In Keynote 1 for the Mimetic Turn, Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen reloads Plato’s critique of mimesis for the digital age by restaging the following dialogue:
Socrates : Of the many excellences which I perceive in the order of our state, there is none which upon reflection pleases me better than the rule about Internet.
Glaucon : To what do you refer ?
Socrates : To our refusal to admit the memetic kind of media, for it certainly ought not to be received … Speaking in confidence, for you will not denounce me to Facebook and the rest of the memetic networks, all memes are made to contaminate the thinking (dianoia) of the hearers, unless as an antidote (pharmakon) they possess the knowledge of the true nature of the originals.
If, for a long time, mimesis has been restricted to the logic of visual representation, aesthetic realism, and the metaphysics of sameness it presupposes, the ERC-funded project Homo Mimeticus overturns this perspective to foreground a re-turn to an immanent, affective, embodied, and relational conception of mimesis at play in different processes of becoming other. This introduction to The Mimetic Turn Conference (April 2022) presents some of the concepts driving this new theory of homo mimeticus.
Based on a HOM conference held at KU Leuven, this special issue of CounterText on The Mimetic Condition(ed. Nidesh Lawtoo) joins forces with Jean-Luc Nancy, Gunter Gebauer, Christoph Wulf, and many others in order to promote a mimetic turn, or re-turn of attention to mimesis across different areas of critical theory. In the process, it proposes steps to a new theory of homo mimeticus to face some of the main–pandemic, political, environmental…– crises that cast a shadow on the present and future. Sample chapters available HERE& an Introductory VIDEO HERE.
The ERC-funded project Homo Mimeticus: Theory and Criticism (HOM) hosted by the Institute of Philosophy and the Faculty of Arts at KU Leuven, Belgium, is pleased to announce its final international conference titled The Mimetic Turn (April 20-22, 2022; ONLINE). Keynotes and Invited Speakers include Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen, Vittorio Gallese, Jane Bennett, William Connolly, Henry Staten, among other internationally renowned theorists and critics. Recordings here
The French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy (1940-2021) sadly passed away on August 23, 2021, at the age of 81. One of the last giants of the structuralist and poststructuralist generation, Nancy authored over 200 books on subjects as diverse as German idealism and psychoanalysis, aesthetics and politics, subjectivity and community–devoting one of his last books to An All-Too -Human Virus (2021).
Nancy last visited the HIW in 2018 at the invitation of the HOM Project and gave a series of inspiring talks, seminars and interviews on mimesis, politics, and community. He will be much missed, but his philosophical traces remain to be followed up.
You can rewatch two video interviews at the HIW on HOM Videos, including one for VETO. More recently, in a written dialogue with Nidesh Lawtoo, Jean-Luc Nancy takes the recent return of attention to mimesis, the mimetic turn, as a starting point for considering the relationship between philosophy and literature. Reflecting on his lifelong philosophical project, Nancy stresses the centrality of mimesis at play in the linguistic turn, deconstruction, community, and sharing during and beyond Covid-19. Interview available here.
Part of the ERC-funded project Homo Mimeticus, the Posthuman Mimesis conference (KU Leuven, May 2021) promoted a mimetic turn in posthuman studies. In the first keynote Lecture, Prof. Kevin Warwick (U of Coventry) argued that our future will be as cyborgs – part human, part technology. Kevin’s own experiments will be used to explain how implant and electrode technology can be employed to create cyborgs: biological brains for robots, to enable human enhancement and to diminish the effects of neural illnesses. In all cases, the end result is to increase the abilities of the recipients.
Part of a panel on Jane Bennett’s Influx & Efflux (2020) organized at Johns Hopkins University, ERC grantee Nidesh Lawtoo establishes a bridge between new materialism and mimetic theory. He argues that the influences internal to Bennett’s account of a porous self, tap into the unconscious powers of mimesis to induce sympathy towards (non)human others, along contagious lines central to the mimetic turn as well.
In this opening session of the Homo Mimeticus Seminar (KU Leuven), PI Nidesh Lawtoo introduces some of the main concepts constitutive of the mimetic turn, or re-turn of mimesis in critical theory, including mimetic pathos, pathos of distance, mimetic patho(-)logies, and their relevance for the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
In this video presentation for the 2020 Joseph Conrad Society (UK) Annual Meeting shot on the Furka Pass (Swiss Alps), ERC grantee Nidesh Lawtoo introduces the relevance of Conrad’s mimetic turn to face contemporary catastrophes like (new) fascist politics, viral pandemics, and climate change in the Anthropocene. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321…