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Distilled, Extruded, Suspended: Lessons in Lifelikeness from the Metabolism of Mass Production – Hannah Landecker

April 23 @ 17:30 - 19:00

Keynote “Politics of the Machines” Conference


This talk is about quite ordinary matters, such as the prevention of perishability in rubbers and oils, and how one makes a non-dairy creamer that lasts without refrigeration. Yet these are also extraordinary matters. The harvesting and remobilization of metabolically powerful objects and processes proceeded apace in the twentieth century, a process of industrialization not just of agriculture or craft production, but of metabolism itself. Cells, enzymes, antioxidant molecules, polymers, fats and many other capacities and pieces of living things were pulled apart and then pieced back together, re-articulated into new sequences of material transformation at augmented volume or manipulated speed, sometimes suspended here, or driven forward there. Three lessons in lifelikeness from the historical annals of enzymes and antioxidants will invite listeners into the maw of a vast and reticulate petro-animate metabolism, where novelty concatenates with mimicry and the synthetic is fed to the natural for dinner. Today, as we begin to ask whether our material things are lasting too long – or not long enough – and the technical parameters of planetary costs of consumption figure prominently in negotiations of ageing, biodegradability and toxicity, it is useful to engage directly with the history and future of these technical lifespan objects into which values and temporalities are built.

This event is part of our summer semester 2024 Lecture Series Lifelikeness.

If you would like to attend, please write a short email to events@khk.rwth-aachen.de.


April 23
17:30 - 19:00
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RWTH Aachen University – Super C – Generali Saal 639
Templergraben 57
Aachen, 52062 Germany
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POM Aachen 2024
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