“Of Whales and the Amazon Forest Gabriel Tarde and Cosmopolitics”
by Adam Robbert
An interview with Bruno Latour conducted by Brian Massumi and Erin Manning available from Senselab HERE. Here’s Bruno Latour sharp as ever:
The multiplicity of beings that are asking questions, this is not what is lacking right now. What is lacking are artists, political thinkers, scientists, militants, capable of listening and articulating. The problem is not a deficit of emergent or “instaurated” beings, the problem is that our academic organization is so poor, so unwell that we have enormous difficulty representing the beings with which we must pose the questions and compose the world.
In the end whale song is an explanation of something we already knew, something we chose to ignore and the connection, the rhizome, between the sound engineer, the researchers, the artist, the militant, the political thinker make it present to our common consciousness. The question is not, it seems to me, how to do it, but rather how is it possible that we know so little. And so, the connection: how is it possible that we have such difficulty making links between artists and the social sciences? Artists are always expressive of an extremely rich mode of being, one that is sadly too often themselves! Whereas social sciences too often believe that they must imitate the hard sciences despite the fact that the hard sciences engage the concept of objectivity in quite a different manner. The problem is the extraordinary archaism of the intellectual-political tools, and this is what is really alarming. We are completely unadapted, and the problem is not the beings we need to represent, the problem is that we live an extremely limited intellectual life (pp. 12 – 13).
Definitely some worthwhile Sunday reading in the rest of the interview.