January 2019


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"Diop, Corinne Joan Martin - diopcj" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
tree of knowledge system discussion <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 5 Jan 2019 14:58:37 +0000
Hi all,

As a professor in an art department where we still teach things like lithography, letterpress and analog photography (film and darkroom) in addition to new media technologies, thinking about the typewriter is FASCINATING. The act of typing seems the same on a laptop or typewriter (unless using voice dictation), but the end result isn’t. Like the typewritten page, until we scan our silver gelatin prints or lithographs to post them online, they are private handwork… unlike my digital files that get automatically grouped by time and place and are ready to scatter about.

In being new to thinking about all of this, I looked up what contemporary artists are doing and notice there seems to be confusion between posthuman, posthumanism and posthumanist? 

Form a Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition catalog: “Our sense of specialness as a species, our centrality to the universe, is undermined by our very own growing, scientific abilities. Because by making digital machines that can act increasingly like us, by discovering that animals have inner lives and languages, including human language (like the famous chimpanzee Washoe, who could speak fluent American Sign Language), and by discovering that there might be life on other planets, we have diminished our own importance as a species. Simultaneously, though, new stories arise from our scientific discoveries, from the convergence of our technology and ourselves, of our past and our future, and they arise through and are reflected by art. These new stories we begin to tell ourselves about our existence are varied, as diverse as our growing technology and scientific changes. But confusing. And ever-shifting. As yet not fully developed, like ourselves in this new era.”

This from InterArtive, a platform for art discussions, talks about “The pre-post-humanist age is a world that is no longer our own, it is also inhabited by ‘uncanny entities’—alterities that emerged from the blurred boundaries of the human and the non-human. Uncanny entities are powerful agents with an ontological status that is visually imperceptible but is inferred through aesthetics by metaphor, metonymy, allure and representation.”

And then there’s this from the online gallery, Widewalls:

"If we define posthumanism as a position that wants to explore how other entities encounter the world rather than privileging our own world view, then it is not about the rejection or eradication of human perspective on the world, but the pluralization of perspectives. Thus, the technological merger should produce transversal relations and a new subjectivity, positioning technology not as “other” but as our way of knowing. On the other hand, it seems that with our growing scientific and technological abilities, our specialness as a species and our centrality to the universe is undermined. By having digital machines that can act increasingly like us, discovering the inner language of animals, or finding life in outer space, our importance as a species becomes diminished. These narratives that emerge from our discoveries, regarding our past and future, continue to arise through and be reflected by art."

Artists made a mess of James Gleick’s Chaos when that came out, so I am not surprised if there is confusion here… If any of you have time to comment I would love to hear your thoughts! (There are images of artwork in the articles.)

Best regards,

Corinne Diop
Professor of Art
School of Art, Design, and Art History
James Madison University

From: tree of knowledge system discussion [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Alexander Bard [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Saturday, January 5, 2019 5:28 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Beyond Humanism??

Dearest Mark

On what grounds is it a given that the Digital Sphere is doomed to be posthumanist?
You may be right but I would love to hear your take on that. I doubt that we are that deterministic, are we? How do we know this early?
I would rather view the current obsession with transhumanism (which I like and was part of from the very beginning) and posthumanism (which I dislike deeply, especially as it is a human all too human and highly masochistic concept) as incredibly television-inspired first reactions to the overload from digital. Because every one of these transhumanists grew up on Star Trek and Star Wars and not in the digital realm (where they for the last 30 years have been doing nothing but play television-copying computer games built on Star Trek and Star Wars). Meanwhile Elon Musk is literally building a rocket to Mars that however is likely to only send bacteria there but no Elon Musik to outer space (the one thing the robots will do is to conquer space without us and without understanding why they were programmed to do so).
I still think the word is out on what "digital" even is. Maybe today's seven-year-olds are beginning to come to grips with it? Until then, let's give the post-humanists a hard time.
Hey, they don't even have a unifying narrative. Mostly they are just a bunch of isolated autists doing nose jobs and silicon tits like mad. So they are the future? Hardly.
And to Brain Alsop, if you want to live forever how about getting a life here and now? Begin by reading Heidegger and then ask yourself why vampires want to die so desperately. Yes, I'm all for survival and extension of survival. But like Jacques Derrida so wisely said extended "survival" is one thing, "immortality" would be just pure hell.

Best intentions

Den fre 4 jan. 2019 kl 15:25 skrev Mark Stahlman <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>>:

As many of you know, the "hot topic" today in many places (particularly "philosophical" ones) is called Posthumanism.  It is active at NYU and I have participated in some of their events.  I was supposed to be included in the NY group's involvement in the XXIVth World Congress for Philosophy in Beijing this past summer, where there were many sessions on the topic, but ran into problems with "permission" for the other meetings I was going to have (which then took place in October.)<>

It is the view of the Center that there are now globally Three Spheres: East, West and Digital and that the Digital Sphere has "posthumanity" as its goal.  This is related (but not identical) to the older "transhumanism."  Aspects of this -- minus the larger context -- have been discussed in the "What is Intelligence?" thread.

This announcement appeared this AM on the NYU group's Facebook page, so I pass it along for discussion here --

Stefan Lorenz Sorgner<> shared a link<>.
51 mins<>

PLEASE SHARE the following information for all scholars of the posthuman:

The oldest publishing house in the world, Schwabe publishing (founded 1488), deeply rooted in the humanist tradition, embraces the intellectual engagement with one of the most significant debates of our time: Posthuman Studies: From Critical Posthumanism to Transhumanism. The series explicitly targets the international audience. All books will be peer-reviewed, copyedited, and internationally distributed. There are no printing cost subsidies. Please submit your manuscipt to Prof. Stefan Lorenz Sorgner, if you want it to be considered for this book series:<>

Here you find some more information about this newly launched book series:…/Flyer_Call-for-Manuscripts_Fina…<>

If you merely wish to publish a paper, please consider submitting it to the "Journal of Posthuman Studies" which was launched by Penn State University Press in 2017. It is the first academic journal explicitly dedicated to the posthuman:<>

To meet other scholars of the posthuman, the best place to be is the 11th Beyond Humanism conference which is dedicated to the following theme in 2019: Critical Posthumanism and Transhumanism: The Posthuman Paradigm Shift. It will take place from the 9th until the 12th of July 2019 at the Catholic University of Lille, France, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, ETHICS EA-7446. Here, you find the Call for Papers:<>




P.S. Yes, it is ironic that PRINT ("the oldest publishing house in the world") is getting involved in this.  PRINT was the enemy of SCRIBAL, eliminating perhaps 80% of the materials that had been written by scribes, ushering in what McLuhan called the "Gutenberg Galaxy."  PRINT was already "posthuman" in the sense that it took human communications and mechanized it, replacing the human hand in the process.  When PRINT was itself being replaced by the ELECTRIC psycho-technological environment in the late-19th century, this led to the invention of the Typewriter, a machine that allowed humans to pretend that they were a printing press.  I have know people with massive collections of early typewriters and, if you are inclined to observe the behaviors involved, I recommend the recent movie "California Typewriter" (complete with the logo that replaces the human head with a machine) . . . !!<>

P.P.S.  In case you weren't convinced of my commitment to the "scribal hand," here is a graphic that I used many years ago on my business cards for my consulting company . . . <g>


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