From Model to Image: On the Possibility of Media Aesthetics for Biology
Associate Professor in the Philosophy of Technology and Science and Technology Studies
Arizona State University
October 13, 2022 | 4:00 PM | Cobb 307
Reception to follow in Cobb 310
About the Lecture
This talk attempts to tackle the central provocation in the postscript of my recently published book Molecular Capture: The Animation of Biology (2021): namely, that an alternative genealogy of image culture in the biosciences is needed in order to resist being captured by the governmental rationality of visual perception. To make good on this claim, I follow a circuitous path that starts in contemporary molecular animation, looks back to the cinema of Jean Painlevé, works through the aesthetic biology of Susanne K. Langer, and then pushes forward to contemporary debates in the complexity sciences and the computational biosciences. By charting this course through different eras of biology, cinema, philosophy, and computing, the wager is that genuine alternatives for visual epistemology in the biosciences become possible to imagine. In the end, the talk tries to answer the following question: Can we conceive a relation between biology and image media such that media aesthetics informs how we do biology?
About the Speaker
Adam Nocek is Associate Professor in the Philosophy of Technology and Science and Technology Studies in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University. He is also the Founding Director of ASU’s Center for Philosophical Technologies. Nocek has published widely on the philosophy of media and science; speculative philosophy (especially Whitehead); design philosophy, history, and practice; and critical and speculative theories of computational media. He recently published Molecular Capture: The Animation of Biology (Minnesota 2021). Nocek is the co-editor (with Tony Fry) of Design in Crisis: New Worlds, Philosophies and Practices, The Lure of Whitehead (with Nicholas Gaskill), along with several other collections and special issues, including a special issue of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities (with Cary Wolfe) titled, "Ontogenesis Beyond Complexity." Nocek is also Assistant Clinical Professor in the Medical Humanities at the Creighton University School of Medicine and is Faculty in Artes Liberales at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Nocek previously held the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Professorship, 2019-2022.