Inigo Wilkins ~ Upsetting Equilibria: Why Prometheans Don’t Play Dice ~ part 2

30.03.16

Embedded in cultural hegemony, there is a more widespread fetishization of uncertainty against instrumental rationality and the technological transformation of nature. I will interrogate the ideological presuppositions behind these objections, in particular the conservative understanding of nature, and the application of the physics of equilibria to the biological and social realm. I will argue for a transition from the theologically freighted extrinsic framework of the laws of nature to a multi-level account of the intrinsic constraints of complex systems. I will specify how these systems relate to randomness and unpredictability, using the concepts of degeneracy, resilience, and performativity. My claim will be that, at the level of biological and social systems, this necessitates moving beyond trivial probabilistic models of risk and towards a collective process of performative modelling. Finally, I will show how these ideas can be applied to the context of art.

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