Aesthetics and Politics Conference Investigates Cognitive Capitalism

A piece by co-host Warren Neidich, ‘Neuropower,’ 2008. Image: Warren Neidich

Beginning Friday (Nov. 9), Aesthetics and Politics Program Director Arne De Boever, along with Delft [The Netherlands] School of Design faculty Warren Neidich and Art Center faculty Jason Smith, co-host the academic conference The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 1 in Los Angeles.

The event draws together philosophers/critical theorists, media theorists, scientists and artists to discuss “the state of the mind and brain under the conditions of contemporary capitalism in which they have become the new focus of laboring.” Cognitive Capitalism, sometimes called the “third capitalism,” posits the argument that the current political economy has moved beyond the merchant- and manufacturing-based models to one that rests in the digital sector.

More from artist and writer Neidich:

How do the transformed conditions of labor—more specifically the fact that so much contemporary labor is immaterial, affective, and cognitive—transform the role of emancipatory politics and education today? When cognitive labor, the work of the mind in the new economy as it participates in social media, web browsing and crowd sourcing, becomes the source of power and wealth, what effects and constraints might that have on the conditions of contemplation itself.

The talks mine various topics ranging from cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, literary studies, economics, politics, sociology, cultural studies and media and art history, to name a few.

A keynote address will be given by Italian Marxist theorist and activist Franco “Bifo” Berardi (introduced by French literary critic and cultural theorist Sylvère Lotringer) on Friday, as well as presentations by Jonathan Beller, Jodi Dean, Tiziana Terranova, Patricia Pisters and Bruce Wexler.

The conference kicks off at the Goethe-Institute at 7:30 pm, followed by the lectures on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 10-11) at the West Hollywood Public Library. No registration is required and the events are open to the public for free.

The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 2 will be held at the Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry on March 8-10, 2013.

Part I: Complete Schedule

Friday, Nov. 9, 7:30 pm – Goethe-Institute

  • Franco “Bifo” Berardi, introduced by Sylvère Lotringer, The General Intellect is Looking for a Body

Saturday, Nov. 10 – West Hollywood Public Library

10 am-12 pm, moderated by Arne De Boever

  • Jodi Dean, Collective Desire
  • Tiziana Terranova, Proletarianization of the Brain

2-4 pm, moderated by Warren Neidich

  • Patricia Pisters, Madness, Miracles, and Machines
  • Bruce Wexler, Neuroplastic Sensitivities and Embodiment of Constructed Realities

4:30-6:30 pm, graduate student panel, organized by Manuel Shvartzberg and Linette Park

  • Kuan Hwa, Disrupted Subjectivities and Phronèsis in Aesthetic Labor
  • Seth Stewart, Digital Dandyism: Narcissism and the Politics of the Facebook Aesthetic
  • John A. Tyson, Pedagogical Fields of Resistance To the Pathologies of Cognitive Capitalism

Sunday, Nov. 11, 10 am-12 pm – West Hollywood Public Library

Moderated by Jason Smith

  • Jonathan Beller, Attention Capital Violence and the Psycho-Logistics Thereof
  • Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Visual Background of the Financial Collapse

The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism: Part 1
Friday, Nov. 9, 7:30 pm
5750 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

Saturday, Nov. 10, 10 am-6:30 pm
Sunday, Nov. 11, 10 am-12 pm
West Hollywood Public Library
626 N. San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles

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