[Air-L] International Symposim "The Secret Life of Objects: Media Ecologies"

Ricardo Oliveira poshumano at gmail.com
Mon Jun 8 15:17:00 PDT 2015

Dear friends,
bellow is the web address for the International Symposium "The Secret Life
of Objects: Media Ecologies" that will take place in São Paulo and Rio de
Janeiro in August, 2015 (3rd, 5th and 6th). We hope to have an English
version of the site very soon (and with more information). This one is in
Portuguese, but you can at least check the list of participants.
Erick Felinto.



There are strong indications that a significant transformation is underway
in the so-called “Human Sciences” (Geisteswissenschaften, sciences
humaines, Humanities).  After a period of intense crisis and uncertainty,
in which the Human Sciences have frequently sought to mirror or approach
the Natural and Physical Sciences, the first decades of the twenty-first
century have seen a broad renewal of disciplines, approaches and
methodologies. By questioning its traditional foundations, the Human
Sciences are reinventing themselves through a broad reconfiguration of its
borders and even of the notion of the “human” that has served as its
cornerstone. One of the areas where the wealth of this new scenario is most
clearly displayed is that of media studies. Spurred by the impact of new
digital technologies, media studies cleverly learned to appropriate the
epistemological principles and major theoretical issues that have come to
characterize the contemporary cultural scene. The objective of the Seminar
"The Secret Life of Objects: Media Ecologies" is to sketch a
systematization of this scenario from a transdisciplinary perspective, but
with a decisive focus on media theory, aesthetics, and cultural studies.
The main topic structuring the Seminar represents an emerging field that
cuts across different disciplines in the Humanities, from Sociology to
Philosophy, but acquires special meaning in the context of new media
studies. The underlying assumption is that we need to radically rethink the
notion of epistemic agency in a context where the action and impact of
objects, media and technological materialities have become increasingly
important. In this context, it is incumbent upon us to explore new (and
possibly less harmful) forms of relationship between human agents, nature,
and technology. Thus, it is not only necessary to investigate the place of
human actors in a world enriched by the life of polymorphic objects, but
also to highlight the issues that the strong humanities tradition of
hermeneutics has often obscured.  What new models of historical research of
techniques and culture are emerging within the current epistemological
paradigms? In what ways is the material dimension of experience combined
with the intangible dimensions of culture? In what sense does the category
of the human reconfigure itself in light of our new relations with objects
and nonhuman entities? How important is the legacy of the genealogy and
archeology of knowledge (Nietzsche, Foucault) to a perspectivization of the
impacts of "new" digital culture? Most importantly, by focusing on the idea
of “media ecologies”, we also hope to tackle issues that have become
pressing in the last years, such as ecological and climatological disaster
(including the disposability of the toxic materials used in our electronic
gadgets), the ongoing integration between media devices and urban spaces,
the development of new research techniques devoted to the analysis of our
media environments and the complex new forms of interrelation between
culture and nature. By means of interdisciplinary panels, in which
philosophers, anthropologists, artists and scientists will discuss with
experts in media studies, we intend to address these issues in order to
elaborate a preliminary cartography of an epistemological territory still
in its early stages of exploration.

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