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Organized by Warren Neidich in collaboration with UCLA Art|Sci
Center, Getty Research Center, Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art and
the Museum of Neon Art.
Friday, September 23, 2022, 9am to 6:30pm
UCLA California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)
Building 114 – Presentation Space, 5th Floor
570 Westwood Plaza – Los Angeles, California
This event is free and open to the public.
Speakers include: David William Bates, Arne De Boever, Anders Dunker,
Igor Galligo, Katie Grinnan, Karen Lofgren, Warren Neidich, David
Rosenboom, Victoria Vesna, Anuradha Vikram, John C. Welchman, and
Pinar Yoldas.
Press Release PDF (
https://ymlps2.com/4f8famhwjavaewbhqavawqbazae/click.php )

This symposium endeavors to describe the role of art and artists in
cognitive capitalism in which the brain and mind are the new factories
of the twenty-first century. We are no longer only proletariats
working on assembly lines to create objects but cognitariats (mental
laborers) working on screens to produce Big Data which is sold to
governmental and corporate entities. This has led authors such as
Byung-Chul Han (for example, in his book Psycho-politics:
Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power, 2000) to understand that
in our moment biopower (Foucault’s power over life as a form of the
granular management of life) has transitioned to psychopower, or
psychopolitics, in which the mental laborers or cognitariats gladly
give up their freedoms without direct coercion—to labor incessantly
and overtime to interact with digitality. Han calls this “smart
Yet, we are now on the doorstep of another transition almost as
important as that which transformed the agricultural/manufacturing
economies into knowledge/information economies. In this coming
neural-based economy the material brain and its neuroplasticity become
the focus of capitalist commodification—both directly and
indirectly; directly through technologies like brain-computer
interfaces, nootropics and cortical implants, and indirectly with Big
Data, neuroeconomics and neural consumerism. In this neural economy,
psychopower has further transitioned to neural power where the
material brain is put to work. In psychopower and neuropower, the
body’s importance is reduced and subsumed by the brain and mind. The
brain, as understood here, is not restricted to the bony carapace of
the skull (as cognitivists would have us believe) but is a situated
complex that extends into the socio-political-cultural-ecological
milieu with which it coevolves. Changes in the external milieu are
mirrored in the architectural composition of the brain through a
process that Bernard Stiegler referred to as exosomatic organogenesis,
a process in which technical rather than genetic evolution is at the
core of the liberation and perfection of organ systems, especially the
brain. In this model, the brain is a diverse, variable, rhizomatic,
intensive, becoming entity in constant transformation. Consciousness
is no longer understood as something restricted to, and most elegantly
formed in, humankind, but rather is traced into the deep history of
inorganic matter and shared with plants and animals in
non-hierarchical alignments.
>From this starting point, “Art and Cognitive Activism” features
artists, architects, art historians, and philosophers using their own
practices, materials, histories, and apparatuses to unveil the
mysteries of this becoming brain model. In fact, the power of art is
its special alliance with the sensory, perceptual, and cognitive as a
source of emancipation, magic, and diversity in contradistinction to
cognitive neuroscientific models of aesthetics in which the brain
becomes a map or model of data points subject to forms of
institutionalization, normalization, and demystification. Here,
cognitive activism becomes evident as a reaction and form of dissensus
against these conservatisms. Key to this conference is Catherine
Malabou’s entreaty that the brain is our work and we have the
capacity to make our own brains if we have the fortitude to do so. As
Victoria Pitts-Taylor writes in her book The Brain’s Body (2016);
“Although it is not framed as such in scientific accounts, the
plastic, social brain also reveals neurobiology to be political—that
is, capable of change and transformation, and open to social
structures and their contestation.”
Full schedule: 
https://sfsia.art/related-events/art-and-cognitive-activism/ (
https://ymlps2.com/8e889mhwbaaaewbhqadawqbazae/click.php )    




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