Goldsmiths Postgraduate Research Conference 2019

This conference will explore the implications of changes in our conception of a non- human external reality through the contrasting disciplines pursued by postgraduate researchers at Goldsmiths, University of London. The call is open to all who are currently working in these fields.

When: June 14th, 2019. 09:00-17:00.

Where: Goldsmiths, University of London. Professor Stuart Hall Building LG02.

Featuring a keynote address by Dr. Ali Hossaini, ’Information and Organisation.’

Ali Hossaini works at the cutting edge of art, technology and business. Having collaborated with a wide range of talent, his productions have been exhibited in museums, performing arts centres, galleries and festivals around the world, winning acclaim from Vanity Fair, Cool Hunting and others, including the New York Times, which calls him “a biochemist turned philosopher turned television producer turned visual poet.” For more information please see: http://www.pantar.com

Call for Papers

Following Timothy Morton’s claim that we have entered ‘an age of hyperobjects,’ it is timely to consider the emergence of a non-human reality as a defining feature of contemporary issues. The annual Goldsmiths PGR conference asks for responses to such abstract concerns which have become socially pertinent through their relationship to global events.

Recent developments in cosmological and psychological descriptions, philosophical realisms, technological industry, and the changes in material conditions which these imply have wide-ranging interdisciplinary consequences for established notions of the subject/object relationship. One unifying factor between these diverse trends is the insistence of an external world: many contemporary problems either lie out with the realms of direct human perception and influence, or emphasise the importance of this divide. From inter-object-based automation to quantum physics and environmental collapse, the 21st century already seems marked by an end to the priorities of the human subject.

We are thus accepting papers on a diverse range of issues which relate in some way to the importance of the object, the non-human, and the extra-perceptual in contemporary debates. In doing so, the conference aims to foster relationships between cross-departmental procedures by reciprocally contextualising them with one another through the radical nature of their shared historical moment.

Topics of Interest

Debates within contemporary materialist and realist philosophical thought, such as Speculative Materialism and Object-Orientated-Ontology.

Scientific advances, and their assimilation (or lack of) into popular culture, social issues and political arguments including, but not limited to: the discrepancy between current cosmological models and naïve realism, and its social implications; the loss of subjective agency in psychological determinism and mechanistic materialism, and its relationship to debates on freedom and free speech; reflections on the importance of non-human observers; the divergence between environmental science and its political assimilation.

The relationship of these factors to historical and material conditions, including but not limited to: the climate crisis, the causal independence of capital from human interests, the speculative developments of automation, the Internet of Things and the A.I. singularity.

The effects of these upon sociology and political thought: from debates surrounding the politics of accelerationism in terms of the independence of non-human systems, to object-based approaches in sociological research.

Similarly, their effects upon theoretical interpretations: from ecocriticism to re-appraisals of deconstructionism and the trans-subjective properties of language.

Artistic responses to these issues, and reflections on object-based practices.

Other topics, strategies and projects broadly relevant to these themes.

We particularly welcome perspectives on these issues through thinkers, traditions and methods often overlooked by the mainstream academic consensus. Similarly encouraged are re-evaluations of pre-modern individuals and ideas through the context of these developments; the new perspectives such developments afford on neglected histories and practices; and readings of contemporary events through a diverse range of historical, cultural, and scientific perspectives. 

Guide for Authors

Please submit abstract of up to 500 words to Alastair White at alastairwhitecomposer@gmail.com with ‘Futures of the Real’ in the subject line by April 3rd 2019. The presentation should not exceed 15 minutes. 

Any enquiries please email: alastairwhitecomposer@gmail.com

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