Cosmopolis #2: Rethinking the Human
Launched as a platform at the Centre Pompidou in 2016, Cosmopolis focuses on research-based, collaborative and interdisciplinary contemporary art practices. Through residencies, exhibitions, discursive programs and publications, it engages with artists who are concerned with the production of relationships and the exchange of knowledge, participating in a resurgence of interest in cosmopolitical approaches. Following 'Cosmopolis #1: Collective Intelligence', presented in 2017 in Paris, focused on new forms of artistic collaboration, 'Cosmopolis #1.5: Enlarged Intelligence', presented in 2018 in Chengdu, China saw artists envisioning how to draw on artificial and ecological intelligence towards collectively defined ends.
The reorientation of technological means, along with questions of scale and of social value, are at the core of 'Cosmopolis #2: rethinking the human'. In today’s discussion of the post-human and of technological singularity, artists remind us that most humans have been excluded from ‘universal’ formulations of the idea of Humanity. The European Renaissance fashioned ‘Man’ to the exclusion of women and non-Christians, the latter increasingly defined through the invented paradigm of ‘lesser races’. By the 18th century, these formulations of humanity were integral to a ‘civilizing’ ideology that linked the idea of ‘progress’ to technology’s capacity to improve living conditions. European conceptions of the human were promoted within régimes of expropriation of resources, labour and reproductive capability. This project of modernity, presented with the teleological force of the inevitable, is today brought into question as one among the many possible histories of the evolution of society and technology.
Cosmopolis #2 presents constellations of works around technological diversity, relationships between place and scale and the affirmation of alternative ontologies. Through artistic inquiries into how small-scale and differently articulated and networked social formations can generate other models and value systems, the project pays fine attention to process and social rhythm. Artists and cultural producers develop generative spaces to work against the prevailing planetary system’s mainstream, experimenting with alternative futures beyond neoliberal individualism. Cosmopolis #2 connects these questions to artistic explorations of the entanglement of the human and the non-human.
- Centre Pompidou
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