Seminar | Art in the Contemporary Universe

IMMA + MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD

Saturday 20 September, 3.00pm – 5.00pm, 2014, Lecture Room, IMMA

(Please take note of the time change above for this event)

This seminar on Art in the Contemporary Universe explores a number of themes prompted by the exhibition The weakened eye of day by Isabel Nolan (IMMA June-September, 2014). The themes under discussion will address vast ideas, involving huge, probably unanswerable questions, such as what Italo Calvino has called overambitious projects in contemporary culture, grand narratives in science and the cosmological turn of recent philosophy. This seminar allows participants to explore realms of science, aesthetics and philosophy within the context of Nolan’s exhibition at IMMA.

Chaired by Paul J. Ennis (Lecturer MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD), Dublin. Speakers include; Dr. Fabio Gironi (Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Philosophy, UCD), Dr. David Roden (Lecturer in Philosophy, and author of Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human). Contributions will also be given by Isabel Nolan (Artist), Francis Halsall and Declan Long (Lecturers, MA Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD).

Further Information

Artists, philosophers, theologians and scientists share a fascination for seemingly intractable problems. Focused on the ‘big picture’ they are tasked with piecing together a sense of meaning in a world that feels increasingly contingent. We no longer live in a familiar world, but in a cold Universe. From the cosmological position we begin to look small, perhaps even insignificant. The sciences, in particular, have been the source of this creeping awareness and artists, philosophers, and theologians find themselves at the mercy of its encroachment upon their traditional territory.

Isabel Nolan’s work evokes precisely this feeling as it emerges in art. The pervasive tremor of deep time is everywhere in it and this same tremor haunts the ground of philosophy. This deep time, the time of an indifferent universe, brings with it a sense of meaninglessness. Can we nonetheless still gain traction on how it goes with the world once we begin to think at these time-scales? How, in the face of deep time, might we fuse together rational or artistic conceptions of the universe without overriding its contingency? What does the future look like when conceived from such a wide angle? It is these questions and more that ‘Art in the Contemporary Universe’ will seek to address.

Schedule: 3.00 – 5.00pm, Lecture Room, IMMA

Introduction | Isabel Nolan (Artist)

Chairpersons Address | Paul J. Ennis completed his PhD in Philosophy at University College Dublin. He is the author of Continental Realism (Zero Books, 2011), the Meillassoux Dictionary (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2014) and Cypherpunk Philosophy (Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming 2015).

Presentation 1| Manifest and Scientific Images: Arts contribution to our conception of a meaning-less universe

Dr. Fabio Gironi is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Philosophy, University College Dublin. He previously studied at the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” the University of London, and Cardiff University, where he obtained his Ph.D. His work focuses on the philosophy of science and the history of scientific conceptual frameworks, drawing from both analytic and continental sources.

Presentation 2 | How to think like a fossil: art for a posthuman universe.

Dr. David Roden is Lecturer in Philosophy at the Open University. He is author of Posthuman Life: Philosophy at the Edge of the Human. His research has addressed philosophical naturalism, interpretation-based accounts of meaning, computer music and the metaphysics of sound. Recent articles include “The Disconnection Thesis” in The Singularity Hypothesis: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment and “Nature’s Dark Domain: an argument for a naturalized phenomenology” in the Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement: Phenomenology and Naturalism.

Open Discussion + Questions and Answers | Dr. Fabio Gironi, Dr. David Roden, Paul J. Ennis, Francis Halsall and Declan Long.