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Prometheanism 2.0 – Roaming Assembly – Symposium by Bassam el Baroni

“Prometheanism is simply the claim that there is no reason to assume a predetermined limit to what we can achieve or to the ways in which we can transform ourselves and our world.” [1]

Concurrent to global post-financial crisis politics, a theory for a contemporary prometheanism has been carving itself out from different strands of philosophy and transdisciplinary research. As an event, Prometheanism 2.0 is a condensed and partial account of this strain of thought that cuts across rationalism, pragmatism, realism, materialism, science, technology, computation, economics, politics, and art to shape its foundations. It attempts to articulate the major positions, concerns, and questions for a contemporary prometheanism through both theoretical talks and artistic representations. In which sense can art practice be promethean? Where does the urge come from? Why and how should art take on this challenge? This event hopes to bring to the table discussions and questions regarding a contemporary promethean position and its embrace in art practice, contributing to further sharpening, clarifying, and formulating a prometheanism 2.0 that, to an extent, still remains germinal. READ MORE

by Bassam El Baroni, curator, writer and core theory-tutor, DAI

Description of my contribution

Often when we attempt to visualise prometheanism, we use some version of science-fiction cyborg as technology’s best effort at human, a Human 2.0. But prometheanism is more nuanced than just advancement. To see this, we need to look past humans running faster and living longer in a distant utopian future, and put prometheanism alongside other planetary scaled challenges. Beyond Cyborgs attempts to ignore the initial desire for advancement, that prometheanism conjures up, and instead asks ‘what does prometheanism look like in a state of survival?’ To grasp this interpretation, the audio performance samples science fiction novels which move beyond the traditional cyborg in cinematic portrayals. These narratives tackle humanity through complex uses of prometheanism, based on technologies completely separate from our own. They are based on biological or psychological enhancement, rather than digital technology. Through this they offer a version of prometheanism that can be applied to contemporary issues, without seeming far-fetched.

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