress.com

Navigating Neoliberalism: Political Aesthetics in an Age of Crisis

For those who are interested, here’s a copy of my talk I gave last weekend on the technological sublime, machine perception, and cybernetic communism. Held in the beautiful Treignac area at The Matter of Contradiction: Ungrounding the Object event, it was a lot of fun and filled with some fascinating discussions. It also marked the first time all three of the editors of The Speculative Turn had met in physical form (at last I finally met Levi, who’s as generous and fun in person as I’d expected.) Many thanks to the Treignac Projet for inviting me and organizing the event. Check out more of their work here.

The Matter of Contradiction / Ungrounding the Object

Ungrounding the Object

More information available here.

The Matter of Contradiction/Ungrounding the Object is the second event in a series of four focusing on the relationships between art and new forms of contemporary philosophy. The first event, Art Without Aesthetics, held in Rosascape, Paris, in December 2011, introduced the series, attending to questions of the artwork beyond anthropocentrism. This second event, Ungrounding the Object focuses its attention on the renewal of the object as conceived outside of human access and the shattering of the ‘space of critique’. It attempts to understand how art, philosophy, mathematics, geology and physics can collide, not just as procedure of transdisciplinarity but through the intersection of their independent dynamics and collusion of their materials. Articulated as the disruption or collapsing of the ground on which we stand, we claimungrounding is a cognitive and material process of evisceration. To this end, the correlation between thought and the object should be revised. We wish to explore the impact of objective reality within the realm of art practice, contending that we must understand the capacity of the (art)object to unground through its contingent materiality.

Ungrounding the Object is split in two parts. From Saturday 1st to Friday the 7th, Treignac Projet will host a private workshop (fully booked!) with a group of 15 participants. On the weekend of 8th and 9th September, Le Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’île de Vassivière will host a two-day conference addressing the issues raised during the workshop.

List of speakers / 8th-9th of September 

Bertrand Prévost
Graham Harman
Gabriel Catren
Levi Bryant
Nick Srnicek
Patricia Falguières
Paul J. Ennis
Reza Negarestani (via skype)
Tim Morton

Call for Participation – Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education System

Call for Participation – Committee To Discuss Project

Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education System

Hypothesis: Freedom in an unfree society can only be feigned. Such a feigning is by definition an artistic act. In a post-political age art bears a social responsibility.

‘Joan of Art: Towards a Conceptual Militancy’ is currently being written by Mike Watson (PhD in Philosophy, Goldsmiths College, MA Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy) for UK publisher ZerO Books (Mark Fisher, Nina Power, et al.). The book proposes that we evade the unfreedom of the societal whole by establishing a network of social initiatives delivered from galleries and art institutions.

The aim of the project ‘Joan of Art: Towards a Free Education System’ is to deliver a free education system, starting from the very basis of what education is: The sharing of information. In the first stages the very notion of education will be explored so that a new system can be delivered which recognises the value of sharing knowledge between peers and across disciplines. Finally a free accredited system will be set up in such a way that it ca be delivered from anywhere in the world, growing and changing organically as it disperses via accessible communication platforms.

An initial research period will bring together artists, academics, activists, lawyers and a range of professionals working across diverse disciplines in order to examine the very roots of our education system. By retaining some areas of the system we have all grown with, and changing others, new technologies will be employed in order to deliver a mode of learning which equips the user with the ability to ask relevant questions.

The passing of the political age suggests that politics was not the only way of managing the world. By setting up an education system as ‘art’ we seek new possibilities that are as yet unimagined.

The Committee

A committee meeting will be held in November to discuss what education is and what it ought to be. The committee seeks artists and academics with experience in the areas of social art, political art, education to put forward one page to be discussed with a view to shaping the above project. Travel to Rome, accomodation and a stipend will be paid for a period of 2-3 nights.

Email enquiries to: mike.r.watson@gmail.com