Activist Neuroaesthetics conference

Activist Neuroaesthetics conference

Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Tabita Rezaire, Premium Connect (still), 2017. Single channel video, 16:09 minutes. View of Activist Neuroaesthetics exhibition: Brain Without Organs, Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V.

May 24, 2021
Activist Neuroaesthetics conference
July 8–11, 2021
Instagram / Facebook

The Activist Neuroaesthetics conference includes a number of important thinkers to Activist Neuroaesthetics including Elena Agudio, Yann Moulier Boutang, Juli Carson, Yves Citton, Arne de Boever, Jacquelene Drinkall, Agnieszka Kurant, Karen Lofgren, Anna Munster, Abdul-Karim Mustapha, Reza Negarestani, Warren Neidich, Florencia Portocarrero, Tony David Sampson, and Anuradha Vikram. An introductory panel discussion with Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Cécile Malaspina, Warren Neidich, and Charles T. Wolfe will summarize the first Activist Neuroaesthetics symposium (videos now available) held March 5–6, 2021.

We are on the verge of a paradigm shift as we transition from a knowledge and information economy to a neural-based one. The advent of an immanent assortment of new technologies like brain-computer interfaces, cortical implants and attention enhancing drugs will join sophisticated forms of artificial intelligence and constitute what is already being referred to as neoliberal neural capitalism. Together they will give new meaning to forms of surveillance and digital governance in the coming digital regimes of superintelligence and the singularity. Activist Neuroaesthetics describes an activist approach to understanding not only the importance of neural plasticity in transforming the material brain, but realizing the proactive potential of art and artists in that transformational process. 

Activist Neuroaesthetics understands the brain does not simply reside in the skull as living matter, but is entangled in the contested socio-political-cultural and technological milieu with which it coevolves. Instead of minimizing the liminal, unconscious, mystical, and magical conditions of perception and cognition, Activist Neuroaesthetics maximizes it. It refutes the dogma of what is known as Positive Neuroaesthetics which sees the brain as an unchanging, crystallized entity defined by pure and unchanging essences and whose goal is to explain artworks, such as paintings, through its effects upon the brain’s neural processing itself rather than as something happening independently or outside of the material brain’s jurisdiction. In other words, Positive Neuroaesthetics is focused on facts generated by the scientific method, rather than cultural or artistic ones. Activist Neuroaesthetics is a counter-insurgency which uses its own history of art production, spaces, and temporalities to produce ideologies of dissent where events going on inside and outside the brain coevolve together and our cognitive abilities are expanded, rather than normalized. Activist Neuroaesthetics aims to produce a radicalized post-humanist subject; one which displaces the normalized unitary subject and replaces it with a complex global non-binary relational one.

The Activist Neuroaesthetics conference will be presented online and is free with registration. Please see our website for the full schedule and additional information.

Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (application deadline May 30, 2021)
The Activist Neuroaesthetics Conference is presented in collaboration with this year’s Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art (SFSIA) online program on “Activist Neuroaesthetics in Cognitive Capitalism.” SFSIA is a nomadic, intensive summer academy with shifting programs in contemporary critical theory that stresses an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between art and politics. Applications are due May 30 and open to students, practitioners and scholars from the fields of art (including video, painting, photography, sculpture and installation), politics, sociology, design, architecture, critical writing, neuroscience, science and technology studies, critical theory, cultural studies, film and media studies, and beyond.

About Activist Neuroaesthetics
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of, Activist Neuroaesthetics is a festival of events (curated by Warren Neidich, Susanne Prinz and Sarrita Hunn) including a symposium, three-part exhibition, conference, screenings, and publications, developed by lead institution Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V. along with various local partners that will take place online and at different venues on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in Berlin over the course of 2021.

This project is made possible with support from Hauptstadtkulturfonds and Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz e.V.

RSVP for Activist Neuroaesthetics conference
Verein zur Förderung von Kunst und Kultur am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
May 24, 2021

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