On Tuesday (Oct. 2), the WHAP! Lecture Series presents the U.S. premiere of director François Lagarde’s film, Simondon of the Desert—a documentary celebrating the work of French philosopher of technology, Gilbert Simondon (1924–1989). The film, which plays on the film title from Luis Buñuel's Simon of the Desert (1965), hits the screen at 6:30 pm at the West Hollywood Library, City Council Chambers.
The premiere coincides with what would have been Simondon's 88th birthday and is followed by a Q&A with Lagarde and other scholars of Simondon’s work. The film was selected (outside of competition) for the International Festival for Documentary Film in Marseille this summer, and was recently shown in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo.
Arne De Boever, director of the Aesthetics & Politics program, who was interviewed for the film, has translated texts by Simondon. A recent translation is available through the open-access journal of philosophy he edits, Parrhesia.
Writes De Boever in an email:
Simondon is one of the most important 20th-century philosophers of technology—someone who had real technological expertise and developed a philosophy on the basis of his careful study of technical objects. I like both of these elements. It seems to me that there's less and less technological expertise around, even if there are more and more technical objects. So, I think philosophy could contribute something to this state of affairs by reflecting seriously on technical objects.
It's particularly interesting to me that Simondon ties his philosophy of technology to reflections on perception, the imagination, invention and art. I've translated a letter Simondon wrote to the French philosopher Jacques Derrida on techno-aesthetics and it gives you a good sense of what he was interested in. His thoughts on techno-aesthetics and his theory of technology and technical objects in general, resonate strongly with what [faculty members] Ajay Kapur, Michael Darling and their students are doing in the Music Technology program at CalArts.
Learn more about the Simondon scholars involved with the film on the event's calendar page.
De Boever holds another public session on Simondon's work on Wednesday evening (Oct. 3) from 6-9 pm in room D206 at CalArts. The discussion features special guest speaker and German philosopher Erich Hoerl, a scholar of Simondon's work.
Simondon of the Desert
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 6-9 pm