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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Posthuman
Posted: June 15, 2020 at 10:44 pm
Cousins Richard Bevan and Joshu Doherty. Based in East London & Glasgow respectively, UK
Spearheads of the UK acid house scene, Posthuman's output has evolved over the years, encompassing many genres & styles from their early electronica releases, through techno and electro to acid house.
Their debut release in 2000 was a series of hand made CDs simply called "Posthuman" (though better known by the colour of the card inserts - grey, black, blue and brown). The duo then went on to host a number of parties in an abandoned underground train station in London between 2001 and 2004, and founded their own label Seed Records (2) with which they released 3 albums and several other releases of their own and other artists material. They also were the first act on Manchester based imprint Skam's SMAK sublabel.
Doherty left Seed Records to help relaunch UK techno imprint B12 Records in 2006, and started a new label Balkan Vinyl in 2010.
In 2007, Doherty founded acid-focused clubnight "I Love Acid" along with Luke Vibert who's track it was named after, where Posthuman are resident DJs. It won "Best Club Event" in DJ Magazine's Best of British awards 2019. In 2014 the clubnight launched a vinyl-only label also named I Love Acid. He also performs as one half of Altern 8's live shows since 2015.
Posted: at 10:44 pm
A posthuman or post-human is, according to the transhumanist thinkers, a hypothetical future being "whose basic capacities so radically exceed those of present humans as to be no longer unambiguously human by our current standards."
The difference between the posthuman and other hypothetical sophisticated non-humans is that a posthuman was once a human, either in its lifetime or in the lifetimes of some or all of its direct ancestors. As such, a prerequisite for a posthuman is a transhuman, the point at which the human being begins surpassing his or her own limitations, but is still recognisable as a human person or similar.
Many science fiction writers, such as Greg Egan, Bruce Sterling, Greg Bear, Charles Stross and Ken MacLeod, have written works set in posthuman futures.
Posthumans could be a symbiosis of human and artificial intelligence, or uploaded consciousnesses, or the result of making many smaller but cumulatively profound technological augmentations to a biological human, i.e. a cyborg. Some examples of the latter are redesigning the human organism using advanced nanotechnology or radical enhancement using some combination of technologies such as genetic engineering, psychopharmacology, life extension therapies, neural interfaces, advanced information management tools, memory enhancing drugs, wearable or implanted computers, and cognitive techniques.
At what point does a human become posthuman? Steven Pinker, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of How the Mind Works, poses the following hypothetical, which is an example of the Ship of Theseus paradox:
In this sense, the transition between human and posthuman may be viewed as a continuum rather than an all-or-nothing event.
A variation on the posthuman theme is the notion of the "Posthuman God"; the idea that posthumans, being no longer confined to the parameters of "humanness", might grow physically and mentally so powerful as to appear possibly god-like by human standards. This notion should not be interpreted as being related to the idea portrayed in some soft science fiction that a sufficiently advanced species may "ascend" to a superior plane of existence - rather, it merely means that some posthuman being may become so exceedingly intelligent and technologically sophisticated that its behaviour would not possibly be comprehensible to modern humans, purely by reason of their limited intelligence and imagination. The difference here is that the latter stays within the bounds of the laws of the material universe, while the former exceeds them by going beyond it.
As used in this article, "posthuman" does not necessarily refer to a conjectured future where humans are extinct or otherwise absent from the Earth. As with other species who speciate from one another, both humans and posthumans could continue to exist. However, the apocalyptic scenario appears to be a viewpoint shared among a minority of transhumanists such as Marvin Minsky and Hans Moravec, who could be considered misanthropes, at least in regards to humanity in its current state. Alternatively, others such as Kevin Warwick argue for the likelihood that both humans and posthumans will continue to exist but the latter will predominate in society over the former because of their abilities.
Continue reading here:
Posted: at 10:44 pm
The Oxford English Dictionary identifies the first appearance of the term post-human as Maurice Parmelees 1916 Poverty and Social Progress. In a section entitled Eugenic Measures and the Prevention of Poverty, Parmelee, a sociologist, wrote:
But even though it is not possible, at present at any rate, to do much to improve the quality of the human stock by eugenic means, it is interesting and profitable to consider what would be the result if socially undesirable types could be eliminated entirely or in large part . . . . [But] it is evident, in the first place, that it is inconceivable that human nature could be changed to the extent that is contemplated by [the] theory of perfectibility. Such changes would bring into being an animal no longer human, or for that matter mammalian, in its character, for it would involve the elimination of such fundamental human and mammalian instincts and emotions as anger, jealousy, fear, etc. But even if such a post-human animal did come into existence, it is difficult to believe that it could carry on the necessary economic activities without using a certain amount of formal organization, compulsion, etc.[i]
Parmelees passage identifies several important issues that run throughout the lexicographical history of the term post-human into the present day. In answering What is the post-human? a corollary set of questions arise: Are we already post-human or is post-humanism permanently stuck in the future? At what point does a human stop being a human? What is the relationship between humans and animals? Does scientific advancement necessarily improve the human condition, or ought we limit it? If our social configurations (states, laws, families) are predicated on human nature, what happens to that order when we alter our nature? These inquiries stretch across disciplines from physics to anthropology, but they coalesce over the figure of the post-human. I would like to outline how three major thinkersN. Katherine Hayles, Jean-Franois Lyotard, and Jrgen Habermashave contributed to our understanding of the post-human. Speaking from different backgrounds and fields of study, Hayles, Lyotard, and Habermas each provide a unique perspective of the post-human, establishing multiple points of consensus and disagreement.
We can infer much from the title of N. Katherine Hayles seminal book How We Became Posthuman: taken literally, the past-tense became connotes that the transformation from human to post-human has already occurred. But Hayles notes the multiple ironies of her title, since her thesis is more complex than That was then, this is now.[ii] Her argument is that human subjectivity is always historically specific: the changes [from human to post-human] were never complete transformations or sharp breaks; without exception, they reinscribed traditional ideas and assumptions even as they articulated something new.[iii] In other words, an element of or precondition for the post-human has always been among us (or more accurately, in us)hence, her title. People become posthuman because they think they are posthuman, not simply because they use dishwashers, the internet, or genetic engineering.[iv]
But Hayles does not deny that a real shift is taking place. Hayles impetus for her research was the 20th centurys articulation, by science fiction authors and cyberneticists like Norbert Weiner, that a great new epoch could be reached with the arrival of conscious computers, cyborgs, robots, and other variations of post-human beings which could finally separate mind from matter. She opens her essay Visualizing the Posthuman with the claim that, no longer a cloud on the horizon, the posthuman is rapidly becoming an everyday reality through physical prostheses, genetic engineering, and digital and artificial environments, all of which are necessary, but not sufficient, elements of post-humanity. [v] It is not that such technologies create the post-human object; rather, they allow for the possibility of a post-human subject. Thus, [o]ne cannot ask whether information technologies should continue to be developed. Given market forces already at work, it is virtually certain that we will increasingly live, work, and play in environments that construct as embodied virtualities.[vi]
Hayles elaborates her thesis by examining the practices of reading and writing within the digital media environment. For Hayles, the computer and digital technology have created the conditions for new conceptions of identity and subjectivity that demarcate the post-human era. In contrast to the pre-modern oral subject (fluid, changing, situational, dispersed) and the modern written subject (fixed, coherent, stable, self-identical), the postmodern virtual subject can be described as post-human because its subjectivity is formed through dynamical interfaces with computers:
The physics of virtual writing illustrates how our perceptions change when we work with computers on a daily basis. We do not need to have software sockets inserted into our heads to become cyborgs. We already are cyborgs in the sense that we experience, through the integration of our bodily perceptions and motions with computer architectures and topologies, a changed sense of subjectivity.[vii]
For Hayles the central issue in post-humanism is whether the body is superfluous: Should the body be seen as evolutionary baggage that we are about to toss out as we vault into the brave new world of the posthuman? she asks.[viii] In its philosophy and practice, the modern age sought to separate mind from body. It is only on that premise, Hayles argues, that we could conceive of discarding the body while keeping the mind, as many utopian/dystopian fictions describe, in scenarios predicting the downloading of brain matter. Instead, Hayles says our minds are bound up with our bodies, irrevocably: there is an inextricable intertwining of body with mind . . . . We are the medium, and the medium is us.[ix]
Thus, Hayles conception of the post-human is marked by two characteristics: it is not a sharp or radical break, but is a historically specific conception of subjectivity, just as Enlightenment humanism was. Because of this, the full-blown post-humanism of science fiction is necessarily incomplete: we can never completely isolate the mind and discard the body. Hence, the future is not pre-determined, neither as a positivist utopia with minimal labor, or as apocalyptic dystopia of human oppression: Technologies do not develop on their own. People develop them, and people can be guided to better or worse decisions through deliberation and politics.[x] Hayles goal is not to recuperate the liberal subject.[xi] Such a fantasy, she notes, was a conception that may have applied at best to that fraction of humanity who had the wealth power and leisure to conceptualize themselves as autonomous beings exercising their will through agency and choice.[xii] The post-human is, for better or worse, here: but it does not really mean the end of humanity. It signals instead the end of a certain conception of the human.[xiii]
Perhaps most poignant image of the post-human emerges from a thought experiment conducted by Jean-Franois Lyotard in his text The Inhumane. There, Lyotard asks, what happens when the sun explodes, as scientists tell us it will, in 4.5 billion years? It will surely mean the destruction of the planet. For Lyotard, this scenario is the prerequisite for post-humanity, and consequently, the only one worth philosophizing about as the sole serious question to face humanity today.[xiv] Even a world destroyed by nuclear weaponry does not suffice to create the post-human:
[A] human warleave[s] behind it a devastated human world, dehumanized, but with nonetheless at least a single survivor, someone to tell the story of whats left, to write it down . . . . But in what remains after the solar explosion, there wont be any humanness, there wont be living creatures, there wont be intelligent, sensitive, sentient earthlings to bear witness to it, since they and their earthly horizon will have been consumed.[xv]
Lyotards post-human is thus grounded not in the transcendence of certain human capabilities or features, like Parmelees emotions or Hayles digital subjectivity, but on a fundamental altering of the world as we have ever known it. For Lyotard, such a universe cannot even be thought ofbecause to grasp it in our minds still taints it with the trace of humanity. The universal apocalypse must remain unthought: if theres [total] death, then theres no thought. Negation without remainder. No self to make sense of it. Pure event. Disaster.[xvi]
But this does not mean we must take the attitude of Epicurus, referenced by Lyotard to stand for those who preach to only augment ones own worldly happiness. In a tone of urgency, Lyotard suggests that we must make way for the coming of the post-human. What is at stake in every field from genetics to particle physics is how to make thought without a body possible . . . . That clearly means finding for the body a nutrient that owes nothing to the bio-chemical components synthesized on the surface of the earth through the use of solar energy. Or: learning to effect these syntheses in other places than on earth.[xvii] Lyotard expresses nostalgia about this inevitability, concluding that we must say to ourselves . . . we shall go on.[xviii] This serves as the impetus for his exegeses on aesthetics and art, whose etchings and engravings capture the last vestiges of humanity, as he affirms: let us at least bear witness, and again, and for no-one.[xix] The possibility of a witness implies the possibility of a human. Thus, Lyotard presents a radicalized vision of the post-human as an essentially alien thing, even suggesting that the post-human condition is beyond the scope of our imaginations. The post-human is not a half-man, half-robot: he has no attachment to the earth whatsoever.
A staunch defender of the unfinished modern project of human freedom, liberal philosopher Jrgen Habermas The Future of Human Nature speaks directly to the concerns raised by Parmelee on improving the stock of man. Habermas starting point is 1973, when the human genome was cracked. This scientific advance has allowed for embryo research and a liberal eugenics of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, which can manipulate an embryos eventual gender among other capabilities.[xx] Habermas believes developments of biology call into question our natural idea of the human being, and consequently, our laws, societal organization, nuclear families, and even philosophies. Mankind has hitherto taken birth (roughly) as a given fact of the world, meaning we make the assumption that the genetic endowment of the newborn infant, and thus the initial organic conditions for its future life history, lay beyond any programming and deliberate manipulation on the part of other persons.[xxi] However, modern technology is obliterating the boundary between persons and things because the embryo becomes subject to design, like any other object or commodity. [xxii] For the first time, the human species can take its biological evolution into its own hands. The post-human corresponds to the reversal of Jean Paul Sartres humanism, whose sloganexistence precedes essenceis now definitively called into question: now, a decision on existence or nonexistence is taken in view of the potential essence.[xxiii]
Because new technologies are regulated by supply and demand[xxiv] they leave the goals of gene-modifying interventions to the individual preferences of market participants.[xxv] But Habermas thinks merely intervening in the market through legislation cannot resolve the underlying conflict: Legislative interventions restricting the freedom of biological research and banning the advances of genetic engineering seem but a vain attempt to set oneself against the dominant tendency.[xxvi] Genetic technologies have obvious upsides that justify their application, like the eradication of debilitating genetic disorders. But the question is whether the instrumentalization of human nature changes the ethical self-understanding of the species in such a way that we may no longer see ourselves as ethically free and morally equal beings guided by norms and reasons.[xxvii] The strange science fiction accounts of humans being improved by chip implants is for Habermas only an exaggeration of an already present reality.[xxviii] Because genetic modification occurs before the moment of consciousness, subjects have no way of knowing that their characteristics were, to some degree, designed for them. In other words, the salient point for Habermas is the anti-democratic nature of the post-human: there is no choice of a red or blue pill, to use the famous scene from The Matrix.
Thus, in the post-human, Habermas sees the fate of the enlightenment project of freedom. While he does not clearly mark the threshold between human and object, his conception of the post-human is one where humans are not free to create themselves, connecting the human with the philosophy of humanism. In the mold of the Enlightenment philosophers, Habermas views humans as self-governing beings with the capacity for reason; new technologies, especially embryonic ones, undermine that modern view, ushering in the post-human.
[i] Parmelee, p. 350.
[ii] Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, p.6
[iii] Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, p. 6.
[iv] Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, p. 6.
[v] Hayles, Visualizing the Posthuman, p. 50.
[vi] Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, p. 48.
[vii] Hayles, Condition of Virtuality, p. 12.
[viii] Hayles, Visualizing the Posthuman, p. 50.
[ix] Hayles, Visualizing the Posthuman, p. 54.
[x] Hayles, Condition of Virtuality, p. 14.
[xi] Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, p. 5.
[xii] Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, p. 286.
[xiii] Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, p. 286.
[xiv] Lyotard, The Inhumane, p. 8.
[xv] Lyotard, The Inhumane, p. 10.
[xvi] Lyotard, The Inhumane, p. 11.
[xvii] Lyotard, The Inhumane, p. 14.
[xviii] Lyotard, The Inhumane, p. 105.
[xix] Lyotard, The Inhumane, p. 203.
[xx] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 43.
[xxi] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 13.
[xxii] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 13,
[xxiii] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 50.
[xxiv] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 30.
[xxv] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 19.
[xxvi] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 25.
[xxvii] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 40.
[xxviii] Habermas, The Future of Human Nature, p. 41.
Habermas, Jrgen. The Future of Human Nature. London: Blackwell, 2003.
Hayles, Katherine N. How We Became Posthuman. Chicago: University of Chicago
-Visualizing the Posthuman
-The Condition of Virtuality.
Lyotard, The Inhumane: Reflections on Time. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003.
Parmelee, Maurice. Poverty and Social Progess. New York: Macmillan, 1916.
Posted: May 4, 2020 at 11:17 pm
Your Real Estate Interior: Noourbanographical Sample of the single bedroom/studio apartment. Source: http://www.flatchina.comShareShare
Can a collective agency, or mind, be traced across the urban condition? And how should we map its effects on the physical matter of our cities? A specific representation of a specific type of home is employed as an exercise in defining the impact of a logic of thinking that is both embodied and distributed, singular and collective. Hlne Frichots proposal for Noourbanographies was written as a response to the call for papers of the Eyes of the City, well before our domestic interiors became the new public. Looking at the distance between hegemonic collectives and ecologies of subjectivities as space for action, the essay opens up to an articulate range of issues that involve matters of care, diagrammatic thinking and spaces of control.
For the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB), titled "Urban Interactions," (21 December 2019-8 March 2020) ArchDaily is working with the curators of the "Eyes of the City" section to stimulate a discussion on how new technologies might impact architecture and urban life. The contribution below is part of a series of scientific essays selected through the Eyes of the City call for papers, launched in preparation of the exhibitions: international scholars were asked to send their reflection in reaction to the statement by the curators Carlo Ratti Associati, Politecnico di Torino and SCUT, which you can read here.
A New Community
Noopolitics, which could easily be mistaken for new politics depending on your pronunciation and who is listening to you, designates the politics of thinking at the scale of a population. The logic of thinking collectively, whether wittingly or unwittingly, is called noology, also defined as the logic of mind (noo designating nous, from the Greek for mind or intellect). Mind here must be imagined as scaled-up multiplicity. It must be understood less as an individuated, embodied attribute belonging to a specific, self-same, phenomenological subject than as a distributed effect. The effect of the collective process of thinking together, for instance, can express itself across a vast urban milieu. As you plunge into the seething data flows of advanced information societies your collaborative impact manifests as material admixtures across urban milieus from the container technologies of living apartments all the way to the character of neighbourhoods, as editorialized in the weekend papers, inflight magazines and on Trip Advisor. Amidst the flows and stoppages of information you are data augmented, you are a process of individuation and dividual both. You are rendered fleetingly sensible in relation to where you are, your environment-world. You participate in a new community. Effects, by their nature, are fleeting, an effect of the light, an after-effect, likewise, the effects of provisionally delimited processes of individuation rendered as emergent (post)human subjectivities. To map the collaborative, if unintentional, effects of thinking together, to glean the passage of effects, their concomitant spatialities and material relationalities, some kind of method is required, a method that allows you to slow down. To follow the material impact of thinking together across an urban milieu, noourbanography will be offered here as a method, or rather, an unruly, non-exhaustive diagrammatic attempt at surveying something that appears to unfurl at near infinite speeds.
Takes You Directly to Sea World
Sea World, Shenzhen is: An awesome place in China. There is a good place for relaxing and spending time on a holiday afternoon. The boat is actually a hotel and a bar. Theres a small fountain show every 30 minutes or so. Its [sic] good for family and couples . (Google Search)
The urban milieu in question is Shenzhen, a megalopolis, and this immediately presents innumerable problems because as a researcher I am located at a geopolitical and socio-cultural distance. But does it really matter anymore who or where I am? To take the brief of the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale at its word, with the information age, with networked societies, the anthropocentric perspective has become radically augmented if not rendered redundant. Rather than multiple human eyes trained on the street securing its safety and well-being (which sounds rather panoptically ominous), a posthuman condition prevails. The eyes of the city predominate as buildings and streets themselves observe and react to urban life as it unfolds, just in time for your daily occupations. At least this is how a near future is imagined. Machines watching over machines of loving grace, and in the interstices, plugged-in, human subjectivities. I want to take this reorientation seriously by turning to the urban interiors that are exposed as so many spatial products across Shenzhen, so many portals into a multiplicity of lives, human and non-human. Processes of subjectivation are exposed across these interiors as the bare life of data: square metres, location, aspect, access, view, cost per calendar month. We cannot humanize these spaces any longer under the anachronistic signifier home, they are merely the spaces through which humans and non-humans pass, each reciprocally shaping the other. And yet
This is not to assume that the human subject has been cast aside as so much unnecessary meat. Life, after all, is at least minimally facilitated here. In Signs and Machines, Maurizio Lazzarato explains the situation like this: Individuals and here it is important to register that individuals are processes rather than ready-made and stabilized units and dividuals a concept signed by Flix Guattari, work concurrently. Two entwined registers, individual and dividual: Where individuals are biopolitically organized or managed as populations according to their lives and their deaths, dividuals own a statistical existence.  Bound up in noology is the construction of subjectivity. Noology and biology, noopolitics and biopolitics, must be conceived in a continuous variation like the right and reverse side of the cloth of contemporary landscapes of digitalisation, informing a cognitive architecture.  The distinction Lazzarato makes between individuals and dividuals is presented in similar terms in Orit Halperns Beautiful Data, where she argues that networked communication from the postwar period onwards produces increasingly individuated (human) units. Space has become a new interface radically individuated and simultaneously networked.  The individual and dividual operate in what can be called disjunctive synthesis, differentiated as modes and yet developing in an intimate relay. What we have is the strange collaboration of networked dividuals and co-isolated individuals performing less according to imperatives of meaning and identity than process and environment, affect and behavior. 
It is worth returning to Lieven de Cauters eight concise laws of capsularization, where the apartment counts as an exemplary case. An inverse existential ratio takes hold, as described above: the more individuated, the more connected: Closed off and plugged in entities.  Or, to put it bluntly the degree of capsularization is directly proportional to the growth of networks.  What Cauter had to say fifteen years ago has only become more acute today. Peter Sloterdijk can be deployed to complement the analysis of capsular (non)relations, which he argues operate according to the paradoxical logic of co-isolation.  At least you share your cell wall. Pronouncing in his polemical style that the apartment and the stadium are the most successful architectural innovations of the twentieth century Sloterdijk asserts that the apartment can be situated as the individuated cell extraordinaire, supporting the creation of solitary dwellers via individuated housing and media techniques.  The spatial insistence of the cell or the capsule demonstrates that the disciplinary society is still at play amidst the newly emergent control society.  It is not as though you progress historically from one to the other. You share your cell walls and depend on their infrastructural interconnections. Even though you are bound up in your own ego-spherical containers, should the infrastructure fail you, you would be exposed to grave environmental peril.
In terms of what he identifies as the full-blown establishment of the capsular society Cauter proffers the extreme choice between Theme Park and Camp.  Your neighbourhood is prepared in advance of your arrival depending on the means available to you. 12.5% of spatial products available on one real estate website in October 2019 noted their proximity to Seaworld, either explicitly or in terms of access to the closest metro stop. Advertisements for rental apartments proclaiming the benefits of being in proximity to Seaworld speak of the allure of themed worlds within worlds. Enfolded hyperrealities. Not only do you live in a city whose population has expanded over 400 fold since the 1970s, but there are heterotopic zones within zones at work here expressing what Keller Easterling would call dispositions  that is to say, environmental encouragements to behave collectively in certain ways: Much as a ball rolls down an inclined plane, or a small child unselfconsciously expresses a happy or sad disposition.
This remote survey of Shenzhen residential real estate, undertaken in the month of October 2019 and reduced to that suite of products available to an Anglophone expatriate marketplace, will be necessarily partial, and certainly not impartial.
This means that warnings are required. There is the risk of imposing my western style on a non-western milieu in organizing the available data. How am I apt to categorize the interior motifs I deem worthy of remarking upon from the privilege of my provisional stand-point (more or less white, Euro-Australian itinerant, second-generation migrant, researcher, pedagogue, woman, mother)? What will I not see? You must assume that for the most part the situation will remain obscured. So it goes: the enduring ignorance of partial vision.
No agent fees!
We work with the newest technology to make the search and renting experience as seamless as possible.  Much as the city thinks itself in more-than-human ways, it would appear that the city also sells itself across a proliferation of web-based platforms promising the seamless enjoyment of the property.
Lazzarato argues that it is perhaps property rights that form the most successful individualizing apparatuses of subjectivation. He argues that Property is not only an apparatus for economic appropriation but also for the capture and exploitation of non-human subjectivities.  Here, beyond the human, or with consideration for the more-than-human, environmental relations must be considered. A logic of property rights radically transforms environmental ecologies (constructed and otherwise).
100% real picture! 100% real price!
A general statement can be ventured: The home is a spatial product mobilized en masse. This real estate product is manufactured and mass-customized, but according to a delimited set of parameters.
The ways in which the interior is composed according to an organisartorial  logic presents the conceit of individual taste, where in fact the dressing of the interior, once analyzed across a larger data set of products, reveals recurring motifs, spatial platitudes, comforting signifiers you are bound to recognize.
Everyone knows by now that the real estate image is stage-managed. This is a well established contemporary Image of Thought. Spatial products facilitate the departures and returns of the sedentary nomad  that you are. Wide-angle lens photography and off-white walls offer a sense of space, beds are mussed, cushions are thrown, just the right amount of things knick-knacks are casually composed. This is what Helen Runting and I have called white, wide, and scattered,  which in the end only produces a kind of derangement of the indebted subject. All the mussing in the world will not relieve the anxiety and anticipation that plague you when you go in search of a real estate commodity.  Could this be real? Could this be me? Immediately processes of subjectivity collapse into the arrangement of the interior as you attempt to project your life into the comforts of the container. Is it possible to see through the cell wall? Or are you cursed to receive continuously varied feedback of your ego-broadcasted self-image? How will this life tally with your monthly income? And what, finally, of the environment outside?
High Floor, Low Floor
Socio-economic hierarchies are an inevitable part of the real estate game. Where are you on the ladder? Early in your career, or well developed? The search criteria locate you in advance of yourself: single, couple, older, with family. Location, location, location! The cost per square meter nearly always corresponds to what you get. Sometimes, curious exceptions occur. The 1 bedroom apartment that boasts a magnificent view and a large floor area (over 100m2) or the 3 bedroom apartment that is filled with someone elses dirty laundry.
Of the 96 spatial products available in October 2019 on flatinchina.com, 39 were located in the proximity of the Dongjiaotou Metro, begging the question: Whats happening there? A stub on Wikipedia explains that Dongjiatou was formerly an industrial area and is now largely residential. It can be found between Shekou (a free trade zone) and Houhai. Where Trip Advisor suggests there are at least 97 things you can do in Houhai, in Dongjiatou there are at least 144 things you can do, including visiting Seaworld, which is about 2km away.
Nice, nice, nice
Real Estate arouses a collective affect. The mood of the market not only influences the circulation of spatial products, but where affect is defined as capacity the market affectively enables some and disables others. While the logic of the real estate interior would appear to follow the inexorable drive toward keener individuation and co-isolation, at the same time when you multiply these units, affective effects a capacity to affect and to be affected are produced across the urban milieu. The interior, even if seemingly hermetically sealed off, produces a material impact on its surroundings, and the relationship is reciprocal. The material semiotics of the situation must be acknowledged. Donna Haraway explains that material semiotics is always situated, someplace and not noplace, entangled and worldly.  Even though it is tempting to survey these serial real estate images as disembodied effects, they are pegged to the mundane realities of daily life, alerting you to complex support systems, of which you too often remain ignorant.
The adjective nice plays a crucial role in the noourbanographical sample survey undertaken, numbering 96 apartments available in October 2019. Nice apartment, nice view, nice furniture. While etymologies are an old academic game, a sleight of hand even, when it comes to the anodyne word nice etymological play is irresistible: Nice reveals an Old French root as simple, foolish, ignorant and a Latin forbear in ignorant, not knowing.
Photographs of the one-bedroom apartments sometimes appear as though they have been taken with a mobile phone. The compositional framing is off-kilter, extraneous details come into focus, the lighting is murky. Also, beds are stripped of their dressing. Out of necessity refrigerators are positioned beside couches. At the same time, much is shared with the 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with respect to the interior accouterments. Pillows are thrown, potted plants and flowers are arranged.
Once you arrive at the three-bedroom apartments the recurrence of designer and faux designer furniture pieces is worth remarking upon. Feature ceiling lights. Brand name kitchen fittings. There are signs of more concerted and declarative styling. The apartments not only promise a nice view but visibly display an outside framed for landscape consumption. Mountains visible here, the sea there.
A survey of 2 and 3 bedroom apartments reveals a proliferation of black patches on living room walls. Flat screen televisual devices where the nice view flickers when you channel surf. Co-isolated, plugged-in.
The nice view can be further categorized under sea or garden view. In most cases the view is simply nice, but on rare occasions, it is wonderful, as in, a wonderful sea view. And on one occasion, at least, the quality of the view is rated as fantastic.
It is nearly twenty years ago now that Zoe Sofia (aka Sofoulis) published her essay Container Technologies in the feminist theory journal Hypatia, named for an ancient Greek philosopher, a woman who dared to think. She tells the story of the technologically augmented human expectation of endless supply, smoothly delivered amidst facilitating environments.  Her aim is to realign habitual associations of technology with what Cauter calls hot machines , projectile, fast, destructive. Instead, she draws attention to the container, the bowl, the preservative jar, the gunny sack, and relates containment to supply. Containment and supply provide support to (human) organisms, because: The organism cannot be considered apart from the habitat that houses it.  Drawing on the cyberneticist Gregory Bateson, and framing a noological thesis of her own, Sofia argues that the mind is immanent both to the body and to the ecological pathways and messages circulating outside the body. Individual minds collaborate forming a larger Mind or system, drawing attention to the fundamental role of the environmental milieu.
The nice view assumes a point of view on things, on a landscape, on what can be called a posthuman landscape of things.  This is not to assume the passing away of the human species (even though this is a highly likely future scenario) but the technological augmentation of the human subject as enfolded process of subjectification plugged into urbanized milieu.
Your point of view is your opinion, and when we survey you, when a poll of a body politic is taken (like taking its temperature), we secure a read-out on a noopolitical situation: Populism, the rise of the right, terrorism, insecurity, interleaved with daily bouts of voracious consumption-production. Individuation processes spell out the collapse of social relationalities. Experiments in participatory forms only prove how incompetent you have become at getting along with each other.
This noourbanographical survey is but a sample, an irrational section cut  through an immediate present. Each empty apartment awaits its next subject; they are capture devices that captivate and yet en masse they provide the necessary support systems for the endurance of a life. Noopolitics manifests as the bare life of data in the unholy hybrid of individual and dividual hooked into a reticulated network of stoppages and flows. The network obscures the capsuleWe dont live in the network, we live in capsules.  And yet, can it be stated with such ease where life is supposed to be located? Is it not rather more distributed? Container technologies speak to the reticulated distribution of life, any life whatever, both containment and supply.
In closing, it is crucial to acknowledge a debt to other noourbanographical experiments. I also note in passing by way of explanatory remark that I have deliberately deployed the singular/plural personal pronoun you, for it carves out a vacated subject position. Who are you?
First, I acknowledge what I have learnt from the work of Helen Runting, also with the design studio Secretary International (Karin Matz, Rutger Sjgrim, Helen Runting). The critical design experiments they have been undertaking include the compilation of architectural data to make an account, for instance, of the continuous surface of the welfare state.  and before that in an earlier studio formation called Svensk Standard a cross-section through plans for multi-residential high-rise developments in Stockholm, Sweden in the year 2014. In Bygglovsboken the Svenk Standard team compiled what they call an uncurated catalogue of Unfiltered raw data, cross-sectional expos  revealing the organization of the life of the interior. They construct architectural data-bases to render evident the outcomes of collective thinking at the scale of a local population. In such undertakings, including my own, the challenge of how best to follow the material is a crucial consideration.
Second, in their recent critical design experiment commissioned for the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture, Alessandro Bosshard, Li Tavor, Matthew van der Ploeg, and Ani Vihervaa speculate on views of the distinctly Swiss unfurnished interior, which they artfully mash together in a multi-scalar fun-house spatial collage. The popular and award-winning Svizzera 240: House Tour project includes in its documentation an index of interior images, a database compiling a cross-section through the unfurnished interiors of the Swiss context. Ceiling heights range around a 240cm average, hence the title of their project, with two exceptions to prove the rule, ceilings of 360cm and 544cm. Drawing on amassed data their approach is one of critical demonstration. With this data, as they explain, instead of representing building, they build representations.  Beyond visualizing they manufacture spatio-material condensation machines of the contemporary (Swiss) interior. In the database of images of the unfurnished interiors, from which their spatial collage is derived, there is expressed a predominance of white walls, low ceilings, and a resounding emptiness. These qualities present the conceit of a blank canvas upon which to compose your life. But the key observation concerns the homogenous consistency, and the prevalence of the 240cm ceiling height: what sort of norms, of preconceived ideas and feelings, are such images intended to convey?  Less than any intention, there is simply effect produced, the unwitting spatial thinking-together of a localized population.
Even if adopted with regional variations, you can assume that such effects are globally multiplied. They are effects we are now obliged to environmentally contend with. Philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers often repeats the Deleuzian imperative: You must think by the milieu.  But what happens when the milieu begins to think you? Stengers warns of a coming barbarism in terms of our unthinking together.  Against this tide counter-moves are required that are environmental as well as cognitive: Think we must!
About the Author:
Architectural theorist and philosopher, writer and critic, Professor Hlne Frichot (PhD) is the Director of Critical Studies in Architecture, School of Architecture, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) Stockholm, Sweden. Her research examines the transdisciplinary field between architecture and philosophy, with an emphasis on feminist theories and practices. In 2020 she joins the Faculty of Architecture, Construction and Planning, University of Melbourne, Australia as Professor of Architecture and Philosophy. She is the author of Creative Ecologies: Theorizing the Practice of Architecture (Bloomsbury 2018) and How to Make Yourself a Feminist Design Power Tool (AADR 2016).
"Urban Interactions": Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (Shenzhen) - 8th edition. Shenzhen, China
Opening in December, 2019 in Shenzhen, China, "Urban Interactions" is the 8th edition of the Bi-City Biennale of UrbanismArchitecture (UABB). The exhibition consists of two sections, namely Eyes of the City and Ascending City, which will explore the evolving relationship between urban space and technological innovation from different perspectives. The Eyes of the City" section features MIT professor and architect Carlo Ratti as Chief Curator and Politecnico di Torino-South China University of Technology as Academic Curator. The "Ascending City" section features Chinese academician Meng Jianmin and Italian art critic Fabio Cavallucci as Chief Curators.
"Eyes of The City" section
Chief Curator:Carlo Ratti.
Academic Curator: South China-Torino Lab (Politecnico di Torino - Michele Bonino; South China University of Technology - Sun Yimin)
Executive Curators:Daniele Belleri [CRA], Edoardo Bruno, Xu Haohao
Curator of the GBA Academy:Politecnico di Milano (Adalberto Del Bo)
"Ascending City" section
Chief Curators:Meng Jianmin, Fabio Cavallucci
Co-Curator:Science and Human Imagination Center of Southern University of Science and Technology (Wu Yan)
Executive Curators:Chen Qiufan, Manuela Lietti, Wang Kuan, Zhang Li
We Are Probably Living in a Simulation, Here’s What You Need to Know About Simulation Theory – Interesting Engineering
Posted: April 21, 2020 at 7:47 pm
Say what you want about the entire trilogy and the upcoming sequels, most would agree that the Matrix is one of the best science fiction films in history. Earning $463 million from worldwide ticket sales after its release on March 31, 1999, the Matrix became a pop culture phenomenon. The film's plot, action, writing, cinematography, and perfectly cast actors make this film an enjoyable ride from start to finish.
However, one of the most memorable takeaways from the film, aside from Keanu Reeves, is the idea about the true nature of reality, posing the question, what if life is simply just a simulation? Though fans of the Matrix will not deny some of the film's heady philosophy, this question has plagued philosophers and scientists for millennia. And, the thing is, you actually might be living in a simulation.
Humanity has always seemed to have a healthy distrust for the nature of reality, with philosophers leading the charge in this mind-melting territory. Yet, believe it or not, there is a group of scientists from leading institutions like MIT and Oxford who have a lot to say about our reality and the idea that we may all be living in a computer simulation. Now, before we jump any further into simulation theory or the simulation hypothesis, it is good to mention that this is more of a thought experiment rather than cold hard facts.
There are some compelling arguments out there for simulation theory, but that is because the overarching idea is unfalsifiable. This means that you are confidently asserting that a theory or hypothesis is true or false even though the hypothesis cannot possibly be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of any physical experiment, usually without strong evidence or functional reasons. So until you find out you are the One like Neo, do not try anything too crazy.
The idea of simulation theory can be attributed to the prominent Oxford University philosopher Nick Bostrom. In a paper aptly dubbed, "Are you Living in a Computer Simulation?," the paper argues that one of the following assumptions are true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a "posthuman" stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history; (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. In short, the paper argues that we can not know for sure if any of these are 100% likely to occur without a doubt.
However, according to the paper, the third option is probably the most probable outcome. In short, our great great great great great great grandchildren will probably have the computing power needed to run evolutionary simulations of humanity. Why would they not? And, how would you know that you are not currently part of that simulation? Ponder that for a second.
"Many works of science fiction, as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists, predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations," says Bostrom.
"Apart from the interest, this thesis may hold for those who are engaged in futuristic speculation; there are also more purely theoretical rewards. The argument provides a stimulus for formulating some methodological and metaphysical questions, and it suggests naturalistic analogies to certain traditional religious conceptions, which some may find amusing or thought-provoking."
Bostrom is not the only person that believes that we are living in a simulation. MIT Developer and Play Labs's Executive Director Rizwan Virk expanded on Bostrom's ideas in his book The Simulation Hypothesis, describing what he calls the "Simulation Point," or the moment at which we could realistically build a Matrix-like simulation. In an interview with Digital Trends, Rizwan Virk describes his interpretation of simulation theory stating, "The basic idea is that everything we see around us, including the Earth and the universe, is part of a very sophisticated MMORPG (a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) and that we are players in this game. The hypothesis itself comes in different forms."
The French philosopher Ren Descartes once said, "It is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all of my perceptions are false." As mentioned above, the nature of reality has been pondered by philosophers for millennia. In fact, some of the ideas presented in the simulation theory parallel some of the overarching ideas presented in history's most significant philosophical lessons. Though Plato or Descartes were probably not thinking about the Matrix, many people have noted that simulation theory is a modern iteration of Plato's Allegory of the Cave or Descartes's evil demon hypothesis.
This is probably not the first time you have heard about simulation theory. The hypothesis about our reality has made its way into pop culture, appearing in everything from popular subreddits to tv shows and films. More notably, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elon Musk have both welcomed and embraced the theory. In an interview with NBC News, Neil deGrasse Tyson expressed that there is probably a better than 50-50 odds that the simulation hypothesis is correct, stating, "I wish I could summon a strong argument against it, but I can find none." This also echoes a similar sentiment that Musk shares toward the nature of our reality.
At the Code Conference in 2016, Musk stated, "Forty years ago we had Pong two rectangles and a dot. That's where we were. Now 40 years later, we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously, and it's getting better every year. And soon we'll have virtual reality, we'll have augmented reality," said Musk. "If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality."
"If one progresses at the current rate of technology a few decades into the future, very quickly, we will be a society where artificial entities are living in simulations that are much more abundant than human beings." However, not everyone fully embraces the idea of simulation theory. In an interview with the Guardian, Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at MIT stated that "Is it logically possible that we are in a simulation? Yes. Are we probably in a simulation? I would say no."
"In order to make the argument in the first place, we need to know what the fundamental laws of physics are where the simulations are being made. And if we are in a simulation, then we have no clue what the laws of physics are." Nevertheless, Tegmark went on to state that recognizing that, we are probably living in a simulation is as game-changing as Copernicus realizing that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
Those who have jumped down the rabbit hole have pointed to various scientific phenomena, claiming that these are visible signs that we are living in a simulation. So, what are they?
This is the most obvious. You have probably played games like Sid Meyer's Civilization or even Sims. These games allow us to simulate human life on a global scale or within a small neighborhood. As mentioned above, at the rate at which computing power is growing, what is stopping humans from simulating their history? As a nineties or eighties baby, you have watched games evolve into these photorealistic 3D renderings of reality. Computing power in just the next 50 years will be millions of times more powerful than it is today. Harvard's Odyssey computer can already simulate 14 billion years in just a matter of months.
Do you ever wonder why humans have not come in contact with aliens yet? In the vast, unimaginable size of the universe, why are there not more signs of intelligent life out there? Welcome to the Fermi Paradox. Named after the Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi, the Fermi Paradox is the apparent contradiction between the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations and various high estimates for their probability, ie, the Drake Equation. Perhaps there are no aliens in this simulation? In this current reality, the easiest thing to do for the people behind the simulation is to simply simulate life in just one place in the universe. The universe might have just been created for us.
Scientists like Nuclear physicist Zohreh Davoudi and NYU David Chalmers have made it very clear that the chances of us living in a simulation are most likely very low. Even more so, how would you go about proving that you live in a simulation? As David Chalmers simply puts, "You're not going to get proof that we're not in a simulation, because any evidence that we get could be simulated."
Do you ever experience something and think to yourself, "This can't be real." To some people who have bought into the notion that our reality is currently being simulated, there are examples all around us, that demonstrate glitches in the Matrix. Deja Vu? Ghosts? The Mandela Effect? These could all be direct examples of flaws in the simulation. Some have simply pointed to the most recent events in history as proof that we are currently living in a simulation. Could the Coronavirus be an indication that we are living in a simulation?
MIT Theoretical physicist James Gates has made a discovery that allegedly caused Neil deGrasse Tyson to sit down in shock. Now for the uninitiated, superstring theory is a concept that could unify all aspects of physics if proven right. While working on his superstring theory, he made an odd discovery. Gates claims to have identified what appears to be actual computer code embedded in the equations of string theory that describe the fundamental particles of our universe. In short, he found "error-correcting codes," the same error-correcting codes that you might find on the web browser you are using right now.
So if we are currently living in the universe that is being simulated by some highly intelligent individuals, should we care? No, not really. Life continues to go on. You will continue to work, eat, sleep, and worry about COVID-19. Simulation theory is a fun thought experiment that tackles a question about reality that has plagued us since humanity existed.
As Nick Bostrom so aptly put it, "If we are living in a simulation, then the cosmos that we are observing is just a tiny piece of the totality of physical existence While the world we see is, in some sense' real,' it is not located at the fundamental level of reality."
Nevertheless, Douglas Adams in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, perfectly states, "There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
What do you think about simulation theory? Do you think that it is plausible?
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Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:57 pm
Quick News Bites
A record number of entries has confirmed the strength of childrens books in Australia as the Childrens Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announces its Book of the Year Award Notables List.
CBCA National Chair Professor Margot Hillel OAM said the 2020 Notables List was drawn from 517 entries and is 'arguably the most diverse award longlist in Australia'.
Our Notable books are set in small towns and big cities in Australia and overseas. They take us from the ocean to the bush, telling stories of Indigenous, immigrant, disabled, LGBTQI+ and elderly characters. Many were created by own voice writers and illustrators.
'There are genre books that break the rules, such as fantasy crossed with science fiction, history and mystery. Romance that isnt just for girls. Sports books that arent really sports books.'
The 2020 Notables include favourite childrens authors Emily Rodda, Jackie French and Paul Jennings as well as Tim Flannery, the acclaimed scientific writer and conservationist making his first foray into writing for young people.
Visit the CBCA for the Book of the Year Award Notables full list.
Renewal SA has chosen Australian artist James Geurts to deliver a significant public artwork in the heart of the Adelaide Riverbank.
The 25-metre long sculptural piece will be integrated into the ceiling of the new northern entrance to the Adelaide Railway Station which will run beneath SkyCity Casinos new hotel building and link the Railway Station concourse to the Riverbank Footbridge.
Geurts artwork will be made up of dozens of sculptural elements which will create a three-dimensional illusion of an ancient geological formation and rupture as pedestrians move in and out of the station.
The new station entrance will be a grand arcade featuring a series of intersecting vaults arching down to the ground, new retail spaces and a new entrance to the Dunstan Playhouse. It is part of a broader program of works set to transform Adelaide Railway Station and Festival Plaza.
Geurts was awarded the commission following an Expression of Interest process which yielded submissions from artists from all over Australia and overseas. The selection process was overseen by a Public Art Fabrication and assembly of the artwork will commence in early 2020 with the big reveal to take place in late 2020.
James Geurts installingWater Gate, at Kuandu Museum of Fine Art, Taiwan, 2017. Image supplied.
Talks & Opportunities
Art lovers have the opportunity to engage with 21 artists, to see how they work and what inspires them in addition to buying their art as part of the Pittwater Artists Trail (PAT) in Sydney.
Each year in March and October PAT artists collectively open their studios to the public to create a trail for art lovers.During the weekend, artists offer visitors the opportunity to learn techniques through courses and demonstrations.
Victoria Norman will be running hands-on demonstrations of sculptural products and chalk paint uses at 12pm on both days at her store and studio: Made in Design, 64 Darley Street, Mona Vale.
Pitwatter Artists Trail is on from 7-8 March 2020.
Fiona Verity is an artist participating in the Pittwater Artists Trail. Image supplied.
IMA School is a new professional development series that seeks to help emerging artists navigate the world of contemporary art. In this hands-on workshop series key artists, academics, and arts workers will share insights, resources, and offer practical advice on how to build a sustainable art practice.
The 5-week course runs Tuesdays 6-8pm, commencing 10 March. Registration costs $99 for five weekly intimate group sessions with discounts available for IMA Members.
Visit IMA School to find out about their new professional development series
Kickstarting conversations about everything from climate anxiety to toxic corporate feminism, Griffin Theatres Company's Batch Festival is a three-week fiesta of shows by some of the freshest, wildest and most inventive artists in the country.
An exciting new batch of theatremakers, storytellers, poets and performance artists from across Australia will take over Griffins iconic Stables stage and beyond, showcasing their wares from 17 April 2 May.
A later time-slot of hand-picked nocturnal performers, joke-makers and raconteurs will take over the stage from 10 pm.
Between shows, audiences can sign up for Unkiss Me, an intimate, participatory art-game for two, or witness Kush, a hilarious micro-drama for three in the backseat of a Toyota. And craft beer will again be flowing in the foyer, courtesy of Batch Brewing Company.
With four world premieres, Beethovens 250th anniversary, plus a number of Australian debuts, the 30th anniversary program of The Australian Festival of Chamber Music (AFCM) will be something to celebrate.
Themed Carnival, the 30th AFCM will celebrate an extraordinary generation of music making in the north as well as the 25th anniversary of Australias famed Goldner String Quartet and the 250th anniversary of Beethoven!
Taking place from 31 July to 9 August in Townsville, 47 artists will perform over the 10-days, including 31 Australian artists and 16 international artists, with four making their Australian debut.
In a musical coup for the event, four world premieres and 11 Australian premieres will be performed as part of over 125 pieces being played in total.
In the third and final AFCM under the artistic direction of celebrated British pianist Kathryn Stott, the line-up will include British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason who shot to fame globally after performing at the wedding of Harry and Meghan in May 2018, British flute player Adam Walker, violinists Alexander Sitkovetsky (Russia), Amalia Hall (NZ), and Lise Berthaud (France) plus more.
The Festival will also welcome its youngest ever artist, 12-year-old Melbourne violinist Christian Li. He made history last year by becoming the youngest ever winner of the Menuhin Competition, the worlds leading competition for violin players under 22.
Of the 2020 program, Stott said, We have music spanning centuries and continents, and exciting commissions and premieres all mixed into a joyous potpourri of the most celebrated chamber music repertoire ever written.
Stonnington Jazz Festival returns for its 15th year with 11 days of red-hot, all-Australian jazz across multiple Melbourne venues.
From 7 to 17 May 2020 the Festival will present a dynamite program of performances and events across multiple venues with Chapel Off Chapel serving as the festival hub, packed with stunning shows, interactive events and immersive experiences.
The authentic jazz club experience will come alive in the Lana Turner Lounge, inspired by the speakeasies of the 1920s to allow audiences to enjoy intimate performances of everything from swing and blues to late-night funk and soul. Highlights in the Lana Turner Lounge include: Arabesk, an award-winning, Sydney-based four-piece ensemble that will lift spirits with a mix of tango, reggae and funky jazz beats on Thursday 14 May, 9pm. An intoxicating show that journeys through Eastern Europes Gypsy Classical traditions with a backdrop of African and Arabic beats, before spinning into Motown Rhythms and Cuban Jazz.
This years festival embraces new generations of amazing Australian talent while honouring the timeless mastery of the jazz greats. Creative Producers Nichaud Fitzgibbon and Stephen McAllan have curated a program that encompasses the many and diverse genres that make up jazz, taking listeners on a round- the-world musical journey from New Orleans and New York to Polynesia, Brazil and even further afield.
Following a sold-out event and record-breaking crowd of 10,000 people at the 2019 event, a third stage will be added to this years festival, treating music fans of all ages to 10 hours of non-stop, live music.
This years lineup includes: Chillinit, Hayden James, Jack River, JessB (NZ), The Jungle Giants, Missy Higgins, Odette, Thelma Plum and Winston Surfshirt will be making their Peoples Choice Bassinthegrass debut, along with many more national acts at the Northern Territorys biggest and longest running music festival
Pierre Dalp, Wigstock Shotgun Wedding, Head On Photo Festival 2020.
Entering its 11th year, Sydneys Head On Photo Festival has unveiled the first 20 exhibitions to headline the 2020 edition, presented from 2-17 May.
Featuring both international and Australian artists, the Festival will span eight locations in Sydney including Paddington Town Hall, Paddington Reservoir Gardens, NSW Parliament House and for the first time a series of open-air exhibitions along the boardwalk of Bondi Beach.
Highlighting the extraordinary diversity of photography as a medium through thought-provoking exhibitions, the Festival will feature contemporary fine art photography, portraiture and photojournalism by artists from France, Guatemala, Japan, Greece, Germany, South Korea, The Netherlands, United States of America, United Kingdom, China, Canada and Australia.
Amongst the topics addressed in these free and ticketed exhibitions are: the urgency of climate change, the precious but fleeting nature of childhood, the beauty of old age, the rise of anti-immigration groups, the devastation of war, identity politics, and the value inherent and ascribed of the selfie.
Head On Festival Director Moshe Rosenzveig OAM said: Head Ons international scope and agility as an independent organisation allow us to present world class exhibitions that place the work of established Australian and internationally recognised artists alongside those of emerging talent. Our 2020 headline exhibitions promise, as always, an incredible banquet of topical themes that are deeply relevant to our everyday lives.'
Visit Head On 2020 for more information about this year's festival.
Around the galleries
Melbourne Art Fair has announced its list of esteemed galleries taking part in the 2020 fair, presenting a mix of new and iconic works.
Twice the footprint of the previous fair, the 16th edition continues its focus on solo shows and large-scale installations where galleries will be presenting the best selection of contemporary art across four days from 18-21 June 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
Yavuz Gallery (Singapore/Sydney), Mizuma & Kips (New York/Tokyo), and James Makin Gallery (Melbourne) are just some of the new galleries to feature in this years art fair.
Gallery exhibitions will be complemented by a new sector for 2020 titled Beyond. Harnessing the monumental exhibition spaces of the venue, six galleries will present large-scale installations and spatial interventions in mediums as varied virtual reality, kinetic sculpture and performative installations.
Visit Melbourne Art Fair for more information on the event taking place from18-21 June 2020 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Rather than an exhibition that exclusively presents women artists, Making Her Mark : Selected Works from the Collectionoffers a new appraisal of the work of leading women artists. held in the collection of TarraWarra Museum of Art.
The exhibition, opening on 29 February, includes the work of male artists in the form of unexpected pairings to present a nuanced conversation about image, composition and mark-making where women take centre stage. Taking the themes of works by female artists as its starting point such as the role of memory, a connection to the Australian landscape and the pursuit of abstraction art by women is not seen as a category, but as a catalyst.
Presented in thematic clusters, the exhibition includes works by artists such as Davida Allen, Yvonne Audette, Kate Beynon, which is then paired with the work of the artists' male contemporaries including Howard Arkley, Ralph Balson, Charles Blackman, Robert Klippel plus others.
Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art and exhibition curator, said, The title of the exhibition refers to both the fact that women artists have well and truly made their mark on Australian art as well as highlighting the techniques and processes of mark-making, whereby visitors can engage with the numerous ways in which the artists have incorporated images, gestures, colour and texture in their work.
Making Her Mark: Selected Works from the Collection is on display at TarraWarra Museum of Art from 29 February to 16 April 2020.
Internationally acclaimed Australian performance artist Stelarc has a new provocative exhibition that examines a world where technology, medicine and engineering collide.
STELARC: Posthuman Bodies questions the future of human biology while tracing the artists groundbreaking practice over nearly 50 years.
Known for his radical and experimental investigations that probe the physical limits of human experience, Stelarcs survey exhibition presented by Flinders University Museum of Art (FUMA) includes diagrams, video and photography of the artists previous performance works and engineered prosthetics which have been integral to them.
One of the most celebrated artists in the world working at the cutting edge of art and technology, the show traces Stelarcs speculative and groundbreaking practice from the 1970s to the present day, said Fiona Salmon, Director of FUMA.
Bringing together these works for the first time in Adelaide, ironically the city that shut down the artists earliest attempted suspension performance in 1975, will enable audiences to contemplate the broader language of Stelarcs oeuvre and trajectory of his ideas.
Posthuman Bodies also serves as an essential companion to Stelarcs latest work commissioned by the Art Gallery South Australia (AGSA) for the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Monster Theatres. Made in collaboration with the Australian Industrial Transformation Institute (AITI) at Flinders University, FESTO (a global leader for automation technology) and consulting engineer Wayne Michell (from Ternay Pty Ltd), the colossal nine-metre pneumatically powered stick figure will be on display at the Art Gallery of SA from 29 February to 8 June.
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Posted: January 26, 2020 at 11:58 pm
It seems as if people (including me) always look for ways to avoid responsibility for what they make out of their lives. From time to time, I have been tempted to choose from a vast variety of cop-outs. Each one promised me freedom from responsibility for what was happening in my life. Because of my lack of spiritual maturity, I bought into one or more of these. Im convinced that people need to take more responsibility for the messes they make of their lives.
Research findings in genetics over the past few years make it more necessary than ever for people of faith to own up to their own responsibility. It seems as if every month researchers discover a new gene that has a direct bearing on how people behave. Everything from congeniality, criminal impulses, and IQ, to sexual preference is attributed to our genes.
Genetic explanations are the rage today. Nature slowly becomes more important than nurture. As the neuroscientific view of life moves to the forefront of the academic world, if we are not careful, society will begin to worship at the feet of biogenetics, making us slaves to our genes. This does not present a good future scenario.
The implications of the genetic sciences on faith should cause concern for several reasons. First, experience teaches us that many people will respond to genetic engineerings success in one of two ways. Either we will ignore it or we will approach it as an enemy of our faith and ignite another religious fight against science. We know all too painfully how neither response prepares us for the future.
Second, it may hasten the day of the posthuman or cyborg. At the very time when high touch and relationships are needed more than ever, genetic engineering threatens to greatly expand the divisions in the faith.
Third, it gives people a wonderful cop-out for their sins. Cant you just hear the cry, My genes made me do it. This is my greatest fear for genetic research, because this response is likely to vitally affect us more than the first two concerns. We dont need much of an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for our lives.
Over the next few years, the entire human genetic structure will be fully mapped out. We already know that our present drugs could fundamentally affect about 5,000 genes. Futurists already speculate about when parents-to-be can select the specific genes they prefer in their babies-to-be.
So I feel responsible for communicating one of the greatest lessons I have learned from Jesus: I am responsible for everything that I do. It is never acceptable to make excuses for my actions. Think with me for a moment of all of the excuses people have conjured up over the centuries.
The first excuse that comes to mind is The devil made me do it. Wow! Who am I to challenge cosmic forces? Naturally, I am prone to go with this one. However, one may say that experience has taught me not to believe in a devil even though I deal with evil every day. Think that one through! Religion can be one of the easier routes to copping out.
Many people blame their life on kismet: Its all in the stars. Again, who am I to tempt fate? This one is harder for me because in some sense we are victims of some form
of fate. Or are we? Is it possible that we even contribute to our fate? Consider the death of Princess Di. Was it fate or poor judgment?
One of the classic cop-outs I often hear is Im just a layperson. This one makes my blood boil. Did Jesus die so that someone could say, Im just a layperson? We all know better, but we still use the excuse. Allowing this cop-out to continue is one of the most immoral actions of our time. Laity are Gods gifts to the world. All of us are laity. If the truth be known, little room is left in this world for laity and clergy. Arent all people of faith called to some form of ministry? Isnt it time we clergy give up our union and replace it with pursuit of the Gospel?
Over the last decade, clergys favorite cop-out had been Its the systems fault. Restructure our church or denomination and all will be well. Most established mainline denominations have bought into this one hook, line, and sinker. But all the restructuring in the world will not overcome a lack of passion or commitment to God. All we do is rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Who makes up the system? We do. We need to get our act together.
What about youths favorite response to their parents: Everyone else is doing it. I used that one a few times myself. Or what about many parents favorite excuse during the 1970s: Im OK; youre OK. Remember that best-seller? Age doesnt seem to matter when it comes to copping out. All of us have played this game, havent we? Which one is your favorite cop-out?
The powers and principalities with which we wrestle may be our own genes, but Jesus offers us an alternative to making excuses when he tells us that we will do greater things than he did. Oh, I know he didnt know about genetics, but that doesnt matter. He knew the heart of God and that God doesnt make junk. That is more important than genetics. Sin can alter genetics. Jesus knew that if we take him seriously, we can be more than just the highest species of animal life on this planet. He knew were destined for more than a cop-out existence.
For most of my life I failed to see the importance of the Fall and especially the concept of total depravity. Based on a lifetime of experience, I am beginning to see another picture. I still believe that humans are basically good to the core, but at the same time I am now convinced that we are also rotten to the core.
The only thing that separates the rottenness from the good is the grace of God. We need to emphasize this grace more. God can make a difference, in spite of our genes. God overcomes the power of our gene pool! Isnt that the ultimate form of redemption?
What, then, is the response of healthy people of faith to genetic engineering? Genetic research will lead to resurgent interest in the concepts of holiness and discipleship. In an attempt to say No to our genes, people of faith will begin to see a new dimension of relevance for faith, offsetting the power of our genes. As a recovering alcoholic takes life one step at a time, people who yearn for a God-centered or ethical life will turn to the church as the nurturer of such a life.
This nurture will go far beyond what we call nurture today. It will not be a form of spiritual hand-holding or spiritual hangnail-fixing. It will be a nurture that helps people truly overcome their sin and triumph over their genes. Perhaps this is part of whats happening today in the renewal of emphasis on lay mobilization and spiritual gifts. Churches are challenging the fatalistic attitude of our time instead of copping out once again. Its about time.
Well, whats it going to be? Are you going to join the crowd and cop out, or are you going to hear Jesus say that you will do greater works than these? How responsible are you to the claims and call of God?
Dr. Fred Andrea, retired Pastor of Aikens First Baptist Church, is serving as Pastor of Clinton United Methodist Church in Salley.
Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:09 am
Aroussiak Gabrielian, an assistant professor at the School of Architecture, has created the first wearable garden, which comprises a vest that can grow a variety of herbs and vegetables using human waste as a fertilizer. Gabrielian is the co-founder and director of design at Foreground Design Agency and developed the vest as a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. The vest is currently part of a joint exhibition entitled Human (un)limited by Hyundai Motorstudio and Ars Electronica in Beijing.
In a CBC Radio interview, Gabrielian described how the wearable garden works. The seeds are set on a layer of moisture retention fabric. Left uncovered, it takes around two weeks for the base material, which are microgreens, to grow.
The wearable garden falls within the area of agriculture called hydroponics, which, according to Grant Calderwood, a microgreens collaborator on the project and managing member of Hortus Research, is the growing of plants in water and nutrients. The vest also captures urine from the wearer via catheter to be filtered through a process called forward osmosis, which was developed by NASA and is used in space to convert urine into portable drinking water and eventually delivered to the crops as irrigation.
Gabrielian described wearing the vest as a multi-sensory feeling because of its weight and the way it is built. The vest has to be watered and serves as an insulator because of the amount of plant material that covers it. It also has a distinct smell of vegetables, such as cabbages and radishes, that are grown on it.
I think, you know, what is really special about Arrousiaks project, is that it captures the imagination, said Calderwood, who is also a Yale University lecturer on sustainability. Like theres the level of excitement when people see the jacket up close, growing with food on it.
The inspiration for the vest first came to Gabrielian when she began breastfeeding her first daughter. Gabrielian was also influenced by Rosi Braidottis book The Posthuman, which poses the question, What would a geo-centred subject look like?
These ideas, of cooperation and collaboration with the more-than-human world, along with the experience post-birth, triggered the idea for the project: to use the human body and systems to feed more than just our kin, Gabrielian wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan.
Gabrielian said climate change is either described at the planetary scale or the microscopic scale, which both take place outside of the realm that humans respond or relate to.
I feel like the issues are either too big for us to really grasp at the human scale or too small, Gabrielian said. And so, in my work what Ive tried to do is kind of tap into those and bring those to the scale of the body to actually have you have a palpable experience of either.
While in Rome, Gabrielian worked with a vast team to develop the project, including a local fashion designer, a seamstress and Calderwood as well as Chris Behr, a chef with the Rome Sustainable Food Project and Alison Hirsch, a School of Architecture associate professor and Gabrielians design partner.
The time in Rome was spent conducting plant tests, hunting down material, working with fashion designers and collaborating with the Rome Sustainable Food Project to get the vest ready.
It was a wonderful adventure and the project has continued to develop under Aroussiaks leadership since weve been back, Hirsch wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan.
The wearable garden has received much media attention, some of which frames the wearable garden as a commodity.
Even the way its been framed in some of the news articles is that its a thing, Gabrielian said. Its like a product Its been kind of bizarre to see the kind of life its taken in the media.
The wearable garden is one prototype out of three in Gabrielians dissertation doctoral work, which is currently being developed and will have three chapters with three associated prototypes. Gabrielian said that all of the work tries to interrogate the position of the human in our environmental future and what they will be.
Gabrielian said there are several possible avenues for the project in the future, including quantifying the health effects, quantifying carbon outputs or using the mechanical element of the project to equip the vest with sensors that could regulate the moisture content and access to sunlight. Another route is automating the vest so that its self-sustaining.
There is that moment where its, you know, it was meant to be a speculative project, but all these people are interested in the real thing, Gabrielian said. So theres this weird kind of dilemma, you know? Do I go there? Do I make it more real? Or do I let it kind of live in this weird in-between space? That, I havent yet kind of served for.
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Posted: December 25, 2019 at 11:48 pm
2019 has been one of the biggest years in heavy music in recent memory, with heavyweights such as Tool, Slipknot and Rammstein dropping long-awaited new albums, while trailblazing up-and-comers pushed boundaries in their own right. For their part, industrialized hardcore outfitHarm's Wayreleased the remix EPPSTHMN, which reimagined cuts off their excellent2018 album, Posthuman, and toured relentlessly in support of both. When we we asked vocalist James Pligge to share some his favorite music from the year, he came back with a group effort."Because we are always in a van together we usually all consume music as a band, I decided to get a collaborative list of all Harm's Way's favorite albums of 2019," the vocalist responded."This list is in no particular order and is just some records we really enjoyed at home and on the road in 2019."
Probably one of the biggest records to come from the hardcore and metal world this year was A Different Shade of Blue. This record is very catchy and heavy and offers a combination of Nineties hardcore and modern metalcore. I think it has created a movement in which many people from different musical backgrounds can get behind. Its impact on heavy music and well-constructed metallic hardcore makes it one of the best heavy records of 2019.
I have always been a fan of Division of Mind from Richmond and this LP is no different. This record is just a perfect combination of truly angry music with d-beat and mosh parts. It reminds me of a heavier Left for Dead or the Swarm. One thing that always resonates with me is vocalists that are able to convey their hatred or anger through the vocals of a record, and I think this record is able to do that very well.
This record reminds me of some of the early 2000s Western Massachusetts bands like Think I Care. As a person who got really into hardcore in the early 2000s, this record is almost nostalgic-like to me. I just really enjoy the combination of well-done fast parts and heavily distorted breakdowns, and it was a pleasure to hear these songs live night in and night out on our tour together in August.
I came across this from a fellow Hate Force member. Finding death metal that is new and interesting can sometimes be a challenge, but Vomit Forth was able to keep my attention. In my opinion, this album sounds like a combination of old Dying Fetus, Suffocation and Devourment, but less technical. At times it also remind me of Internal Bleeding, especially with the heavier breakdowns mixed with the traditional death-metal parts. Lucky for them, that style of deathmetal is one of my favorites, and this record really stands apart from a lot of the monotony that is out there.
If you offered me a million dollars to pronounce this band's name correctly, I would most definitely fail. I really enjoy slow, Neanderthal-like deathmetal, and this band does this extremely well. Although this record is only four songs, I think it's truly one of the best death-metal records I have heard in a long time. If you like slower death metal with d-beat parts and sludgy breakdowns like Disma, you should most certainly check this record out on Bandcamp.
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Moscows Garage Museum Starts Pioneering Online Art Venueand Its More Than a Museum on the Internet – ARTnews
Posted: December 13, 2019 at 2:56 pm
As artists experiment with the internet and digital media with increasing frequency, museums of all kinds are aiming to crack the code of how to display such art online to a wide audience. Now the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow is entering the field with an ambitious new effort.
Garage, which was founded by art collector Dasha Zhukova and her then-husband, billionaire Roman Abramovich, is starting a multi-pronged new initiative, Garage Digital, which will allow its curators to commission new digital artworks and offer historical context for old ones.
Part of the platforms role will be to support programming within the museums walls, and right now, in connection with The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 20302100, its survey exhibition about contemporary art and environmentalism, Garage Digital is hosting new works by artists Posthuman Studies Lab, Sascha Pohflepp with Matthew Lutz and Alessia Nigretti, Gints Gabrns, and James Ferraro and Ezra Miller.
Katya Inozemtseva, the senior curator of the Garage Museum and a member of Garage Digitals workgroup, said that the program is intended to shift the publics understanding of how art and technology interact. We arrived at the idea of sort of non-space, a digital limbo, where the new art could exist and be seen, she told ARTnews in an email. It lives on the logic of a feed and under the legislation of general experience of everyone who uses a smartphone with internet connection. Garage doesnt intend to create a digital ghetto or a museum on the internet. Were reacting to the transformed relationships between physical and digital realities.
The New Museums 2002 acquisition of the New York art-and-technology organization Rhizome serves as a precedent for Garages moves, but Garage Digital comes amid quick-moving changes in the field. Numerous shows about the internet have arrived at global art museums over the past few years, the Serpentine Galleries in London has started an augmented-reality program, and museum director Daniel Birnbaum left the Moderna Museet in Sweden to lead a company focused on virtual-reality works by artists.
Russia presents a particularly unique home for the project, given the countrys unique history with digital art. During the 1990s, many of the most important works from the net.art movement were being produced by Russian artists like Olia Lialina and Alexei Shulgin, who used digital interfaces to ponder the exchange of visual and political information online.
Inozemtseva said that Garage Digital will contextualize works by such pioneersand also aim to create new groundbreaking works through a grant program. Importantly, she said, the texts hosted on Garage Digitals site will appear in both English and Russian, in an attempt to stimulate researchers and scholars of younger generation to move forward, to use the optics and approaches of posthuman theory in order to invent/see/analyze various phenomena in our reality.
Among the initiatives Garage Digital has already started is one dedicated specifically to gaming. According to Inozemtseva, the divide between the digital sphere and everyday life is growing thinner, and games are offering new ways of immersing oneself in technological environments. With that in mind, the museum plans to commission works making use of video games and computer simulations.
But the political climate in Russia could be an obstacle for some of the programming Garage Digital has planned. In November, Russian politicians unveiled a plan to create a sovereign internet, effectively starting a network thats walled off from international countries. Experts have raised questions about whether the new plan could lead to increased censorship online in a way similar to Chinas Great Firewall. Inozemtseva did not seem worried, however.
We think that its more an ideological construct and political tool than a reality, she said of the sovereign internet plan. It definitely does not influence our programming and is not able to. Any regulation of this kind immediately appears absurd, and might be only used as a trigger for artistic production.