Scaling Problems I:
Phenomenology and Politics

Saturday, 9 December 2017, 4 pm, diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

Workshop with Andrew Fisher.

Experiences, processes and techniques of scale, scaling and scalability have become ever more obvious in, and arguably determining of everyday life in recent years. Expectations of proportionality and experiences of the disproportionate, ideas of measure and its excess or lack, globalized politics of orientation and disorientation and the impact of techno-scientific forms upon individual lives, have foregrounded different but interlinked questions of scale. This workshop sets out to develop a conceptual framework with which to analyze these experiences, discourses, forms and possibilities of scale, scaling and scalability as they intertwine with one another to shape the present.

The philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty treats scale interestingly 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 workshop takes his thought on scale as a starting point from which to begin questioning the contemporary significance of this notion. It starts out from a shared reading of short extracts from The Phenomenology of Perception and The Visible and the Invisible, considers how Merleau-Ponty frames the significance of scale and goes on to discuss how we might relate this to 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. Since places are limited, participants are kindly asked to register in advance by emailing Andrew Fisher.

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.