Jason W. Moore in conversation with Erich Hörl: World-Ecology, General Ecology and Cyberneticization

2016-05-31 An Evening Conversation

Venue: Wasserturm Lüneburg, Bei der Ratsmühle, 21335 Lüneburg

Start 18:00

Jason W. Moore in Conversation with Erich Hörl: World-Ecology, General Ecology and Cyberneticization.

What age do we live in? The “age of men”, also known as the Anthropocene, the “age of capital” – the Capitalocene – or the “age of cyberneticization”? Jason W. Moore and Erich Hörl will sort through this thicket of contemporary answers to the fundamental question in light of discussions about ecology, environment, crisis, capital, technology and technopolitics.

According to Jason W. Moore's outstanding work capitalism is as a way of organizing nature and during the last years he has developped a strong and inventive conceptual-methodological frame to analyze the historical natures through which formations of capital, power, and production emerge as bundles of human/extra-human activity since the long sixteenth century. Capitalism turns out to be not only the exploitation of wage labor, but essentially based on the appropriation of Cheap Natures: food, labour-power, energy and raw materials. While Moore shares with many contemporary critical thinkers a fundamental anti-cartesian stance, he gives a very convincing reading of Cartesianism culminating in the Nature/Society binary as a force operative in the world, as a real abstraction of early capitalist accumulation. According to Moore at the core of the capitalist project, from its sixteenth century origins, was the scientific and symbolic creation of nature in its modern form as Nature, as something that could be mapped, abstracted, quantified, and otherwise subjected to control. In this view modernity appears as a producer and a product of the web of life. Erich Hörl will challenge some of the theoretical-political implications of Moore's analysis. He will thereby focus on an alternative history of modernity as process of cybernetization. Cybernetization turns up as the core of capitalisms accumulation strategy having its climax in todays environmental media culture that implements a new accumulation zone. Are we witnessing the rise of a fifth element of Cheap Nature and a new frontier: data? Together they will discuss the methodological premises, conceptual vocabulary, and analytical frames necessary for contemporary critical thought.

Jason W. Moore is a historical geographer and world historian at Binhamton University, where he is Associate Professor of Sociology and Research Fellow at the Fernand Braudel Center. Currently he is an invited research fellow at the Digital Culture Research Lab (DCRL) of Leuphana University of Lüneburg. He is author of Capitalism in the Web of Life (Ver­so, 2015), Transformations of the Earth: Nature in the Making and Unmaking of the Modern World (in Chinese, Commercial, 2015); Ecologia-mondo e crisi del capitalismo: La fine della natura a buon mercato (Ombre Corte, 2015); and editor of Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (PM Press, 2016). He writes frequently on the history of capitalism, environmental history, and social theory. Moore is presently completing Ecology and the Rise of Capitalism, an environmental history of the rise of capitalism, and with Raj Patel, Seven Cheap Things: A World-Ecological Manifesto – both with the University of California Press. He is co­ordinator of the Word-Ecology Resarch Network. Many of his es­says can be found on his website: www.jasonwmoore.com.

Erich Hörl is Professor of Media Culture at the Institute of Culture and Aesthetics of Digital Media (ICAM), Leuphana University of Lüneburg. He is also a member of Leuphana's Digital Culture Research Lab (DCRL). Currently he is an invited research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Konstanz. His current research interests concern the development of a general ecology of media and technologies as well as a critique of the process of cyberneticization of all life forms and modes of existence since around 1950. He writes widely on the theoretical challenges and the historical becoming of todays technological condition. He is contributing editor of Die technologische Bedingung: Beiträge zur Beschreibung der technischen Welt (Suhrkamp 2011); Die Transformation des Humanen. Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte der Kybernetik (Suhrkamp 2008); and forthcoming: On General Ecology: The New Ecological Paradigm in the Neocybernetic Age (Bloomsbury 2016). Among his papers are „A Thousand Ecologies“, The Whole Earth. California and the Disappearance of the Outside, ed. by D. Diedrichsen and A. Franke (Sternberg Press 2013), 121-131; „Die Ökologisierung des Denkens“, Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft 14, 2016, 33-45.