CISP Online

Blog of the Centre for Invention & Social Process, Goldsmiths

November 14, 2016
by Alex Wilkie
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The event of invention: Deleuze and the art of experimentation

 

The event of invention: Deleuze and the art of experimentation

The event of invention: Deleuze and the art of experimentation

23 November 2016
5 – 7pm DTH 109
Speakers: Dr Craig Lundy and Dr Jon Roffe

The work of Gilles Deleuze has been a great source of inspiration for those interested in the nature, meaning and practice of invention and experimentation. Aside from the conceptual resources that his philosophy affords for rethinking these themes, Deleuze’s work also has much to tell us about the manner in which invention and experimentation involve an interplay of metaphysical, socio-political, scientific and aesthetic dimensions. In this session we will discuss a number of these intersections, including the ‘evental’ nature of invention, the creative capacity of repetition, and the claim that ‘invention has no cause’. Efforts will also be made to excavate key influences on Deleuze’s thoughts about experimentation, including the essayist/poet Charles Péguy and the important philosopher of biology and informatics Raymond Ruyer.

Craig Lundy is a Senior Lecturer in Social Theory at Nottingham Trent University. The majority of Craig’s research has been concerned with processes of transformation – an interest that he has pursued through cross-disciplinary projects that explore and make use of developments in complexity studies, socio-political theory and 19th/20th century European philosophy. He is the author of History and Becoming: Deleuze’s Philosophy of Creativity (2012), Deleuze’s Bergsonism (forthcoming) and co-editor with Daniela Voss of At the Edges of Thought: Deleuze and Post-Kantian Philosophy (2015), all published by Edinburgh University Press.

Jon Roffe is a Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of New South Wales, whose work is currently focused on the nature of money. The co-editor of a number of books on twentieth century and contemporary French philosophy, he is the author of Badiou’s Deleuze (Acumen 2012), Abstract Market Theory (Palgrave 2015) and Lacan Deleuze Badiou (EUP 2014) with AJ Bartlett and Justin Clemens. He has two forthcoming books on Deleuze: Gilles Deleuze’s Empiricism and Subjectivity (EUP 2016), and The Works of Gilles Deleuze (re-press 2017).

November 11, 2016
by Baki Cakici
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Sit down and write: A month of write-ins

cisp-write-ins

Sit down and write poster designed by Naho Matsuda.

Every Friday in November (4/11/18/25), 2016
10:00-12:00, Natura Café, Goldsmiths

Do you like writing alongside people? Would you like to try it? Join us for weekly write-ins at Natura during November where we mark the Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo) and the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

We write in intervals of 20 minutes with short breaks between – we aim to complete 4 intervals each session. We’re a friendly group who have found this way of writing very productive. All are welcome. We look forward to writing with you!

Please contact Katherine Robinson or Baki Cakici for more information.

October 6, 2016
by Baki Cakici
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CISP Salon: STS Then & Now

salon-01-cyborgs

CISP Salon poster designed by Naho Matsuda.

CISP Salon: STS Then & Now
October 27 (Thursday), 2016
3:00pm-6:00pm, Warmington Tower 1204

Over the past 40 years, Science and Technology Studies (STS) has grown with contributions from many disciplines, sometimes leading to complicated genealogies concerning its many theoretical commitments. During the Autumn and Spring terms, we will meet to discuss two texts in conversation with each other to trace how theories and methods have changed over time. With this reinvention of the CISP Salon, we aim to offer an entry point to STS for those new to the field, as well as providing a new discussion for those familiar with the literature.

At our first CISP Salon on Thursday October 27, we will discuss how the concept of cyborgs has changed over time, through the following texts:

Oudshoorn, N., 2016. The Vulnerability of Cyborgs: The Case of ICD Shocks. Science, Technology & Human Values 41, 767–792.
Haraway, D.J., 1991. A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century, in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge, 149–181.

Refreshments will be served. Please contact Baki Cakici () or Jess Perriam () for any queries.

We look forward to seeing you!

September 9, 2016
by CISP Administrator
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Workshop: The New Experimentalisms

The New Experimentalism

The New Experimentalism poster designed by Naho Matsuda.

A one day workshop at CISP/Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London

Tuesday September 20th 2016, 10-5pm

Room RHB 137a

Organised by Michael Guggenheim, Dan Neyland, Alex Wilkie

Recent Science and Technology Studies (STS) work on experiments has provided a basis for rethinking the terms, practices and consequences of experimentation. This has opened up opportunities to question, for example, experimental controls, provocative containments, training and professional practice. This work has also broadened the traditional STS focus on scientific laboratories to also include economic, social scientific and commercial experimentation, exploring new territories of experimentation and their attendant means of reproducing the world.

At the same time, scholars in STS, Sociology, Anthropology and Design have pursued experiments not just as an object of study, but also as something to do. Here we find, for example, experiments with algorithmic walks, expertise and issues. An earlier critique of experiments as artificial and interventionist has given way to a new embracing of material staging of situations and problems.

Social researchers have come to acknowledge we can learn precisely because of the non-naturalism of experiments. Experiments have become legitimate forms to intervene in the world, and to invent new worlds.  In this way STS scholars have begun to think again about the realities in which they participate. In this workshop we will feature recent experimenters within STS with scholars who have analysed experiments in specific fields.

 

Programme:

10.00: Welcome

 

10.15-11.30: Pelle Ehn (Design, Malmö): democratic design experiments (in the small)

Commentator: Kim Kullmann (Sociology, Goldmsiths)

11.45-1pm: Tomás Sánchez Criado (STS, Munich): The Ethnographic Experiment, Revisited: Experimental Collaborations, or the ‘Devicing’ of Fieldwork for Joint Problem-Making

Commentator: Isaac Marrero-Guillamón (Anthropology, Goldsmiths)

 

1pm – 2pm: lunch

 

2pm-3.15pm: Claire Waterton (Sociology, Lancaster): An Experimental Collective: Working Through Modalities and the Enrichment of Land and Water

Commentator: Jennifer Gabrys (Sociology, Goldsmiths)

 

3.30pm-4.45pm: Tobias Bornakke Jørgensen (Sociology, Copenhagen): Sensing Data: The Emergence of Sensor-Based Experiments in the Social Sciences

Commentator: Evelyn Ruppert (Sociology, Goldsmiths)

 

Attendance is free but places are limited, please register with Carole Keegan:

For further information please contact: m.guggenheim@gold.ac.uk

August 29, 2016
by Tahani Nadim
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Mattering Press Launches

Wilkie-X100-20160725-4424

 

Friendship is not to be sought, not to be dreamed,

not to be desired; it is to be exercised (it is a virtue).

Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace, 1952, p. 67

 

 

At some point during the proceedings that constituted the launch of Mattering Press at Conway Hall[1] I found myself looking at pictures of friends. Projected onto the screen in front of which an illustrious panel had gathered were the five absent present editors, Uli Beisel, Endre Dányi, Natalie Gill, Julien McHardy, and Michaela Spencer who together with the present present Joe Deville make up the press’s editorial team. I have been thinking a lot about friends during my short stay in London, the place I used to live and love for almost 17 years. That’s a long time to spin bonds and generally co-evolve and it was thus with a sense of pride, respect and great fondness that I watched the evening unfold.[2]

I remember when I underwent my formal academic training being given loose instructions on how to have an academic career. It went something like this: publish a book review, publish with your supervisor, better still publish a special issue, and the rarest flower of the flock: publish on your own, single-authored, peer-reviewed, ISI-ranked, h-index-x-factor. This is, as many will recognise, the prologue to a well-rehearsed lament about academic publishing and making a living in a domain that sees more and more people having to compete for less and less. Rather than add my own grievance to the pile, I want to return to the matter of friendship, something that is rarely examined with any rigour yet that runs deep through the fibre of academia, its structures and thoughts and footnotes.[3] It is also at the heart of Mattering Press, which is run by friends and relies on friends such as Ed Akerboom (web design), Alex Billington (typesetting) and Jennifer Tomomitsu (copy-editing). This, I suspect, makes it both easier and harder to do.

There are many kinds of friendship, some kinder than others, which is to say it’s important to ‘recognize the major marks of a tension within it, perhaps even ruptures, and, in any case, scansions’ (‘The Politics of Friendship’, Jacques Derrida, 1988, p. 635). ‘Scansion’, which refers to marking the stress or rhythm of a poem, is a nice term here as it lets us think about the soundness of friendship as well as its inscrutable and evocative qualities: all the stuff that needn’t be said or indeed that can’t be said. Things were of course said during the launch by various people: First by Carlos Lopez-Galviz of Lancaster University’s Institute for Social Futures, who noted the continuities in the different pursuits of conscious change, from William Morris (1834-1896) to Mattering Press. Both had found an amicable home in Conway Hall. Then Joe presented the press’s practical and ethical commitments, including its commitment to work inspired by an ‘ethics of care’, whether via Virginia Held’s feminism or Annemarie Mol’s relational empiricism. This means caring for authors, books, readers, reviewers as well as all the other, less obvious labours that go into Open Access (OA) book production and publishing and the socio-economic relations it (often reluctantly) enters and/or engenders such as Amazon, which I am not hyperlinking.

How such care might look was on display in Conway Hall’s foyer where Joe and I had set up tables to showcase and sell also other OA publishers’ books: Open Humanity Press, Meson Press, Mayfly Books, UCL Press, Westminster University Press and Goldsmiths Press. In the workshop that preceded the launch (Open Futures: The practical politics of academic book publishing, Goldsmiths) a key question that emerged concerned the intellectual challenges raised by the practical aspects of scholarly communication. It strikes me that Open Access publishing can provide a salient landscape for studying the fault lines running through friendship, also because it entangles so many different conditions of ‘open’ including in notions of promise, commitment, responsibility. One such promise might be found in striving for a different kind of academic writing, one that is more generous to its audience or perhaps less punishing to its authors. During the launch both Evelyn Ruppert, co-editor of Modes of Knowing and Michael Guggenheim, co-editor of Practising Comparison spoke about the close collaboration with the book’s designer (Julien McHardy) and how important it was to consider what things such as book covers or typefaces do. Evelyn commended the virtues of slow publishing and the long thought, neither of which find much sympathy in the just-in-time production of outputs.

Books and friends take time. But then, wonderfully, they also give and make time. Accordingly, it was a pleasant and languid launch, its temperament set by the formidable and slightly funeral floral arrangement that greeted guests in the foyer and that the caterers had surrounded with petite bowls holding nibbles. It looked a little like an altar ringed by offerings, which could also easily describe many disciplinary and institutional arrangements in academia. And thus it wasn’t surprising that an important question raised in the discussion touched on Mattering Press’s handling of inheritance and canon. It’s a tricky question for any discipline but perhaps specifically so for STS, which started off with aspirational iconoclasm but has in parts happily cemented a mannered historicism.

In her book Differencing the Canon (1999) the feminist art historian Grizelda Pollock makes some practical suggestions with regards to handling the canon in ‘productive and transgressive ways’: ‘[T]here are ways to question our own texts for the desires they inscribe, for the investments which we feign through telling the stories of our own ideal egos: the women artists we come to love and need to love in order to find a cultural space and identification for ourselves, a way to articulate ourselves – to make a difference to current systems that manage (….) difference as a negation of our humanity, creativity and safety.’ (p. 34)

I believe this remains an important commitment in our pursuit to understand the world and its incommensurable realities. In that sense it is incumbent on us all to take greater care with how we make books. Like friendship, scholarly practice and communication is about address, response and responsibility and like friendship, what’s at issue ‘is that which responsibility opens to the future.’ (Derrida, ibid., p. 636)

[1] Supported by the Institute for Social Futures, the Centre for Invention and Social Process, and the Centre for Mobilities Research.

[2] This post has been co-published on the Mattering Press website.

[3] In light of recent and not to so recent shady goings-on in HEIs might it not be prudent to be explicit about how, for example, friendship is not an appropriate relation between students and members of staff?