Lieven De Cauter

Cultural philosopher

Lieven De Cauter will present the mixed media project ‘Welcome to posthistory’ (for the Burning Ice Festival in Kaaitheater, Brussels), starting from the question: “can we fall out of history?” (based on the text ‘Afterthoughts on posthistory’, published in Entropic Empire (in Dutch Metamorderniteit voor beginners).

Following this core question, De Cauter wonders if it is possible that we are entering or have already entered something called posthistory, a strange limbo after the end of history. “This question has been haunting me for many years, indeed ever since my first book. Of course, there is common sense to save us: one cannot fall out of history, just as little as one can fall off the earth. But are we sure we cannot fall of the earth? Lately we are maybe a bit more doubtful. Humanity is on a collision course with ‘spaceship earth’. If we are hitting the limits of the earth, the limits of the ecosystem, of our natural habitat, to the extent that might cause it irreparable damage and unchain a series of catastrophes – one starts to wonder. We can fall of the earth. At the very moment humankind starts hitting the limits of the planet as ecosystem the question of falling out of history seems less foolish…”.

Henk Oosterling

Associate Professor of Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam

Without any moral overtone, Henk Oosterling concludes that we are all connected, even when we are not online. “The disastrous events in Paris in 2015 illustrate the very meaning of our radical interconnectedness: fanatical terrorism operates all over the world without making any distinction. The Paris climate top once more proved that there is neither escape from nor a strategy against climate change. Now, even in the depth of the immense oceans or of the ever decreasing rainforest, no one is spared. We are part of the problem and whether we want it or not, part of the solution. Collapsology is about the impossibility to externalize. There is no outside. Every attempt to externalize is before hand destined to participate in the collapse.”

Taking into account the texts that have been read – Marx, Bataille, Deleuze/Guattari, Manifesto for an Accelerationist Politics – Oosterling will present the contours of a ‘collapsological awareness’. Connecting the notions of revolution, abundance, transgression, rhizome and acceleration as crucial aspects of an eco-relational politics, he will briefly sketch the transition from our radical mediocrity to what he, following Arendt and the French philosophers of difference, labels as the inner core of our uncritical radical mediocrity.

Thijs Witty

PhD fellow at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam

Hito Steyerl against the accelerationists: artistic research in the age of collapse In this talk Thijs Witty will discuss the work of filmmaker and critic Hito Steyerl. In her commentaries on visual culture, Steyerl has mapped the various kinds of circulation that images are subjected to under ruling modes of production and exchange. Most recently she has taken aim against so-called accelerationism, a tendency in critical theory and practice that wants to speed up rather than slow down the flows of capital, in order for it to eventually collapse. Only by taking collapse to its limit, or so the reasoning goes, can we see improvement. Witty will share some examples of Steyerl’s alternative program, which she calls circulationism, and show its advantages for artistic research in the age of collapse.

Daan Paans

Visual Artist

Artist Daan Paans is interested in the way time – past, present, and future – shapes our interpretation of the world. Many questions and explorations in the work of Paans are related to the techno-socio side of this years Read-In Series. His long-term projects often focus on the human incapacity to domesticate and control time. An example is the project Letters from Utopia, in which Paans explores how humans could gain immortality through technology.