Post Human, Affect, Proliferation
Monday, February 13, 4:30–8:30 pm
Afternoon program: 4:30-5:30 pm
Reception: 5:30-6:30 pm
Panel discussion: 6:30-8:30 pm
The New School University Center, Starr Foundation Hall
63 Fifth Avenue, UL 102
New York City
Early sociologists at the turn of the 20th century, such as Gabriel Tarde and Emile Durkheim, considered the ways that the all-absorbing mentality of crowds stood to overpower rational thought and action in individuals. The two saw proliferation, or the rapid increase in the number, amount, or extent of something, as a uniquely modern experience spurred on by mass media. The speakers on this panel discuss contemporary forms of proliferation facilitated by digital spheres, the affective responses they elicit, and how they might inform political engagement. An accelerated influx of information, for instance, can obscure distinctions between inclusion and exclusion and reproduce the kind of anti-rational engagement Tarde and Durkheim studied.
In a series of short panel presentations Deva Woodly, Dominic Pettman, and Mariana Silva unpack the many ways that art and eros stir our political passions and connect us to one another as well as larger networks of life-making that exceed the confines of the human species. In the panel discussion, moderated by Hugh Raffles, we talk about how this extra-human network creates communities and forms of being together in the world that both underpin and supersede entrenched conceptions of the common.
Hypnotist Melissa Tiers leads the afternoon session with a discussion on how hypnotic strategies are incorporated into media campaigns today. The proliferation of datamining and predictive personality profiling has made it possible for corporations, political campaigns and other entities to tap into and manipulate our unconscious bias using the tools of hypnosis. After talking through some of these basic tenets as they apply to our contemporary moment Tiers invites everyone to follow her in a group trance.
Dominic Pettman, Professor of Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College and Chair of the Liberal Studies Program at the New School for Social Research
Hugh Raffles, Professor of Anthropology and Director, Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography, and Social Thought
Mariana Silva, artist
Melissa Tiers, Founder, Center for Integrative Hypnosis; faculty member, The New York Open Center and Tri-State College of Acupuncture
Deva Woodly, Assistant Professor of Politics The New School for Social Research
Mobility in Post Democracy
Post Democracy has recently arisen as a complex and contradictory term: for some it promises a new participatory platform for the mobilizing forces of social media, considered catalysts for political imagination. Others equate Post Democracy with democracy's demise due to the penetration of global capitalism into every regime type coupled with the increasing intervention of international actors in domestic politics. Decried as "democratic melancholy," such skepticism is considered ill placed by yet others for whom "democracy" was never a political system to aspire to.
Under the heading Mobility in Post Democracy, the Vera List Center is presenting a series of interdisciplinary panels, seminars, and lectures that examine Post Democracy as a condition informed by mobility – across institutions, states, and ideologies. The series brings together an international group of scholars, activists, students, and artists to probe the concept of Democracy more generally at the time of the contested U.S. presidential elections, and the concurrent emergence and demise of democratic regimes throughout the world.
Artist-driven, the events ask questions such as: How can new social movements counter networks of power? What creative organizing tactics are being developed to reinvigorate a democratic ethos? What forms of political institutions and alliances are flexible and resilient?
Post Human, Affect, Proliferation, as part of Mobility in Post Democracy, is a Vera List Center public seminar series and supported by the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility.