Amber Case, Facing Forward, Manuel DeLanda

Facing Forward (lecture series) [updated]

De Appel Arts Centre/W139/Stedelijk Museum (and others) are presenting a highly interesting series of lectures under the heading of’Facing Forward’. Tonight Manuel DeLanda and Amber Case will discuss the post-human and virtual status of contemporary state-of-the-art technology. Other confirmed speakers include James Elkins, Paul Chan and Rem Koolhaas.

You can find more info on the subsequent talks and workshops on 

Yesterday’s Facing Forward talks of Amber Case and Manuel DeLanda were both very cyborgian – in both a socio-material and ‘genetic alghoritmic’ sense. They presented a sort of taxonomy of the future; a dissection of what-come-about but is still-not-yet present. Working as a ‘cyborg anthropologist’ Case talked of virtual intimacy, simulated presence etc. and sketched a very personal, but gloomy image of the way in which technology now, in the present, can be seen studied as if we ourselves are a foreign tribe (caring for and loving our electronic apparatus) – provided that the anthropologist can no longer ‘go back to his own world’ and reflect on the weirdness and otherness of this modern tribe, but is intimately wrapped up in it her/himself. She ended her talk by arguing for a much more entangled use of technology – a use in which the existence of technology is not something we stand up against and with regard to which we have to emphasize our human humanity, but can play with, relate to in a quasi-unconscious way.
Manuel DeLanda kindly disrupted this approach by going into the use of genetic alghorithms in art, design and architecture – surprisingly without much reference to Deleuze (as he did in one of his previous talks on this topic; see below). As he formulated it, his task was to introduce genetic algorithms to artists as a way to experiment with the, so to say, force of the virtual, the sought-for unexpectedness and randomness of algorithms. Apparantly, DeLanda is working on a new book on the history and philosophy of chemistry – and given yesterday’s talk I can’t wait to read it.