Structures of Dissonance: Aesthetics Beyond Capital? Lecture Series
In partnership with CalArts School of Critical Studies, ICA LA and CalArts present Structures of Dissonance: Aesthetics Beyond Capital?, a three-part lecture series which explores the proposition that aesthetics be utilized in resistance to dominant power structures.
About the Lecture
As Open-AI launched DALL-E, concepts in natural language are directly transformed in images. AI generated images are said to not only show us how AI understands human words, but to also stretch the aesthetic dimensions of vision. Algorithmic instrumentality opens the question of what counts as aesthetics in the aftermath of computational thinking. This relation between instrumentality and aesthetics must be further studied. One must ask: how can algorithms meet the creative ambition of aesthetic production without simply intensifying the recursive trends of cognitive capital? To what extent one can argue for a machine aesthetics that escapes the modern cosmogony of Man the colonial and patriarchal epistemologies granting the authority of capitalism (Wynter 2002)? The paradox of aesthetics and capital, where recursive algorithms sustain the freedom of homo bioeconomicus through the prototype of the slave-machine, haunts machine vision, but may also push forward an alien hypothesis for AI aesthetics.
Luciana Parisi’s research is a philosophical investigation of technology in culture, aesthetics and politics. She works across three main areas of study: cybernetics, philosophies of nature and philosophies of difference; computation, aesthetics and media; computational logic, philosophies of technology, and political theories. She is currently a Professor at the Program in Literature and core faculty in the Graduate Program of Computational Media Art and Culture at Duke University. She was a member of the CCRU (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit) and is currently a co-founding member of CCB (Critical Computation Bureau) and co-organised the symposium Recursive Colonialism, Speculative Computation and Artificial Intelligence. Her work addresses cybernetics and computation, information and evolutionary theories, questions of the sex and nature, matter and thought in the context of the technocapitalist investments in biotechnologies and artificial intelligence. Her philosophical writings on evolutionary theory, gender and biotechnology are published in the book Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004, Continuum Press). She has published extensively in the field of Media Philosophy, on the informational critique of mediation and the artificial programming of perception and memory. Her research on computation and aesthetics in the context of digital architecture and design is gathered in the monograph Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics and Space (2013 MIT Press). She has published on alternative models of reason, logos and ratio in the context of radical feminist, queer and black studies critique of modern metaphysics and is now writing a monograph Automating Philosophy, Instrumentality and Critique in Technoculture.
About the Series
The political claim of contemporary art, specifically since the mid-twentieth century avant-garde, has often been hinged upon a politics of resistance, antagonism and difference. In such case, a political art does not structure power, but rather un-structures it in creative forms of its destabilization. Often this form of art has been identified as an aesthetic experience, since the experience of sensory phenomena resists the top-down ordering and instrumental functions of rational languages and aesthetics can therefore claim to be akin to an indifferent nature that withdraws from any direct confrontation with power. In the context of the sublime condition of neo-liberal techno-capitalism, with its unstable environments of high-frequency exchanges and unregulated markets we also see resistance, where the delirious, alienating and dissonant experience of capital divides us, and estranges us from ourselves and each other, proliferating difference under the principle of accumulation. However, it is clear that these dissonant affects in capital calcify strict social inequalities in race, gender, class and labor and this leaves us wondering: what structures, orders and principles are relied upon and constructed in art’s claim to aesthetic resistance? Do we require structures, rule and order in order even in the claims to critical indifference and if so does this limit the capacity for critique as a form of resistance today?