[iDC] on epistemologies

Stefan Roemer stefanroe at web.de
Tue Jul 5 06:49:18 UTC 2011

Dear list,

The ongoing discussion on the question of digital in comparison to traditional knowledge or information and libraries, as well as pedagogy related to epistemology like Anya Kamenetz, John Sobol or Elizabeth Losh, but also Tania Pérez-Bustos discuss in relation to gendered epistemologies etc. and all the others seems to show that there is a lot of differences coming up. Our daily life has already completely changed and we are still competing with the ghosts of hierarchic modernist thinking––was Postmodernism just a dream? We have to continue thinking and practicing in an institution, which is still the old one. Better: in Europe the so called Bolgna-process fosters a new old pedagogical system.

Interesting that just right now in germany we face the crash of a young minister, who was the embodiment of the new poltical dynamics: a combination of good looking, smart rhetorics and an aristocratical AND titled old family-tree. Mr. zu Guttenberg, the former minister of defense, had compiled his PhD-thesis from hundreds of texts. Well, this hasn’t any newness, but that it was possible to decode his fake with an act of commons through an internet search engine –– this is quite a novelty. And that was not the only case. But isn’t this an interesting case for the list discussion relating to new epistemologies?

With great interest I read Trebor’s invitation for MobilityShifts; some reminiscences of the Free Cooperation conference in Buffalo, where I had the pleasure to participate, are still fresh. Asked from Trebor to introduce myself, I am an artist, activist, photographer and filmmaker intervening with kinds of De-Conceptual art, critique of the public sphere, image- and textrelations, new media and transcultural theory. After a six years contract as professor for practice and theory of New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich now I teach as a Visiting-professor for Creative Writing at the University of Arts in Berlin.


Since a long time involved in research and reflexions on genealogies of artistic thinking––trough and with different media––my recent Wiki-project on conceptual art, "Conceptual Paradise", could be interesting for you:


I worked for four years on the documentary film »Conceptual Pradigms« (2006) on and as conceptual art, which prepared the footage basis for the wiki; and in the following we worked together with students and a transdisciplinary group of theorists Kathrin Busch (philosophy), Eva Birkenstock (arthistory), Ulf Wuggenig (soziology) sowie Martin Warnke (informatics) to built up the wiki (2007-2010). 2010 our wiki received the "Lehrpreis"/teaching award of the Leuphana University in Lüneburg. The urge was to find a actual form of accessable archive. No doubt this is much more appropriate than a library, even if it functions as a librarysystem.

My main focus in the field of conceptual art is epistemology because I am searching to link its epistemolgies to practices like this list and conference in and on the internet––publishing, discussing and formulating forms of knowledge through forms of information. For this it seems to be necessary to think into the genealogies of philosophy: The issue of "interst" touches a wide cultural and scientific field: from learning to the library as archive to episteme, cognition and knowledge. To take an epistemological perspective from the arts seems to be unconventional, and I'd like to favor "interest" in contrary to the term "competence". For this consideration also the term "perception" is important, which I link with contemporary transnational (global) conceptualisms in the sense of transcultural and transmedial conceptual art. This I consider as contemporary forms of De-conceptual art (detached from a deconstruction of the ideology of conceptual art).

In his book "Suspension of Perception. Attention, Spectacle, Modern Culture" Jonathan Crary (1999) traced the genealogy of the term perception in the 19. Century as a dissolution from the Kantian transcendental philosophy. Since that time the question polarises, if a gain of insights works through convergence or through dispersion of perception.

George Franck examines the shift in the knowledge society in his "The Economics of attention" (1998) from money to a "donated attention". From this he concludes consequences for the subject, which strives increasingly for a public, as well as for labour, which favors intellectual in relation to manual labor. This new "immaterial labour" (Virno, 2005) operates with control to the self entrepreneur (Bröcklin, 2007), whereby criticism in relation to the model of participation is back-pushed at the same time. These forms of labour were valid before only for artistic production. This all well discussed, but did we decode the terms we use fort his discussion?


Since Humanities are––with many relations––interwoven with the latin conception "inter esse" over the last fifteen years became a notorious manifestation for working, thinking and beeing online. The state of beeing––intellectual, physical and medial––in-between became the favorite contrary to the stable and rigid forms of earlier knowledge and the self.

I want to foster the discussion on "interest" in its various relations to the passions.


My project points first hand on a fundamental new assumption of episteme/knowledge in relation (in-between) to social new media as well as thinking and the self with and in the arts. In a second step it will ask for transdisciplinary and multifacetted research.

Please all comments

Stefan Römer
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/attachments/20110705/040e78ca/attachment.htm 

More information about the iDC mailing list