Novum: A Compendium of Theories, Ideas, & Explorations For the Curious and the Creative

The Biotechnic Opera: Eat the Mouth That Feeds You

7pm Saturday, January 22, 2011

Avenue 50 Studio
131 N. Avenue 50
Highland Park (LA), CA

$5-10 Suggested Donation

Arne De Boever
Fallen Fruit
Carribean Fragoza

* Arne De Boever:  “New Norms for Living”
Early on in The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle asks what might be the work of the human being: not of the carpenter or the tanner, but of the human being as such? The question takes on new urgency in a time of crisis, in which our most basic forms of living are under threat. Such a situation raises the need for an exploration of new techniques of living or new biotechnologies. But how does this need for new biotechnologies relate to the so-called crisis? As Melinda Cooper has shown, one of the hallmarks of our time is that the administration’s betting on disaster (think Hurricane Katrina) goes hand in hand with its unprecedented investment in biotechnologies (in the speculative exploration of biological life). Given this relation between crisis and biotechnology, what can be the politics of bioart, which often uses biotechnologies, today? How can bioart be disentangled from neoliberal biopower? How can we live within the “flesh machine” that Critical Art Ensemble in one of its publications describes, but without being (entirely) consumed by it? These are the questions of the biotechnic opera today.

Arne De Boever did his doctoral studies at Columbia University in New York and teaches American Studies in the School of Critical Studies and the MA Program in Aesthetics and Politics at the California Institute of the Arts. He has published articles on literature, film, and critical theory and is one of the editors of Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy. His current research focuses on biopolitics and the novel.

* Fallen Fruit:  More info forthcoming.

*Caribbean Fragoza: More info forthcoming.

Novum is a new interdisciplinary lecture series, brought to you by Strophe! This is our first event. The series aims to satisfy the curious and the creative, and present new and unusual ideas, bringing together explorations and investigations from the fields of art, writing, science, history, religion, and philosophy. Because of our fondness for the uncanny, and our belief that interdisciplinary collaboration ignites creative brilliance, we bring together a series that will hopefully push audience members towards a “blankness of horizon of consciousness… formed not by the past but by the future… a not yet conscious ontological pull of the future, of a tidal influence exerted upon by that which lies out of sight below the horizon, an unconscious of what is yet to come.”*

* From Csicsery-Ronay Jr.’s The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction, who quotes and reinvigorates Ernst Bloch’s concept of the Novum. We name our series after this concept in hopes of the effects the series will have on attendee consciousness. Bloch defines the Novum as “a moment of newness in lived history that refreshes human collective consciousness, awakening it from the trancelike sense of history as fated and empty, into awareness that it can be changed… the unexpectedly new, which pushes humanity out of its present toward the not yet realized.”

Novum is a Strophe production curated by Janice Lee & Laura Vena.