Okayama Art Summit – Workshop

27–29 Sep 2019

Participation on the invitation of Glass Bead, and the release of their latest journal. 27–29 September, 2019 in Okayama, JP. Talk on “Non-Adaptive Artifacts,” and correlated thought experiment for the workshop.

On Non-Adaptive Artifacts

Archaeologically thought, artifacts are residues of certain historical, regionally specific dispositions, acting as instrumental vehicles in rendering said historical configurations intelligible. Artifacts belong to a somewhere and a somewhen, designed to be interacted with by somebody, and it’s in this way that artifacts are, most typically, understood as adaptive expressions of a given historical condition. Such adaptive expressions include a particular concept of the human for whom an artifact is socially adjudicated as desirable, necessary, good or useful. If artifacts help us better see and chart historical transformation from the perspective of the past, can they also be imagined as instruments for sensing and interacting with new histories that are not (yet) given, or historically situated? Otherwise said, how can artifacts participate in the construction of otherworlds wherein they are no longer adaptive expressions of current world configurations; ante-artifacts that help us grasp a transformative mode of non-belonging to existing historical givenness? The proposition of this talk is that in order to circumvent the dead-ends of futural hype – that is, when futurity is either a sheer continuation of current historical dispositions masked in blinking technologies, or when it is figured a-historically as a leap from nowhere – we require instruments that enable the cognizing of current historical configurations as impermanent and subject to mutation. When historical givenness is unavoidable as a point of departure, what does it mean to embark on the creation of artifacts that belong to another where and when, and how do we account for the movement from the what is-ness of the world at hand, to what could or ought to be as an instance of a remade world in excess of historical givenness?