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Monthly Archives: November 2016


“In this wide-ranging talk Professor Gumbrecht argues that the ideas of presence, evidence, and latency are interconnected in distinct ways at different moments in history. His argument proceeds by delimiting distinct chronotopes in history that have structured our relationship to time and the objects we experience within it. He begins by describing the heightened self-reflexivity of Cartesian dualism in the seventeenth century, a philosophy that put the self between the world and evidence of it. Gumbrecht posits that after Descartes we can discern a number of competing ways of conceiving of the world, from historicism, to what he calls Diderot’s “prose of the world,” to an era of the “broad present” that arose in the mid-twentieth century. Each of these moments in intellectual history rearranges the relationship among Gumbrecht’s key concepts of evidence, the present, latency, atmosphere, and desire. Gumbrecht maps these trends onto the shift in Martin Heidegger’s views on being. He ends his talk with a discussion of our virtually mediated world in terms of latency and evidence.”

Deterritorial Investigations Unit

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In his 1991 tome on postmodernism, Frederic Jameson famously suggested that under “late capitalism” – that is, the kind of globalized, flexible capitalism that tore past the limit points imposed by earlier stages of development – we’ve lost the ability to properly deploy ‘cognitive’ maps of our environment, thus producing a disorienting effect in which what was once familiar becomes unrecognizable. Jameson’s insight was drawn from the work of Kevin Lynch, the MIT-based urban planner and author of The Image of the City, who had suggested that people’s relation to their urban environments relied on imaginary representations to properly orient them; the city, then holds a psychological dimension wedded to the repeated movement of individuals through the spaces they live in. Radically alter that space – or set off a cascade of seemingly never-ending modulations – and the ability to tap into that imaginary representation begins to decay. Jameson…

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