Conference (15 – 16 October 2021): Gilbert Simondon: Ecological, aesthetic and technological modes of existence

Gilbert Simondon is known as a philosopher of technology. Yet in his principal book on that subject he reflects on the “entire genesis implicating man and the world of which the genesis of technicity is perhaps only a small part” (MEOT 168). His book Individuation in Light of Notions of Form and Information (1958), recently translated into English, reveals him in turn as a philosopher of nature. In lecture courses, Simondon reflects on further topics such as aesthetics and psychology of perception, imagination and invention. The challenge is to show to what extent Simondon’s theories – of technology, nature and culture – are interrelated.

The conference aims to study the interconnections between the different aspects of Simondon’s philosophy – the various “modes of existence” to which he devoted considerable reflection. Its basic premise is the one that Simondon himself can be seen to have accepted as essential, that technology and its development are not an independent reality but encounter science and ethics, religious and aesthetic thought within a regulative system that Simondon names “Culture”. Cultural objects fulfil the double role of mediating the relation between human beings and their natural as well as social milieu.

Simondon sees a role for philosophy in thinking the imbrication of these different modes of existence and fostering mutual exchange and communication between them. How can we think the relation between ecological, technological and aesthetic modes of existence? In what ways are they distinct in terms of structures and operations? In what ways are they engaged in a form of co-evolution? How might it be possible to reduce the fragmentation of human knowledge and experience and foster integration, in particular the reintegration of technical developments into cultural understanding?Organised at the University of Hildesheim within the context of the Research Training Group ‘Aesthetic Practice’, funded by the DFG, this conference brings together international scholars from various disciplines to discuss Simondon’s thought and its relevance today in the light of possible “symbiotic” forms of ecological, aesthetic and technological modes of existence.

Confirmed speakers:

Andrea Bardin – Oxford Brookes University
Jean-Hugues Barthélémy – Paris-Nanterre University
Olivier Del Fabbro – ETH Zurich
Heike Delitz – Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg
Yuk Hui – City University of Hong Kong
Anne Lefebvre – ENS Paris-Saclay
Cécile Malaspina – King’s College London
Anne Sauvagnargues – Paris-Nanterre University
Daniela Voss – University of Hildesheim

Organised by Daniela Voss and Anne Sauvagnargues

More information and registration:

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