Vera Bühlmann - The Out-With and the With-Out, Or How to Think of the Digital in Relation to a Philological “Ex Tempore” (2024)


January 26th 2024, 6-8pm, Hörsaal 2i (NIG), Department of Philosophy (and online)

The Reading Circle of the Research Group “Poststructuralism, Gender Theory, Psychoanalysis” at the University of Vienna cordially invites you to the next public event:

Vera Bühlmann (TU Wien):

The Out-With and the With-Out, Or How to Think of the Digital in Relation to a Philological “Ex Tempore”

Vera Bühlmann's recent book The Digital, a Continent? Nature and Poetics (Birkhäuser, 2024) presents a natural philosophy way of thinking that draws from the optics and the sensibilities of New Materialisms: Mathematical, poetical and rhetorical ideations help to call, count, measure and proportion impersonal "thought" that "happens" much like the weather does. It foregrounds thereby an agency as we address it when we say "it rains", or "there is wind", or "a storm is coming". The chapters of this book show how for the cunning reason of a Mechanic in the old, artistic sense of the word (literally "one who thinks and acts resourcefully") there is neither a necessity for devotion nor humiliation involved when acknowledging that things in the first and last instance remain cryptic (dependent upon ciphering). For what the mechanic's craft excels in and reveals objectively is how to keep ideas and things moving and morphing, how to make them and render them referential and graspable beyond a strict nature-culture distinction. The knowledge the mechanic aims at conveying is how to domesticate the meanwhile: How can we develop ideations of energy, form and intellect in play together rationally and objectively, and yet in an indefinite variety of ways and across many scales? Such sites of play would have to be articulated and tuned by an architectonics for which world and earth are neither synonymous nor subjected one to the other. The chapters in this book explore the idea that we can better maintain active relations to ourselves and to the currently emerging paradigm(s) of planetary cultures, politics and economies when we study how there is coding at work not only in the human domain but also in the natural world too.   But how to think of such an idea of "coding", how to consider the relations between method, poetics, technics and the arts? The talk will explore resonances to Werner Hamacher's 95 Theses on Philology (2009) as well as his notion of "Ex Tempore" in On the Brink. Language, Time, History and Politics (2020).


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Vera Bühlmann is Professor for Architecture Theory at Vienna University of Technology TU, and director of the research group Architecture Theory and Philosophy of Technics ATTP.


Since 2021 the Reading Circle PS-GT-PA includes public events additionally to the monthly readings. Lectures and workshops have been held with Brian Massumi, Erin Manning, Avital Ronell, Didier Debaise, Shomo Choudhury and Alexis Shotwell.