Lecture (Jan 11 2019, Berlin): The Discrete Charm of the Alphabet

December 3, 2018

Alphabets — semiotic systems representing sounds — are not the only way language is transliterated. The Chinese writing system, for example, is based on pictograms. And yet the discrete — clearly distinguishable — characters of alphabets shape all of modern science. They are the basis of binary code and algorithms; biogenetics operate with the concept of DNA as code. They promise transparency and efficiency and generate new inscrutabilities and losses of control. What knowledge do these alphabetizations produce? What do they repress? Three lectures and a performance question limitless trust in codes, demand a new project of digital enlightenment that opens up historic backgrounds, and attempt to bring repressed memories back into consciousness through the flavor of a high-tech madeleine.


With Yuk Hui (philosopher of technology), Sybille Krämer (philosopher), Giuseppe Longo (mathematician and epistemologist), MEHL (artist collective with Claude Schötz, Jonas Loh and Marian Kaiser)


Moderated by Bernd Scherer (director of HKW)

Curated by Bernd Scherer and Olga von Schubert

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