Andrew Feenberg, Pieter Lemmens, Søren Riis, Ike Kamphof, Mark Coeckelbergh, Yoni Van Den Eede
Our lives are nowadays impregnated with information and communication technologies and digital media, to the extent that it is all but impossible to distinguish between who “we” are and what those “media” are. We define ourselves, even give meaning to life, by way of technology. This process of meaning-making can be framed as a project, a work that one must carry out on an everyday, personal-existential basis. But the process comes in different sizes and shapes. First, not all of it is done in an equally conscious way. Second, the larger frameworks – or worldviews – within which meaning is sought after, can differ: functionalist, consumerist, ethical, … Depending on where the emphasis lies, another form of “living with ICT” gets instantiated. Third, exactly the degree to which one understands oneself as either intertwined with or independent from his or her media, may influence implicit or explicit decision-making processes concerning the place and meaning of ICT in one’s life. In this colloquium, we explore these issues, in general through the prism of philosophy of technology, and in particular by way of the guiding notion, significant in the recent history of philosophy, of “the art of living.” More precisely, we apply the idea of life conceptualized as an artistic, creative undertaking – exemplified in the work of, to name a few, Nietzsche and Foucault – to the study of everyday interaction with ICT. In the philosophy of technology, concepts potentially convergent with this notion have been developed by amongst others Andrew Feenberg, who with his theory of “technical micropolitics” has outlined a comprehensive program of user appropriation or modification of technology. That very denomination serves to illustrate that even in everyday projects of living and dealing with technology, “the political” is never far off. Living with ICT, indeed, never takes place in a vacuum. Thus, over and above personal choices ranging from “adoption” to “rejection,” there are of course larger overarching social, cultural, and political frameworks in which people partake and that may be said to vary on a scale from “left,” i.e., (neo)marxist to “right,” i.e., (neo)liberal. In the lectures at hand, we aim to probe the interfaces between personal conduct and larger cultural contexts, in function of the question as to how a personal, existential “art of living with ICT” can be creatively conceived nowadays.
Location: iMinds-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 9 – 1st floor, 1050 Brussels
Admittance is free, but registration is required at http://smit.vub.ac.be/seminar/form.aspx?id=617c3da6-dbd7-4e8a-b716-af007b9b2de1
Digital Cultures & Arts cluster of iMinds-SMIT – Studies on Media, Information & Telecommunication, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
In collaboration with ETHU – Centre for Ethics and Humanism, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & CDO – Centre for Sustainable Development, Universiteit Gent
Dr. Yoni Van Den Eede – firstname.lastname@example.org