Category: Upcoming

c:o/re Movie Nights

We are looking forward to the collaboration with the film studio of RWTH Aachen University! As part of the lecture series of the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities: Cultures of Research in the summer semester “Lifelikeness” we will show two films:

29.05. Her by Spike Jonze (2013), at 8:15 pm. As an introduction before the film, philosopher Ben Woodard (ICI Berlin) will give a lecture entitled “Ideal Locale – her and the envelope function of idealist predication”. The lecture will take place on May 29 at 3 pm at Theaterstraße 75. Please send us an email if you would like to come to the lecture: events@khk.rwth-aachen.de  

11.06. I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK by Park Chan-wook. The film will be preceded by a short introduction and followed by a discussion moderated by the Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Cultures of Research.

By “Lifelikeness” we mean the representation and/or imitation of living beings in science and technology in fields such as robotics, synthetic biology or AI and neuromorphic computing. We ask how their increasing complexity mimics not only a fixed notion of life, but also the understanding of “life” as such.

Further information on the lecture series can be found on this page.

Toxic Material(itie)s: Eco-Material Entanglements in Art

Workshop at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Cultures of Research (c:o/re)

6 – 7 December 2023

Organized by

Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Cultures of Research (c:o/re) &

Christian Berger (Universität Siegen), Ruby de Vos (University of Groningen),
Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Our workshop sets out from the obvious, yet underexplored assumption, that much of the very stuff that art is made of is toxic. Whether working in the studio, in the dark room, in the quarry, or at contaminated sites, artists have been, and continue to be, exposed to a wide range of toxic materials. But exposure always goes hand in hand with its inevitable corollary, pollution—from the dumped toxic waste generated by the production of photographic materials to the air and water pollution generated by marble extraction. The toxicity of artistic materials extends far beyond the hazards of the artist’s job—they are part of larger environmental issues. So what can we learn when we explore artworks through the lens of their materiality within an expanded frame that is attentive to their art historical as well as environmental and sociopolitical context?

See the full program here.

To attend, please register with events@khk.rwth-aachen.de

Lecture and discussion with Phil MacNaghten: The knowledge politics of making anticipatory knowledge

On October 12, Phil Macnaghten will give a talk at c:o/re about The knowledge politics of making anticipatory knowledge. This event is part of the 5th STS-Forum at RWTH Aachen University.

Tagung: Briefe des 15. Jahrhunderts als Quellen für interkulturelle Kontakte zwischen Italien und dem Osmanischen Reich

From the 19th to 20th October 2023, a conference on “Briefe des 15. Jahrhunderts als Quellen für interkulturelle Kontakte zwischen Italien und dem Osmanischen Reich” will take place at c:o/re, organized by Florian Hartmann.

SFU Workshop on Transdisciplinary Pathways in Educational Research: Learning, ecology, media and beyond

On April 25th c:ore team member Alin Olteanu will be joining Natasa Lackovic (Lancaster University) and Cary Campbell (Simon Fraser University) for an online workshop, organized by the Research Hub @ Faculty of Education of Simon Fraser University, on Transdisciplinary Pathways in Educational Research: Learning, ecology, media and beyond. To attend, please register through the Simon Fraser University website, where you can also find more information. The description of the workshop is also below.

Transdisciplinary Pathways in Educational Research: Learning, ecology, media and beyond

The potential of transdisciplinary research and education has been lauded and discussed for decades. Despite often lofty promises, many have remarked on the lack of meaningful transdisciplinary research and teaching—ironically in universities, where it is most expected. Very little research presents or explores conceptual-philosophical frameworks (or pathways) for how to study and engage in transdisciplinary inquiry and questioning. Our workshop aims to address this theory gap, building from our team’s research expertise in educational semiotics and uniting theoretical perspectives from bio-semiotics, multimodality, and new socio-materiality studies.

Participants and presenters will collaboratively articulate transdisciplinary problems by distinguishing transdisciplinary methodologies and theoretical frameworks from related inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches. We specifically address transdisciplinary challenges associated with climate crisis (the Anthropocene) and the rapid proliferation of digital-media technologies, focusing on the continuity of environmental and embodied learning and digital media-learning.

Models of complex systems as scientific-public boundary objects: The case of climate change. Complexity and Transdisciplinarity Graduate School of the Center for Advanced Studies (Aix-Marseille University), February 27-28

On February 27-28, 2023, the Complexity and Transdisciplinarity Graduate School of the Center for Advanced Studies (IMéRA), Aix-Marseille University is hosting an event on “Models of complex systems as scientific-public boundary objects. The case of climate change“, organized by Gabriele Gramelsberger and Alexandre Hocquet (Lorraine University, c:o/re alumni). To register, kindly contact Solenne Bruhl (solenne.BRUHL@univ-amu.fr). The event will feature the following talks:

27.2.2023, 14-16h Complex systems, climate modeling and managing of uncertainties – Managing the complexity of knowledge production

Gabriele Gramelsberger

28.2.2023, 10-12h Community models, standards and platforms: Managing the complexity of global collaboration and policy

Gabriele Gramelsberger

28.2.2023, 14-16h Research software: Managing the complexity of collaborative programming

Gabriele Gramelsberger & Alexandre Hocquet

Headquarters of Aix-Marseille University, CC BY-SA 3.0

Talk by Stefan Böschen at the Austrian Academy of Sciences: Engineering turn? The shift in research cultures as a challenge for science research

On Tuesday, March 28, Stefan Böschen is presenting the work of c:o/re at the Institute for Technology Assessment at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. You can find the abstract and practical information on how to register on the website of the Institute for Technology Assessment, here.

Politics of the Machines: Lifelikeness & beyond

Call for Track-Topics and Formats

Deadline Call for Track-Topics and Formats: 01 April 2023 New Deadline: 16th April 2023

The Call for Papers will follow after the Call for Track-Topics has closed.
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The 4th POM Conference

Lifelikeness & beyond
RWTH Aachen University
KäteHamburger Kolleg:
Cultures of Research (c:o/re).
April 22-26, 2024

Life is in crisis. In society, this crisis has generated an uncertainty entangled with environmental injustices, health emergencies and the many faces of right-wing movements around the world – to mention some examples. Uncertainty might blurry the future and our capacity to make decisions, but it also opens up a space of possibilities. In this fragmented framework a new field for contingencies emerges. If we are unsure about what might be, alternative but unstable scenarios become possible. How does society react to those alternative scenarios? How are scientific and artistic communities responding to the various contingencies of the present?

In the wake of this era, we have been witnessing, in biomolecular research, the developments of programmable biosensors, synthetic biology and diverse biological entities that are aimed to be made programmable. These advancements amount to the crisis of life. These new phenomena in life-research have, for example, transformed the way in which we think about organisms and how life has evolved and transformed on earth.

At the same time, the fields of life-like robotics and computational evolution, which produce artificial entities modeled after living organisms – like self-reproductive algorithms and artificial neural networks – have brought to light questions regarding the qualities defining what is life at all. Life is being redefined by the parameters of its artificial models, so we are forced to rethink the question: what is the logic of living? The borders between machines and biological systems are being negotiated across the sciences and the arts at large, and novel questions and modes of thinking are emerging from these ontological reorganizations. Faced with these situations, one cannot help pondering on the limits of the possible and the limits of life.

Nowadays, machines can perform as agents that respond to contingent scenarios, they act as if they were alive. If life enters the space of formal logic and probability, if it is modeled, engineered and designed, does it follow the laws of logical inference? It is not only the difference between the organic and the inorganic that gets blurry, but also the one between the natural and the animated as well as the boundaries between necessity and contingency. What kind of models of contingency can be brought about that are helpful to respond to the crisis of life? What must technologies and artistic practices that cooperate with the living look like? How does this change life itself?

In our times, social ecologies are steered following automated systems and models. Images of what the future of a warming planet might be are at the center of political decisions, and bodies in the street are demanding accountability to those who have been taking those decisions. What is the motivation for caring for life? Computational systems have become the basis for decisions on which forms of life are worth preserving, which ones have the right to have rights – as Hannah Arendt would put it – and what forms of life are purposeful to maintain and support. The care for life is found between environmental reactionary views on nature as the origin of place-based identities, and questions of locality and global solidarity; from colonialism to racial and economic justice. How can these models serve to respond to the needs of social groups, communities and the collective?

What effect has data on decisions on what lives we care for? On the one hand, biotechnology opens up spaces of possibility, on the other hand, it also holds the danger of new forms of control, which may be utilized in nation-state politics, for example, in the form of border control biometric technologies. Automated decisions are made over life and death in zones of war. Personal data is stored to keep the metabolic networks of capital flowing. Data is, however, at the same time, used for feminist aims and as a tool to identify urban spaces where harm and death are a threat. Communication technologies have shown to be crucial for marginalized groups for creating networks of care, support and self-defense. Thus, it seems that the same technological shifts that seem to serve necropolitical aims are the ones bringing about new forms of the collective.

With the overarching theme “Lifelikeness & Beyond” the Politics of the Machines conference organized by Käte Hamburger Kolleg: Cultures of Research at Aachen University seeks to bring together researchers and practitioners from a wide range of fields across the sciences, technology and the arts to develop imaginaries for possibilities that are still to be realized and new ideas of what the contingency of life is. The call also seeks to question what the limits between reality, fiction and imagination can be when we look for sources of action or new forms of collective action and of creating collectivities. What kind of imaginaries are needed to think of new forms of research and practice that effectively act as a counterbalance to the many crises of the present? What can we learn from a performed contingency about the community of the living and the non-living? How is the idea of contingency transformed when life and non-life are embedded within each other? PoM Aachen welcomes proposals for conference sub-tracks that look into transdisciplinary research at large in creating unrealized futures.

Full Call for Tracks and Submission: https://www.pomconference.org/pom-aachen-2024/

Upcoming Workshop: Turning Points in Reflections on Science and Technology. Toward Historicizing STS 

On March 14-15, 2023 the c:o/re workshop  Turning Points in Reflections on Science and Technology: Towards Historicizing STS will take place. The workshop focuses on the 20th and 21st Century intellectual history of science and technology. It aims at opening up the field by historicizing Science and Technology Studies from various historical turns. Furthermore, it aims at discussing the various notions of “historicizing STS”. The Program is available below and here:

c:o/re panel @ EASST 2022

The c:o/re Team will be chairing a panel at the EASST conference “Politics of Technoscientific Futures” in Madrid, July 6 to 9, 2022. Our panel “Making Media Futures” focuses on the role of different media in making and disseminating scientific imaginaries of the future and on their variations according to their interactions with different communities and contexts. If you want to contribute to our panel, send us an abstract with your ideas through the conference website form. The full call for abstracts can be found here. The deadline is February 1st, 2022, has been extended to February 7th. Looking forward to seeing you in Madrid!