Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

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How far can provocation in art go, before it becomes cynical and abusive? Scandalous: A Reader on Art and Ethics

September 10, 2013

Recent encounters between art and real life, the ubiquity of images of violence and humiliation in visual culture and the media, and the persistence of controversial debates on public and participatory art projects are raising fundamental questions about the importance of ethical decisions in art and curating. How far can provocation in art go, before it becomes cynical and abusive? Does “good censorship” exist? Are ethical decisions seen as more urgent in participatory art?

This reader introduces current notions of ethics in several contexts related to the cultural field. Responding to the instrumentalization of ethics as a privileged tool of neoliberalism, the reader claims the need for an ethics that critically reflects the mechanisms of contemporary global power structures. The contributions discuss models of subjective and situational ethics and pit them against a canon of unquestioned principles and upturned notions of ethics and human rights.

Texts by Petra Bauer and Annette Krauss, Franco Bifo Berardi, Galit Eilat, Ronald Jones, Maria Karlsson and Måns Wrange, Nina Möntmann, Peter Osborne, Marcus Steinweg, Nato Thompson; conversations between Simon Critchley and Miguel Á. Hernández-Navarro, Renzo Martens and T. J. Demos

Scandalous: A Reader on Art and Ethics
Nina Möntmann

Text and Image via Sternberg Press

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What Transgender Means for Transhumanism

March 26, 2013

Bridging transsexuality and transhumanism makes sense. It’s possible that transgender people may become the first normalized transhumanist class. I use “normalized” loosely of course, drawing the line at doping athletes and plastic surgery junkies—a moral assertion that gives meaning to this conversation, but something for another time.

So, what exactly is transhumanism? Some label it a religion. I see it as something between a philosophy and a cultural movement.

To paraphrase philosophers Nick Bostrom and David Pearce, co-founders of the World Transhumanist Association and authors of the Transhumanist Declaration, transhumanism affirms the possibility of improving the human condition through applied reason and technological advancement—the idea being to eliminate aging and suffering, and enhance human capacities across the board. Another key element of transhumanism is the motivation to overcome “fundamental” human limitations. According to Humanity+, an international membership organization that “advocates the ethical use of technology to expand human capacities,” transhumanism is about man and technology, taking a “multidisciplinary approach to analyzing the dynamic interplay between humanity and the acceleration of technology.”

Excerpt from an article written by C.Delatorre at C.Delatorre. Continue HERE

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Architecture Depends

February 26, 2013

Architecture depends—on what? On people, time, politics, ethics, mess: the real world. Architecture, Jeremy Till argues with conviction in this engaging, sometimes pugnacious book, cannot help itself; it is dependent for its very existence on things outside itself. Despite the claims of autonomy, purity, and control that architects like to make about their practice, architecture is buffeted by uncertainty and contingency. Circumstances invariably intervene to upset the architect’s best-laid plans—at every stage in the process, from design through construction to occupancy. Architects, however, tend to deny this, fearing contingency and preferring to pursue perfection. With Architecture Depends, architect and critic Jeremy Till offers a proposal for rescuing architects from themselves: a way to bridge the gap between what architecture actually is and what architects want it to be. Mixing anecdote, design, social theory, and personal experience, Till’s writing is always accessible, moving freely between high and low registers, much like his suggestions for architecture itself.

The everyday world is a disordered mess, from which architecture has retreated—and this retreat, says Till, is deluded. Architecture must engage with the inescapable reality of the world; in that engagement is the potential for a reformulation of architectural practice. Contingency should be understood as an opportunity rather than a threat. Elvis Costello said that his songs have to work when played through the cheapest transistor radio; for Till, architecture has to work (socially, spatially) by coping with the flux and vagaries of everyday life. Architecture, he proposes, must move from a reliance on the impulsive imagination of the lone genius to a confidence in the collaborative ethical imagination, from clinging to notions of total control to an intentional acceptance of letting go.

Text and Image via MIT

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The New Scientism

December 18, 2012

In contrast to reason, a defining characteristic of superstition is the stubborn insistence that something — a fetish, an amulet, a pack of Tarot cards — has powers which no evidence supports. From this perspective, scientism appears to have as much in common with superstition as it does with properly conducted scientific research. Scientism claims that science has already resolved questions that are inherently beyond its ability to answer.

Of all the fads and foibles in the long history of human credulity, scientism in all its varied guises — from fanciful cosmology to evolutionary epistemology and ethics — seems among the more dangerous, both because it pretends to be something very different from what it really is and because it has been accorded widespread and uncritical adherence. Continued insistence on the universal competence of science will serve only to undermine the credibility of science as a whole. The ultimate outcome will be an increase of radical skepticism that questions the ability of science to address even the questions legitimately within its sphere of competence. One longs for a new Enlightenment to puncture the pretensions of this latest superstition.

Excerpt from an essay written by Austin L. Hughes at The New Atlantis. Continue HERE

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Making the Geologic Now: Responses to Material Conditions of Contemporary Life

December 10, 2012

“Surveying a vast range of topics and practices—from humans as dominant geomorphic agents, to forces and time scales that challenge the very limits of an anthropocentric worldview—Making the Geologic Now argues for the central place of a geological imaginary in contemporary culture. From metaphor to material, the “geological turn” in art, design, architecture, and poetry, a result of the increased presence of geological realities in everyday life, is shown to be a catalyst for new considerations of how the human and non-human, the ecological and the ethical, are increasingly intertwined. The volume’s engaging selection unpacks the layers of our urgent relationship to the geologic, with its deep time and prospective futures, from our destruction of coral reefs and the storing of nuclear waste, to meteoritic dust that fall on us daily, and the hundreds of man-made satellites now in geostationary orbit around the earth.” ~ João Ribas, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center

Download Book HERE iNTERACTIVE WEB-BOOK HERE: GeologicNow.com

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Thinking through the Body: Essays in Somaesthetics

August 30, 2012

This book provides a richly rewarding vision of the burgeoning interdisciplinary field of somaesthetics. Composed of fourteen wide-ranging but finely integrated essays by Richard Shusterman, the originator of the field, Thinking through the Body explains the philosophical foundations of somaesthetics and applies its insights to central issues in ethics, education, cultural politics, consciousness studies, sexuality, and the arts. Integrating Western philosophy, cognitive science, and somatic methodologies with classical Asian theories of body, mind, and action, these essays probe the nature of somatic existence and the role of body consciousness in knowledge, memory, and behavior. Deploying somaesthetic perspectives to analyze key aesthetic concepts (such as style and the sublime), he offers detailed studies of embodiment in drama, dance, architecture, and photography. The volume also includes somaesthetic exercises for the classroom and explores the ars erotica as an art of living.

Text and Image via Cambridge University Press

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The Philosophical Roots of Science Fiction

August 14, 2012

People use science fiction to illustrate philosophy all the time. From ethical quandaries to the very nature of existence, science fiction’s most famous texts are tailor-made for exploring philosophical ideas. In fact, many college campuses now offer courses in the philosophy of science fiction.

But science fiction doesn’t just illuminate philosophy — in fact, the genre grew out of philosophy, and the earliest works of science fiction were philosophical texts. Here’s why science fiction has its roots in philosophy, and why it’s the genre of thought experiments about the universe.

Science fiction is a genre that uses strange worlds and inventions to illuminate our reality — sort of the opposite of a lot of other writing, which uses the familiar to build a portrait that cumulatively shows how insane our world actually is. People, especially early twenty-first century people, live in a world where strangeness lurks just beyond our frame of vision — but we can’t see it by looking straight at it. When we try to turn and confront the weird and unthinkable that’s always in the corner of our eye, it vanishes. In a sense, science fiction is like a prosthetic sense of peripheral vision.

Excerpt from an article written by Charlie Jane Anders at io9. Continue HERE