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VIDEOGRAM 120: Thomas Moynihan

St 14. 12. 2022, 19:00

Zveme na další lekci z cyklu Videogram / TIM Master Class, ze série přednášek o současné kurátorské a umělecké praxi.

Animalitarianism in times of turbulence: What encounters with nonhuman intelligences have taught about our own
In the late 1600s, John Wilmot wrote the following lines: "Were I (who to my cost already am / One of those strange, prodigious creatures, man) / A spirit free to choose, for my own share / What case of flesh and blood I pleased to wear, / I'd be a dog, a monkey, or a bear". First, one should point out that it's almost certain we are the only species on Earth whose members have ever felt this way, we are the only species whose members can feel this way. People have seemingly always conscripted fellow animals as methods for getting a measure on our own minds. The animals are our relatives, but their relative difference illuminates. Often this only leaves humans feeling more alone, the desire for 'place' remaining forever frustrated; but there are important lessons—of humility and of open-mindedness—to be had when looking to minds beyond. This talk explores the history of ideas about nonhuman intelligences, as episodes in our species's search for its own place in the universe. It zooms in on revelations regarding the sophistication of animal minds and societies during the 20th century—that is, that century when long-held convictions in the supercilious superiority of Homo sapiens came into doubt, insofar as its own continued survival also became an obviously open question. The talk speculates on what further lessons might be had, ahead, as we discover more minds, whilst entering a yet more precarious century.

Thomas Moynihan
Thomas Moynihan is a writer and researcher from the UK, the author of X-Risk: How Humanity Discovered Its Own Extinction (Urbanomic/MIT Press, 2020), and a research fellow at the Forethought Foundation. He has written for BBC Future, New Scientist, and The Guardian, amongst others. His research focuses upon the historical development of ideas concerning extinction, alongside expectations concerning the further future for life in general. Motivating interests include changing ideas of history, the future, and how far the horizons of contingency and consequence might reach.


14/12 v 19:00
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