An Introduction

Mediation and Transdisciplinarity: Towards an Archaeology of Affection

The meeting will begin at 2pm with Philip Franses of Schumacher College who will introduce the forthcoming collaborative workshop between Schumacher College and Transtechnology Research “Formative Freedom or Darwinian Determinism” October 14th to 16th, informed by the recent publication of Lambert D., Chetland, C. and Millar C. (eds) The Intuitive Way of Knowing: A Tribute to Brian Goodwin (2013).

This will be followed by the introduction to the seminar series 2013/2014 by
Prof. Michael Punt, Dr. Martha Blassnigg and Dr. Hannah Drayson

This seminar series concerns an aspect of the history of human cognition in relation to media archaeology. It asks the question: what is the relationship between changes over time in media form and apparently corresponding changes in human cognition. Is it as Arnheim might suggest that art and media release dormant capacity in human cognition, or is it as perhaps more socially focused commentators might argue that media changes human cognitive competence? Alternatively is this simply a quirk of chance that technologies, such as the cinema, for example, exploit a latent cognitive potential that had hitherto remained occult or was human cognition prepared for the kinds of stimuli cinema provides by other technological changes such as train travel as Kirby, Gunning and Schivelbusch argue?  More adventurously: does the cinema represent a semi-material externalisation of consciousness that enables its expansion into hitherto uncharted affective domains? The seminar series will comprise presentations and papers anchored in existing atlases that try to codify aspects of human cognition such as encyclopedias, engineers’ stock books, actors’ manuals or Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas. We will ask how evidence from these and other sources might be further explored and applied to new media and human cognition today.