2. 3. / 19:00
FAMU, Smetanovo náb. 2
Učebna U1, 1. patro.
The lecture is translated
Tomáš Dvořák – Personification as a Form of Life
If we lift a rock from the earth, we find beneath it a strange form of life: a heterogeneous system made by a mix of mineral and organic elements from bacteria and mold to worms. If we lift contemporary critiques of anthropocentrism (approaches such as post-humanism, trans-humanism, new materialism or object-oriented ontology), we find beneath them strange forms of personification: inanimate and non-human entities become kinds of “persons” endowed with rights, claims, intentions or wills. The most frequent form of this new form of personification is the attempt to “give things a voice”. Inanimate objects, organisms of various domains, smart technologies or socio-technical organizations such as institutions and corporations and their infrastructures such as the market, public opinion or global warming do not speak for themselves but rather are represented and interpreted by particular groups of actors, who speak in their names and thus bring them to life. The lecture will present the historical development of cultural techniques of personification, its importance for our understanding of the differences between the animate and inanimate, human and non-human and the consequences of these demarcations for our contemporary forms of art, knowledge and politics.
Tomáš Dvořák, Ph.D. is a researcher and instructor in history and theory of photography, media and visual culture theory at the Department of Photography, FAMU and an associate researcher in philosophy and history of science at the Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences.