Medialab

Lecture Series

2021

Series 1

Art, Technology, and Philosophy (I)
Departing from the Microcosmos

Modernization brought forward two temporal dimensions: on the one hand, simultaneity, characterized by the synchronization and homogenization of knowledge through technological means; on the other hand, sequentiality, the development of knowledge according to an internal necessity, namely progress. The victory of the modern simultaneously implies an epistemological war across the globe in the past hundred years. Knowledge that remains incompatible with this temporalization process is excluded as pre-modern or non-modern. This opposition between the modern and the traditional has been historically approached from a duality: namely, taking one as the soul, the other as body; one as thought, the other as instrument. This dualist scheme has proved to be a failure because it is, in itself, a product of early modernity.

In China, the debate between Western medicine and Chinese medicine has been ongoing for many decades; however, the return to traditional knowledge shouldn’t be monopolized by nationalism, but rather it should be taken as an opportunity to rethink knowledge and its relationship to modernity, which might give us a glimpse of a possibility for configuring a new modern in several ways. Firstly, it reveals a cosmo-epistemic understanding of ten thousand beings, which deviates from the modern episteme, and whose significance remains yet to be fully explored. Secondly, its incompatibility with modern scientific knowledge could also be the source of inspiration and creativity. A regrounding of art, technology, and philosophy might shed light on the individuation of thinking that the epoch calls for.

Media Lab’s inaugural “Art, Technology, and Philosophy Lecture Series” consists of five lectures, a workshop and a symposium dedicated to the re-articulation of knowledge in the digital age, with the participation of anthropologists, philosophers, historians of science, and artists, including Judith Farquhar (University of Chicago), Volker Scheid (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science/University of Westminster), Keekok Lee (University of Manchester), Lili Lai (Peking University), Xian Lin & Sheryl Cheung (lololol Collective).

This event is co-organized by Media Lab and Research Network for Philosophy and Technology.

About Lecture Series

The Lecture Series is an annual event revolved around a theme curated and presented by Media Lab, inviting scholars and artists from different fields to engage in a dialogue between art, technology, and philosophy to explore critical issues in media studies.

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