Interactive Metal Fatigue

June 6, 2012 - June 8, 2012
Erasmus University of Rotterdam


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Keynote speakers:

Jodi Dean
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Alain Ehrenberg
Université Paris Descartes
Mark Fisher
Goldsmiths College, University of London
Robert Pfaller
Universität fur angewandte Kunst, Vienna

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The conference aims to philosophically analyse the social and psychological burden that today’s thoroughly interactive society imposes on its members, through its unrelenting efforts to realise emancipation and democracy. The success of the Enlightenment project that turned emancipation and democracy into an incontrovertible part of modern life, has produced ‘interactive metal fatigue’ as an unforeseen and unintended consequence: the fatigue that follows upon our realisation that we have placed a virtually unlimited duty of emancipatory responsibility upon ourselves.

This guiding idea has been developed for the last couple of years in the research programme ‘Interactive metal fatigue’ directed by Gijs van Oenen, sponsored by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research NOW, and carried out at the Faculty of Philosophy of Eramus University Rotterdam. Initially, the research took its clues from the notion of ‘interpassivity’, as developed by philosophers Robert Pfaller and Slavoj Žižek, in the sphere of philosophy of art. Extended and enriched through the notion of ‘interactive metal fatigue’, the versatile concept of interpassivity has shown a surprising ability to diagnose a variety of new phenomena in contemporary society in new and productive ways.

The broad scope of the research topic will make the conference of interest not only to philosophers, but also to many practitioners in the social sciences and the humanities, as well as to those who deal with issues in art and public space, or issues of policing and governmentality. Cultural-psychological aspects of interpassivity, like depression and narcissism, will also be addressed.

The conference will be relatively compact – we aim for some 65 participants in all – and will take place at an attractive location in the city of Rotterdam.

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