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On the distribution of bodies in space
On the distribution of bodies in space

Stefan Hölscher (ed.), Gerald Siegmund (ed.)

Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity

The past years have seen a re-emergence of the need to think about and conceptualise the arts in general and dance in particular in terms of the political. Developments in globalised neo-liberal capitalism and the changes it has produced in the social fabric seem to beg for a statement of some kind from the artistic field. What is more, these changes increasingly affect the production and reception of dance itself, thereby laying bare the ideological underpinnings of its claim for...
  • performativity
  • body
  • globalization
  • politics
  • community
Current Texts

Claire Denis

Fragility is the only thing I really know about me

I am not a very balanced person. I am fragile and sad – almost as described in Triste Tropiques by Claude Lévi-Strauss. I feel both those adjectives, I grew up with them. I was aware of my fragility even when I was very young – a baby, learning to walk, living somewhere in Africa and already feeling that the number of white persons was very small compared to the number of black persons and also noticing that most of the black persons that I met were gardeners or maids. I felt – I am sure I am not lying – even at that very young age, not a sense of injustice, but a sort of guilt.

Guilt for what? My parents were nice people, they treated everyone well. My father was avidly learning languages, he spoke many African languages and also Pidgin English very well and he used to speak it...

  • subjectivity
  • film d'auteur
  • autofiction
  • identity
News + Events

Anthropocene Lecture: Bruno Latour

29.09.2017, 19:00

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin

New releases
Reiner Schürmann: Luther. The Origin of Modern Self-Consciousness
Ulrike Bergermann (ed.), Monika Dommann (ed.), ...: Connect and Divide
Claus Pias: Computer Game Worlds


Current Texts

Oliver Feltham

The time of theater and the time of the polis

Theater as a live art has a peculiarly complicated relation to time, and to the present, especially because sometimes it proves to be a mimetic art, and sometimes not. Not only is it a matter of the temporality of the theater itself, and then of the time of the play, and of the performance but it is also – and this since the original Greek dispensation of theater – a question of the time of the city, of the polis, of the community, if such a thing exists. 

The object of this paper is theater as the production of contemporaneity, a temporal phenomenon which also turns out to be corporeal and political. The material consists of two theatrical performances; one by Dario Fo, titled La Fame dello Zanni (The Servant’s Hunger) and performed in what appears to be a university lecture hall in 1977 for RAI Due, Italian state television, and the...

  • aesthetics
  • poetry
  • art
  • contemporary art
  • art criticism
Current Texts

Orit Halpern

Temporality, Rationality, Affect in Cybernetics

In 1948 on a conference on circuits and brains in Pasadena California, the prominent cybernetician and neural net pioneer Warren McCulloch addressed a room of the most prominent mathematicians, psychologists, and physiologists of the day. In his comments he sought to titillate his respectable audience by offering them a seemingly unintuitive analogy. Finite state automata, those models of calculative and computational reason, the templates for programming, the very seats of repetition, reliability, mechanical, logical and anticipatable behavior, were “psychotic” but brain-like.

These statements cannot, however, be thought in terms of human subjectivity or psychology. McCulloch, while trained as a psychiatrist, was not discussing patients in mental clinics. Rather he was responding to a famous paper delivered by the mathematician John von Neumann on logical automata. The psychiatrist had no intention to argue about the essential characteristics, the ontology, of machines or minds. He recognized that computers were not yet the same...

  • epistemology
  • logics
  • Cybernetics
  • affects
  • artificial intelligence


Photographs tend to suggest infinity
Photographs tend to suggest infinity

Siegfried Kracauer

The Photographic Approach (1951)

The photographic approach – that is, the effort to utilize the inherent abilities of the camera – is responsible for the particular nature of photographs. In the days of Zola and the Impressionists, the properties of photographs were commonly held to be the hallmarks of art in general; but no sooner did painting and literature break away from realism than these properties assumed an exclusive character. Since they depend upon techniques peculiar to the medium, they have remained stable throughout its evolution.... OPEN
  • History of photography
  • Siegfried Kracauer
  • film
  • photography
  • media theory
Current Texts

Felix Ensslin

Potentiality in Agamben

If we remember, lastly, Aristotle’s dictum, that “violent taking away of anything is called privation,” which in fact opens into the discussion of the workings of the alpha-privative, we can summarize the semantic scope of what “potentiality” contains in a preliminary way:

It refers to something numerically related to itself – i.e., not to a movement, and is as such not strictly of the order of “realization.” Rather it points, in modern language, to a self-relating. Yet, this is neither substance nor subject, but rather a kind of “in-between” (thus, maybe, a ghostly apparition of both, substance and subject.)

It refers to something best captured with a noun or adjective of the alpha-privative, heuristically understood analogously to the qualitative predicate of Kant’s infinite judgment. I add “heuristically” because, of course, in Kant, these are pure forms of thought (i.e. a priori and not concerned with the labor of getting between privation and negation...

  • ethics
  • politics
  • potentiality
  • justice
  • emancipation / liberation
Current Texts

Sebastian Vehlken

Between Segregation, Cooperation, and Craziness

Even if it became popular in the context of the algorithmitization of the behavior of social insects, the birthplace of the term Swarm Intelligence is in robotics. Even engineers are subject to discourse dynamics: When Gerardo Beni and Jing Wang gave a short presentation on Cellular Robots at a NATO robotics workshop in 1988, that is, on “groups of robots that could work like cells of an organism to assemble more complex parts,” commentators allegedly demanded a buzzword “to describe that sort of ‘swarm’.” As an effect, Beni and Wang published their paper under the header Swarm Intelligence in Cellular Robotic Systems, coining a term which in the following years was employed in biological studies and mathematical optimization problems before gaining traction in the mainstream of robotics several years ago. First, design approaches to distributed robot collectives were mainly inspired by research on social insects and relating computer simulation models...

  • Computer graphics
  • interface
  • interdisciplinarity
  • robot
  • swarm intelligence