“In|human Rhythms” with Bernd Herzogenrath (Sounding the Anthropocene Symposium)

“Sounding the Anthropocene” SymposiumMarch 11, 9-3:30, Arts-Based Research Studio (Ed North 4-104).

SESSION 1, 9:15-10:30 AM: “In|human Rhythms” with Bernd Herzogenrath

In many ways, the 20th Century can be regarded as art’s attempt to escape the “tyranny of meter” (the phrase is Robert Schumann’s). In this talk, I would like to ask the question if there is a way to think rhythm otherwise? Maybe the answer to this all-too-human tyranny of the repetition of the same is something inhuman – in|human rhythms. With the examples of works by John Luther Adams, David Dunn, and Richard Reed Parry – all of them commentaries on what might be called ‘Music in the Age of the Anthropocene’ – this talk aims to show how with the idea of the human becoming a geological (i.e. non-human) force itself, art has the responsibility to create an awareness of how we live not only in the world, but also are part of that world. A music that ‘performs’ these ‘cosmic dimensions’ of the interdependence of human and nonhuman, by focusing on the in|human of the concept ‘human’ might also teach us something in regard to artistic (or musical) form – form as a molar concept tied to the intentionality of a subject that in|forms brute matter:

“[t]here is no longer a form, but only relations of velocity between infinitesimal particles of an unformed material. There is no longer a subject, but only individuating affective states of an anonymous force. Here the plan is concerned only with motions and rests, with dynamic affective charges” (Deleuze 1988: 128).

These rhythmic ‘relations of velocity’ ultimately reveal rhythm as the in|human nonlinear pulsation of life – ‘a life’ – that escapes conscious control and the all-too-human ‘tyranny of meter’.

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Speaker Biography

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BERND HERZOGENRATH is professor of American literature and culture at Goethe University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany. He is the author of An Art of Desire. Reading Paul Auster (Rodopi 2001), An American Body|Politic: A Deleuzian Approach (Dartmouth College Press 2010) and editor of two books on Tod Browning, two books on Edgar G. Ulmer, and two books on Deleuze and Ecology. Other edited collections include The Farthest Place: The Music of John Luther Adams (Northeastern UP 2012), Time and History in Deleuze and Serres (Continuum 2012), and, most recently, media|matter (Bloomsbury 2014). At the moment, he is planning a project cinapses: thinking|film that brings together scholars from film studies, philosophy, and the neurosciences (members include Alva Noë and Antonio Damasio). Forthcoming publications include the edited collections sound thinking (Bloomsbury), The Films of Bill Morrison (Amsterdam University Press), and film and|as philosophy (University of Minnesota Press).

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