Indeterminate Futures / The Future of Indeterminacy
13 – 15 November 2020, University of Dundee
Keynotes: Karen Barad, Franco Berardi, Xin Wei Sha, Vladimir Tasić
The future is no longer seen as open. It’s seen as precarious on the one hand, and technologically over-determined on the other. Economic uncertainty, the rise of the risk society, the culture of fear and neoliberal necropolitics are seen as a serious threat. The risk society attributes all hazards to human decisions; the culture of fear cultivates the tendency to catastrophise; neoliberal necropolitics welds technology to the exploitation of natural and social reserves in an irreversible way. Amidst the general climate of ‘instrumentarianism’ (Zuboff 2019), paradoxes like ‘the cancelled future’ (Berardi 2014) or ‘automated deregulation’ (Steyerl 2019) are synonymous with permanent crisis, disorder, and the 'end of free will' (Han 2017).
Indeterminacy – often associated with but not identical to unknowability and liminality – doesn’t merely defy the ‘order-disorder’, ‘certainty-uncertainty’ binary creating a ‘both-and’ and ‘neither-nor’ space in which a cat can be both dead and alive, as in Schrödinger’s experiment. Indeterminacy is a self-perpetuating dynamic of change with no spatial or temporal constancy – a vibrant multiplicity of parallel potentialities and realities. Initially derived from Bohr’s quantum indeterminacy, Gödel's undecidability, and Stengers and Prirogine's non-linear dynamics, indeterminacy upsets stable structures and ossified power regimes which is why it was embraced as a liberating epistemic force by many 20th century artists and theorists: Jarry, Boulez, Cage, Ichinayagi, Situationists International, Xenakis, Fluxus, Knowbotic Research, Derrida, Guattari, Hayles, Varela and Latour, to mention but a few.
In the digital age, in accelerated, informational capitalism, the situation is very different. First, permanent change is the rule. Second, art, culture, and (bio)politics are no longer separate; they are fused in the infosphere. Consisting of datification, algorithmic predetermination, cultural production, symbolic and affective regimes, the infosphere has modified the language of thought and action. It has also modified the structure of reality. The aim of this transdisciplinary conference is to evaluate the current and future epistemic and ontological potential of spatio-temporal, cultural-mnemonic and socio-political forms of indeterminacy. To this end, we ask questions such as:
We invite proposals for 20 min papers, provocations, creative contributions, re-enactments of scientific experiments and proposals for curated panels from the fields of art, media (theory), physics, mathematics, philosophy, cultural studies, memory studies, digital humanities, and anthropology. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
Panel proposal deadline: 20 April 2020 (1000 w proposal + 450 speaker bios)
Individual presentation deadline: 1 May 2020 (350 w abstract + 150 bio) NEW DUE DATE 15th JUNE.
Notification of Acceptance: 10 May 2020
Please email abstracts with ‘Indeterminacy Conference’ in the subject to firstname.lastname@example.org
This conference is hosted by the AHRC-funded project The Future of Indeterminacy: Datification, Memory, Biopolitics.
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