Experiences, processes and techniques of scale, scaling and scalability have become ever more obvious in, and arguably determining of everyday life. Expectations of proportionality and experiences of the disproportionate, the globalized politics of orientation and disorientation and the impact of techno-scientific form upon individual life, have all come to foreground different but interlinked questions of scale. Scaling Problems is a series of workshops that sets out to develop concepts with which to analyse experiences, discourses, forms and possibilities of scale, scaling and scalability as they intertwine with one another to shape the present.
The first workshop in the series pursued a close reading of extracts from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s The Phenomenology of Perception and The Visible and the Invisible, with a particular emphasis on how he conceived of scale as, on the one hand, a mode of abstraction – a defining and problematic aspect of scientific and technological culture – and, on the other hand, as an ambiguous and labile aspect of embodied being in the world.
The second workshop will focus on a close reading of two short texts from Jean-Luc Nancy as a way of beginning to explore his thought on scale and to question the contemporary significance of scale. We will start out from a shared reading of ‘Nous Autres’ (an essay figuring photography as a mode of intersubjectivity) and ‘Human Excess’ (a section of the book Being Singular Plural). Reading these texts side by side will enable us to consider how Nancy frames the significance of scale and will provide a basis upon which to think critically about contemporary meanings of scale, processes of scaling and forms of scalability.
The workshop will take place in English. Copies of reading materials will be circulated in advance. The event is free, but since places are limited, registration will be required. To register, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Fisher is Lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London and founding editor of the journal Philosophy of Photography. He is currently pursuing a research project “The Image of Thought” at the Bertolt Brecht Archive in Berlin. His recent research and publications have focused on issues of scale in contemporary photography, political life and philosophy from a heterodox phenomenological standpoint.