“If the expression ventured by Leroi-Gourhan is accepted, one could speak of a “liberation of memory”, of an exteriorization always already begun but always larger than the trace which, beginning from the elementary programs of so-called “instinctive” behavior up to the constitution of electronic card-indexes and reading machines, enlarges differance and the possibility of putting in reserve: it at once and in the same movement constitutes and effaces so-called conscious subjectivity, its logos, and its theological attributes.”
‘Of Grammatology’, Jacques Derrida
“The evolution of the “prosthesis”, not itself living, by which the human is nonetheless defined as a living being, constitutes the reality of the human’s evolution, as if, with it, the history of life were to continue by means other than life: this is the paradox of a living being characterized in its forms of life by the non-living – or by the traces that its life leaves in the non-living”
‘Technics and Time: The Fault of Epimetheus No. 1’, Bernard Stiegler
This first event, drawing from staff at Central Saint Martins, includes presentations by Mick Finch, Louisa Minkin, Daniel Rubinstein, Martin Westwood, Judy Willcocks and Elizabeth Wright, covering a range of diverse topics; Aby Warburg’s ‘Mnemosyne Atlas’; digital epistemology; anti-photography and non-representation; monuments, spolia and conserved ruins/follies; archival practice - cultural translation and digital democracy; chaîne opératoire and the copy. There will also be a new video presentation by Clunie Reid made specifically for the event.
The growth of digital databases, acting simultaneously as storage, circulation and calculation technologies, magnifies the artistic dialogue between authorship and automation; a socio-cultural dialogue familiar within the visual arts from the histories of photography and the readymade. Both of these historic ‘techniques’ drove a wedge into the traditional supports of aesthetic experience, communication and production. This is the bifurcating dialogue that will guide the structure of the three symposia, in order to ask questions of aesthetic theory’s robustness in the light of technological development. Whether we view technics either as extensions or as appropriations of human physiology, the question remains: how can aesthetics, mired in anthropocentric bias and organicist analogy, make space for the inorganic or the technical? Where now are we able to locate a spectator moving between the sentient human and the auxiliary non-human, but also between auxiliary human and the sentient non-human?
The three events bridge historical and contemporary techniques of collective memorisation. The alphabet; musical notation; micro-processing software; plaster-cast replicas of antique statues; 3D data capture and analysis; heritage industries; digital archives. These are all examples of forms of mnemo-technology, as derived from the architectural monument to the semi-conductor microchip - from the headstone to the hard drive - encompassing the tangible and the virtual. The events will explore mnemo-techniques as agents of storage, circulation and repetition, through analogy to an archaeological biography of the object, the successive stations of monument, spolia and conserved ruin.
10.00 Martin Westwood – Introduction
10.20 Elizabeth Wright – Chaines Operatoire and the copy
10.45 Mick Finch – Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas
11.30 Louisa Minkin – Digital Epistemology
11.55 Panel and audience discussion chaired by Martin Westwood
Lunch 12.45 – 1.45
1.45 Judy Willcocks – Archival Practice - Cultural Translation and Digital Democracy
2.10 Clunie Reid – Video presentation - The Given That Keeps on Givin'
2.25 Martin Westwood – Monument, Spolia, Ruin/Folly
3.10 Daniel Rubinstein – Non-photography and Anti-representation
3.35 Panel and audience discussion chaired by Louisa Minkin
The subsequent two symposia will take place at CSM on February 7th 2015, and The British School Rome in May 2015. Both will expand the range of this initial symposium consisting of contributions by external participants, engaging distinctions of method between history and archaeology to examine their differing potential for critical/artistic practice.
Derrida, Professor Jacques. Of Grammatology. Translated by Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. 1st American Ed edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977.
Stiegler, Bernard, Richard Beardsworth, and George Collins. Technics and Time: The Fault of Epimetheus No. 1. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1998.