We live in an age of unprecedented complexity, and unprecedented access to that complexity. According to curator, writer and historian Glenn Adamson, there is good reason to believe that this factor—as much as any ideological conflict—is a prime cause for the recent political failures in the UK and USA. Complexity is inherently alienating, even overwhelming. But we can refuse its pressures to disengage.
In this lecture, Adamson draws from a broad range of examples in art, design, craft and science, and argues that cross-disciplinary expertise might be a means to address our current predicament. In particular, he emphasises the way that informed making-practices can allow us to intervene in commodity flows in such a way as to increase awareness and underpin ethical responsibility.
This event is part of a series titled 'We Want Everything', programmed by Dr Stephen Wilson in collaboration with the ICA. The series is staged in collaboration with the ICA and the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon College of Arts postgraduate community. We Want Everything asks us to recognize the meaning of art and human life regardless of economic flows.
Given the neoliberal conditions we find our future-selves contending with, this public series of events explores human prerequisites such as citizenship, agency and the permission to experience any emotions. In an unstable field of bio-political inequalities, unconscious bias, data technologies, happiness industries and isolation, how do art and design practices maintain their complexity and deviation under the auspices of increased atomization?
In collaboration with UAL, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon
Image: 3D model reconstructed from a stack of electron-microscopic images of mouse brain. Courtesy of Daniel Berger, Lichtman Lab, Harvard University