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Annual ETHU Seminar 2020-2021 – Objects, Technology, Existence: Engaging with Graham Harman’s OOO

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The Centre for Ethics and Humanism (ETHU) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) kindly invites you to its Annual ETHU Seminar, edition 2020-2021:

Objects, Technology, Existence: Engaging with Graham Harman’s OOO.

This symposium was originally scheduled to take place physically at the VUB in March 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy now to organize it anew in an entirely online format.

Graham Harman’s object-oriented ontology (OOO) has in the past decade become an unavoidable approach—not in the least due to Harman’s prolific writing and speaking on topics as diverse as art, architecture, media and politics. Those themes invariably take on a new (and fresh) light when viewed through the lens of his unique perspective. At the same time, Harman has continued to sculpt and finetune his central framework throughout these discussions. This way, OOO has grown into a potent, and established, tool for creative thinking on the most diverse matters.

At this online symposium we engage with Harman himself and with his work. Specifically, we want to zoom in on matters of technology and existence—this symposium being part of an ongoing research project at the Centre for Ethics and Humanism on “Existential Ethics of AI.” We are living in “algorithmic times,” in which many mechanisms that steer and affect our everyday life go hiding behind the scenes: machine learning, “smart” systems, technical infrastructures, that imperceptibly shape our existence. We may use OOO, with its notion of an ever-withdrawing “real object,” to gain a fresh perspective on our predicament. What conceptual instruments and insights can OOO offer us for coping in our contemporary, intensely digitally mediated environment? In dialogue with Harman, the speakers at the seminar will approach these issues, each in their own way engaging with OOO.

Speakers: Prof. dr. Graham Harman (SCI-Arc), Lisa Doeland (Radboud University Nijmegen), Dr. Arjen Kleinherenbrink (Radboud University Nijmegen), Niki Young (University of Malta), Prof. dr. Hans Alma (VU Amsterdam), Dr. Yoni Van Den Eede (VUB)

Practical: the event will take place entirely online, on Wednesday February 24th, 2021 – from 6 to 10 PM CET. No registration is needed. All interested are welcome to attend for free, via Microsoft Teams (no download, installation or account needed – NOTE: browser access is not available on all browsers. The preferable browser is Google Chrome).

Meeting URL:

Organizers: Dr. Yoni Van Den Eede (ETHU – VUB), Prof. dr. Karl Verstrynge (ETHU – VUB)

Program: pdf fileAnnual ETHU Seminar 20-21 program (426 KB)

Abstracts and speaker bios: pdf fileAnnual ETHU Seminar 2020-2021 abstracts (758 KB)

Info: contact event coordinator Yoni Van Den Eede.