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Diedrich Diederichsen: Is Marxism a Correlationism?
Is Marxism a Correlationism?
(p. 209 – 220)

“is x-ism a y-ism”

Diedrich Diederichsen

Is Marxism a Correlationism?

PDF, 12 pages

The title of this text poses what at first appears to be an irritating, if not completely insane question, that I myself couldn’t have imagined posing a year ago. For one thing, it’s because one of the important terms in this question was totally unknown to me, and for another, I probably would have affirmed it outright had I known what this word meant.

The question is: Is Marxism a correlationism? The rhetoric of this formulation – “is x-ism a y-ism” – borrows from the title of a famous essay by Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism (1946). In those days it was also a matter of setting a new philosophical fashion in relation to a major cornerstone of orientation – to humanism. Today the question appears to be reversed: Is Marxism – which is now the cornerstone, the old orientation – a correlationism? The correlationism isn’t the new fashion, but rather the name of the adversary that the “new style,” at least a part of the new materialist discourse, speaks against – but more on that later.

Why does this question present itself? What does it mean? Why does it interest me? I concern myself here with three complexes that I usually gravitate towards: questions of the visual arts, questions of fashion and the diagnosis of the present, and questions of philosophy, in particular aesthetics and other legitimating discourses that philosophy brings to the fore, which are important in the field of visual art.

Particularly in the debates about art and politics, on one hand, and art and economy on the other, it’s important to me to adopt a perspective that combines the constellations of each problematic and to locate a hard and, as it were, material web of reasons and resistances in the economic situation of artists in general, especially visual artists, that might explain what is political about contemporary artistic practice in the sense of the politics of its economy, and how that relates to what comprises that artistic practice economically - for example, certain living and working conditions, a highly-specific type of self-exploitation, but also a highly-specific new production apparatus that harnesses leisure activity, audience mobilisation, and eventually self-realisation reflexes as economic resources.

Two discourses have recently emerged from other discursive fields that were already known, or at least underway, in the conversations amongst the art milieu and have left behind a string of debates, catalogue texts, exhibitions concepts, and symposiums. They have led to publications by leading theory presses and projects produced by the relevant theory import/export shops. Both discourses share what the Austrian art journal Springerin has subsumed under the banner of Anti-Humanism, while others call it Post-Humanism. This Anti- or Post-Humanism is possibly another, perhaps displaced nickname for what’s explored here under the heading of Power of Material/Politics of Materiality because it allows the focus to shift towards something else, namely the matter or the material – but maybe not.

Today’s Anti- or Post-Humanism has nothing to do with an earlier Post-Humanism that circulated in the 1990s, which referred to a range of subjects like Artificial Intelligence or the Simulation of Human Creativity and inspired a number of artistic strategies that provided one Ars Electronica or another with slogans and was also frequently criticised, especially by leftist and feminist artists. The two Post-Humanist discourses that I’m referring to are inspired by or associated, if quite loosely and circuitously, with two very well-known writers of contemporary philosophy and sociology, namely Alain Badiou and Bruno Latour. Ever since a very successful conference in 2007, they’ve gone by names like “Speculative Realism” or “Object-oriented Philosophy,” respectively; as a general rule, the first can be attributed to the Badiou disciple Quentin Meillassoux, the later primarily to Latour. Graham Harman in particular can be credited with having merged, or at least worked out the commonalities, of these two schools of thought. Harman staged a kind of summit meeting at the London School of Economics in 2008 (!) in which he himself, as a representative of Speculative Realism, conversed with Latour in order to work out or perform the essential differences with his Object-Oriented Philosophy.

What are the central ideas of both of these schools, what do they have to do with contemporary art and why in the world would I want to connect them with Marxism? Bruno Latour’s sociology, often quoted in the art world, can be described for our present purposes, at its core, as a continuation and escalation of constructivist positions. If constructivist theories take aspects of the world that are regarded as nature and disenchant them by showing that they are man-made and hence criticisable and changeable, Latour disenchants the humanist certainty of this distinction itself and shows the man-made as co-produced by things or other non-human actors. He argues for the departure from a subject-oriented, anthropocentric perspective on the construction of the social – but which remains nevertheless legible as constructed. In doing so, unfortunately, he sometimes sacrifices the option of critique, which constructivism made plausible in reality due to its chances of success (critique could not only criticise the construction, but also as a distinct construction alter it, cancel it, correct it), however as a result he gains a retraction of the somewhat flippant sense that the world is disposable, which constructivism so readily implies.

Unlike Latour, who as a historian of science originally based his reflections on concrete laboratory situations, Meillassoux argues in strictly philosophical terms, in a language rooted exclusively in the history of philosophy, which he greatly values. His undertakings aim to do no less than to eradicate a foundational flaw in all philosophy since Kant, namely the differentiation between a knowable world from consciousness and a world comprising things in themselves that philosophical consciousness holds at a distance and whose discussion denounces it as a metaphysical holdover that doesn’t warrant further attention. Meillassoux calls this position, and all philosophies that share it, Correlationism, because it’s only interested in the world as it pertains to the co-reality of human consciousness and not for its own sake.

In this context, my point of departure, particularly its role as a diagnostic of the present, is rather far removed from Meillassoux’s anti-correlationist position. One who diagnoses the present is an even more extreme correlationist, because he or she not only takes the relevance of the world for a/the consciousness of each question and problem, but also its relevance for a decidedly transient, especially fleeting consciousness – that of fashion. It is thus paradoxical that precisely my conviction that something that’s in fashion can never be entirely without dignity and must always already have a certain minimal relevance, compels me to engage with a discourse that wants to expel from the question of truth, not only fashion, but also every other specific, historic, and otherwise relativising perspective of an interested consciousness.

Meillassoux takes modern measuring methods used to date fossils or radiotelescopic techniques as his point of departure.Through these techniques, a sphere becomes accessible in which the consciousness in question, for those for which the world otherwise only exists through consciousness, didn’t yet exist. Nevertheless, for this world, which could not even be differentiated yet into one for consciousness and one in itself, accurate data can be gathered regarding the Earth, the solar system, and distant quasar clusters. Meillassoux refers to objects from this time – former things in themselves, as it were – as “Archi-Fossils.”It was recently reported that around the year 1200 B.C. – identified via the growth rings of ancient cedars –massive gamma rays, presumably caused by the collision of two dark holes, struck our solar system and also the earth. But at this time, people were busy with the death of Richard the Lion Heart and the formation of guilds or, in the so-called Orient, with firing tiles and decorative art forms. Yet they also didn’t have the necessary measuring instruments and, above all, the scientific questioning or another form of concrete curiosity that would have given them a better understanding of the relevance of gammarays, and consequently missed this natural event entirely. The gamma ray burst was thus not different from the other things in themselves, inasmuch as its completely revoked consciousness in those days. However, nowadays something that was formerly a thing-in-itself is now able to be measured and dated, therefore things-in-themselves don’t entirely elude measurability and, therefore, cognition.

Of course, one can argue that the design and specificity of measuring instruments are themselves correlational, but the Meillassoux school applies the Archi-Fossils and their proven existence less as an epistemological argument against epistemology and in favour of ontology, but above all as evidence of a correlational inconsistency of epistemology and thus as an argument for a reality that is after all accessible in Meillassoux’s thinking. Even if the concrete how of the entrance point for his philosophical argumentation at first remains secondary, there are indications for Meillassoux, as well as for his teacher Badiou, that this entry must be via mathematics.

The endpoint of Meillassoux’s argument is the claim that the laws of nature are not necessary at all, rather – as was previously only the case for scientific hypotheses about nature and the human formulation of natural laws – these laws are contingent and only apply as long as they apply. The only necessity is the actual contingency of the laws of nature. Meillassoux thus categorically rejects the three Kantian options that Badiou summarises in his preface to Meillassoux’s book After Finitude as “dogmatism, scepticism, and critique.” Instead, he tackles the adventure of conceiving of a world in which everything could be different. Meillassoux has worked for years on a project mythologised by his followers, entitled L’inexistence divine, in which he attempts to show that the unprovoked arrival of something like cognition, suffering, or pleasure is a rational concept and can therefore be expected in the arrival of other mad things of a similar nature – like the resurrection of the dead or communism, or both of them together.

“The starship philosophy boldly goes where no man has gone before....” This was my first reaction to reading one of Meillassoux’s manuscripts and to learning which circles read and admire his work. I also remembered something that I had said in a philosophy class in the 11th grade in a class discussion about Kant, when I objected to the concept of the thing-in-itself, claiming that it could nevertheless be accessed cognitively on LSD. Now, this comparison with my young self is naturally unfair, Meillassoux went to great lengths to substantiate his philosophical sensationalism with brilliant arguments that nonetheless remain speculative – at least that’s the idea. In the interest of fairness, even one who diagnoses the present should refrain from obvious classifications of Meillassoux’s philosophy, based on success, as well as the intellectual and spiritual needs of young men affiliated with it, and not only to comply with the principle of strengthening ones opponent.

If this opponent should even present himself as such: I’m neither interested in arguing with Meillassoux on his own terrain, that of metaphysical speculation, nor on the level of his facile, vulgar-ideology-critical detractors – such as Alexander Galloway, who along with his colleagues at Critical Inquiry, recently reduced him and his allies to the function that their categories could potentially play in the ideological adjustment for neoliberal capitalism – that denounce him as an escapist and an author of philosophical adventure fiction.

On the other hand, I wonder why people that predominantly come from the left have so much enthusiasm for a philosophy that seems to negate a major tenant of leftist thought – the historicity of human societies – as doubly anthropocentrically limited: as a purely human and therefore subjective knowledge of a purely human activity. In the first blogged reactions to Galloway, only its somewhat suspect argumentation was initially rejected, but the elephant in the room, how one handles one’s own understanding of politics, was nevertheless avoided. Isolated responses to questions about the politics of Speculative Realism occasionally appeared in blogs, how metaphysics, which one indeed avowedly practises, can have nothing to do with politics and both, the political engagement and metaphysical speculation, are disciplines in their own right, which cannot be grouped together. The attempts to translate into political practice the dialogues with political philosophers like Žižek or Badiou that Meillassoux conducts and has conducted in the past, never progress beyond the identification of highly philosophical disagreements, such as Badiou and Žižek’s belief, against or with Hegel, in the “contingency of necessity,” as opposed to Meillassoux’s “necessity of contingency.”

Awaiting more clear political leitmotifs, the attentive art world is therefore accustomed to politically orient itself toward authors like Badiou and Žižek, both philosophers who through their numerous comments on current affairs like to appear as public intellectuals, and offer the art world the opportunity to align and connect their perspectives on world politics and current affairs, women’s rights, films, and the Middle East – which in Žižek’s case change constantly, while Badiou’s stubbornly persist for millions of years – to Hegel and to relieve their thinking from some of its abstractness. It’s impossible to construct such bridges with Meillassoux: we only know that his father was an important Marxist anthropologist and that he edited a prosituationist fanzine in his youth. But who hasn’t done that?

A part of his program is also to change philosophy, and the role of philosophers, from public intellectual into adventurers, boundary-pushers, and woodsmen. His term for the world in thing-in-itself mode or for the afterlife of the correlational world in fact is “Le Grand Dehors,” the great outdoors. Such constructions aren’t only popular and attractive in a philosophy in search of a purpose beyond the administration of the conceptual status quo or the support of aesthetic and cultural studies projects, but also with artists who don’t directly come from the hegemonic visual arts, but from its fringes, where irony isn’t compulsory and/or elegant detachment qua theoretically-informed callousness are on the decline and grand gestures, pathos, and above all an often nebulous romanticism, arise from dark drones and jagged black metal sounds. It’s not by chance that one finds authors of Speculative Realism among the presenters at Black Metal Theory symposiums, or are, like Ray Brassier amongst the most important experts on Noise.

However, there is another side to the new Object-Oriented Philosophies that stems more from Latour and has found a mediator between itself and hardcore Speculative Realism in the aforementioned Graham Harman and a diplomatic disseminator in Levi Bryant, who overtly attempts to Americanise it and make it less dogmatic.Both Harman and Bryant have fewer adherents in philosophical and artistic circles, or at least don’t exclusively draw their supporters from these circles, but instead emphatically draw from a new, deromanticised, but still politically-radicalised ecological milieu represented, for instance, through blogs like Ecology without nature. The speaking of non-human things, the moralisation and ethicisation of the inclusion of the Non-Human that reverberates in book titles and buzzwords like “Democracy of Objects” or “Parliament of Things,” as well as the work of trailblazing authors like Donna Haraway, clearly has more than just philosophical grounds. The precedence of human or subjective standpoints shouldn’t only be amended because it is contradictory, illogical, or disproportionate, but also because there are conflict-based, not to say political grounds, rooted in clashing interests, to readjust and realign ontologies and metaphysics; there are grounds in the secondary attributes of things, as it were, which make it necessary to rethink how we consider the primary ones. Marxism might also have something to say – even beyond the German Ideology – about the relationship between politics and ontology that can’t simply be reduced to its own correlationism, not least in the famous witticism about the head and the feet: The Marxian people that don’t make their world of their own free will are clearly exposed to different material powers and influences. With an oversimplified audacity, one could say that such political positions are better received and cited more often in the United States, especially among the ecological left, while the more adventurous philosophical perspectives of object-orientation seem to excite rather the French and British communities shaped by Deleuzian thinking and also seem to have made an impression in the global art world.

I’d like to now make a suggestion to bring together the various strands that I’ve addressed here: Speculative Realism and Object-oriented Ontology, the political past of most of the authors and the political agenda of most readers, and finally the role of visual art. My point of departure is reflections that I’ve presented elsewhere under the title “Time, Object, Commodity” on the role of labour in the creation of value in the visual arts. Here, I’ve tried to show that all kinds of artwork, including the value assigned to them, its discursive presence and its function in the regimes of attention, derive its value from the highly-developed collaboration, both formal and informal, of highly qualified and dramatically underpaid individuals – and that their overall worth declines in places where these forms of collaborative labour are less developed and intertwine feebly and less precisely; where there isn’t a nexus of hipsterdom, collectors’ money, intellectual expertise, and a the administration of attractivity at work. The classic labour theory of value, which Marx corrected from a value-critical perspective, can be applied to this collaboration. If the time required for the necessary education, as well as the requisite informal educational hours spent in clubs and bars, is included in the calculation of an average of socially necessary work time and value – then a plausible relationship between production level, labour time, and value emerges – along with possibilities to discuss exploitation and surplus value in the art market with even greater precision.

What is crucial about these reflections in relation to the New Materialism is, however, a by-product of these ideas. Namely, it appears that one can abstract even further from the Marxist theory of surplus value and its application to the art market and the production of artistic objects and services; one can frame the theory of exploitation it describes even more generally as production and being produced per se, as the interaction with matter and material. This can be done by formulating a theory of surplus value like the one I have just described, which reflects the interplay of formal and informal, material and immaterial labour, as a theory of input/objectification and reading out for purposes of exchange. Many minds, nodes, beautiful physical attributes, design modules, address list managers, an artist’s body, art-historical memes, quanta of knowledge, and trays of white wine contribute in invisible ways – not to the artworks in general, but rather to valuable artworks, of objects from which value can be read out. Exchange value. The punchline of all such abstractions of surplus value theory, however, must be that such reading out isn’t fair or adequate: it isn’t necessarily the case that all of the brain power, the thick smoke of inspiration and the perfumed scent of gallery openings – the social intensity, cooperation, harmony, disharmony, and all of that – are legible if I acquire an artwork. What is instead legible is an exchange value whose quantity relates to the magnitude of the invested quota of smoke and perfume, because this quota determines an average spectrum within which the price fluctuates.

There are constructions for reading out other than the capitalistic creation of value that differently distort what is invested, and within which the concept of labour distances itself further from exclusively human labour. Media to read in, to store and to read out, which function differently than capitalist economies. Indexical recording media like audiotape and film actually enable something to be read out that can be recognised as what was invested. It resembles in its media usage, that which it should convey, it mediatises. Mediatisation is another form of disproportionality as accumulation of value. There are others too, or rather, others are conceivable. What they all share is a transformation of time which a material in its broadest sense has spent with a processing activity in the broadest sense and transformed them into an object, that is socially defined by the fact that it can be grasped without inherent temporality, that is crystalline and yields a meaning, that it can be exchanged, played, or eaten. These transformations share the fact that they produce disproportionalities and inadequacies. Their transformations are hexes, transformations, and metamorphoses, not developments with phases that emerge from one another, as it pertains to production before its utilisation. They are leaps, as Marx once said. The emergence of illness, deterioration, and consumption would be a further worthwhile case, which one could study within the framework of this model. Naturally, in doing so it would be important to initially think of the transformation as being free from value, to understand the disproportionality technically and to evaluate it in specific local instances in order to avoid either naturalising exploitation or absolutising proportionality.

With this in mind, however, one can imagine another stage beyond utilisation and mediatisation – which mostly happen for the sake of commercialisation – in which there is neither media nor a transformative goal like value, recording, or symptom and hence also no differentiation between material and processors but simply only two substances that rub against each other because gravity and other Co-Actants compel them to do so, thus producing oil, gas, or marble. What we know about this jades most lay people: that it took an insanely long time before the friction or the gravity-induced pressure that some landmass exerted upon some organic stratum generated something that BP could exploit. The subsequent extraction of energy from oil or other raw material stands in a grotesque disproportion to the telluric eons it took for these exploited resources to come into being. This disproportion is a central subject of all ecological economy and, if one speaks completely innocently and free of ethical undertones of exploitation, has already spoken, even before the exploitation of man through man was prohibited, then one can perhaps argue along the following lines: temporal asymmetry between reading in and reading out, between process and crystalline exchange value or value were the basis for a deep-rooted materialist theory of exploitation that would encompass ecology without an economy diminished of human political factors, that would be solely reduced to natural history.

One of the Marxist-inspired positions that speaks of ontology and politics is Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s discovery, formulated in the 1970s, that Kantian epistemology – the moment that the correlationist conspiracy had begun for Meillassoux – is an effect of capitalist real abstraction; that a relationship exists between the division of the world into knowable and unknowable parts and the distinction between manual and intellectual labour. Is the object-oriented, ecological reconstruction of the reality – of what lies beyond the reach of consciousness as something that is only provisionally beyond its reach but with which we are still very much connected and that we may even one day reach – undertaken by Meillassoux and Latour to be understood as an attempt to reverse that division? And what use might a notion extended to ancestral regions of inappropriateness and asymmetry between production- and reading out time might have, between the processuality of production and the form of reading out?

If meanwhile we refer to this disproportionality as exploitation and present it as comparable, by dint of its asymmetry, to man’s exploitation of man, we are only doing what every garden-variety ecologist already does. Except that to make condemnation possible – indeed to allow for an ethical dimension of any kind – man must be introduced as a victim, despite his egotism (or capitalism as a variant thereof) which is actually the problem: it’s humanity’s fault. For the most part, this occurs with regular ecologists in two ways; he either summons our children, from whom we’ve of course only borrowed the planet, the universe, and other things. This is a particular heteronormative variant of correlationism – there must always be some future humans called our children in order to conceive of a ecological thought. Otherwise, the ecologist summons Gaia, the earth as a person, a fair sister as her male guardian Jim Morrison used to call her, thus the esoteric variation.

Object-oriented Philosophies and ontologies seem to offer a solution here, in that they seek to grant objects a right to speak, however this might be perceptible, thus offering them agency and responsibilities. Ecuador’s new constitution, in which the local nature was granted constitutional rights and must be listened to, is often cited as an example. Otherwise there remain the many examples from Latour and his students, who would like to interpret the activity of objects in their multi-faceted concatenations and assemblages as speech, as the casting of a vote – the expression of the intentions of things. Thus the famous Berlin key, which Latour made into a textbook example, is nothing other than the expression of a lightly reconstructible design idea, a human design idea. The Berlin key has two bits and no handle. If one unlocks the front door, one must open it with the anterior bit and then subsequently push the key completely through the keyhole. Only then can one close the door again from inside the door, only then can he or she get the key back from the keyhole. The Berlin key is an example of an acting object, an object that actually does a great deal, an intrusive object that is, needless to say, designed. It does exactly that which its design inscribed upon it.

The criteria I recommend here, that of asymmetry in the processes of reading in and reading out of time as a precondition of the accumulation of value, would in comparison be one that makes it easier to at least imagine a non-correlational theory of exploitation presenting itself on the horizon, which needn’t remain confined within the classic western-humanist framework of empathy and of suffering, enjoyment, good lives etc., but uses similar noetic detours or crutches like the notion of ancestrality to conceptualise disproportionalities even before any, necessarily perspectival, evaluation has taken place. Does this lead to a kind of cosmically inflated Marxism? Or does it allow us to engage a line of critical theory that, on the one hand, develops something prefigured in Sohn-Rethel’s critique of Kant and, on the other, hearkens back to Max Horkheimer’s and Theodor W. Adorno’s concept of instrumental reason, which can also be read as a critique of correlationism?

Sohn-Rethel could be said to take the critique of correlationism off its ancestralistic head and stand it on its historical feet by inscribing the absolutising of a certain a priori within the historical process of the development of the money economy. The thing-in-itself exists first as the real abstraction money, which attained a new level of abstractness in the world economy of the 18th century. From Meillassoux’s perspective, one could object that it’s not a critique of correlationism if one only replaces a parameter of unknowability through another, so goes Kant’s philosophical argument, that the things of the external world first attain a form in consciousness, through a Marxist economics. It can only be a matter of historicisation, one would object, because a critique of correlationism is ultimately a fact of history that refers to man-made tools of reason such as the radio telescope or the identification of Archi-Fossils. It’s not the man-made qualities of this technology that are important, the Meillassouxians could retort in turn, but the fact that they can reliably communicate with a reality not observed by human beings. This is crucial, not the reasons, why human consciousness couldn’t recognise something at a certain point.

At this point, I will leave both sides alone and attempt to pursue the second question. Does the critique of instrumental reason (as in Adorno and Horkheimer) not lead straight into a critique of correlationism? Is not instrumental reason in some parts of the Dialectic of Enlightenment to be equated with the inability of human thought to avoid lodging itself into perspectival and egotistical subjectivity? Or is it not, at any rate, a small step from the critique that reproaches reason for being subservient to the problem-solving desires of its owners to one that accuses it of only functioning so long as it automatically regards the existence of what doesn’t appear within its horizon as worth ignoring? The internal debate in the anything but homogeneous scene of object-orientated and speculative thinkers negotiate this question of time, which is also thanks to the negotiating and moderating efforts of Graham Harman. As with my other attempts to translate the vocabulary and problems of one philosophical language into the medium of another, one can certainly complain that I have unfairly omitted the social, or else, that unfortunately the social hasn’t yet vanished completely (depending on one’s position). There remains, however, the desideratum of a political, non-esoteric, and non-technocratic philosophy of ecology, which might justify these translation attempts. Inasmuch as there is not already a tradition of a philosophy of ecology, it mustn’t take these detours.

For Harman himself, the primary attributes are a crucial point, because the connectivity of Speculative Realism and Latourian Object-Orientation effectively depends on it. Latour in turn explained in his conversation with Harman that primary characteristics don’t matter to him, he doesn’t understand at all why people should bother with them. Meillassoux’s anti-correlationism, however, practically culminates in the assertion that something like primary characteristics not only exist but are also accessible philosophically. Harman proposes a certain withdrawal of the primary attributes, that according to him nonetheless exist, and he ultimately would like to integrate these characteristics philosophically into his update of Heideggers’ “fourfold” (Geviert), the “quadruple object,” into an ontology of objects.

The question in our context, with which I’d like to end here for the time being, is the following: to what extent is instrumental reason and the violence that it undisputedly applies to objects across all schools through adapting, twisting, and murdering it for the sake of its users, to what extent does this violence direct itself against primary attributes because it only sees the secondary ones? To what extent is this violence a product of correlationism or is at least enabled and vindicated by it, perhaps while we withdraw from the capacity for pain, suffering, the relevance of the continued existence of objects in a Gestalt that refers to its unanswerability because of the unattainability of things-in-themselves, not only that of knowledge, but also ethics? To what extent is correlationism therefore a product of that aspect of the enlightenment (I am avoiding the word “dialectic” for diplomatic reasons) which has also, in the final analysis, given us the capitalist mode of production? Or, is precisely this discovery, which Alfred Sohn-Rethel indeed already alluded to, a historical datum, an epiphenomenon of another economic and technological line development and consequently not a datum of metaphysics? Would the thing-in-itself then be something like a superstructural phenomenon amongst others – and the superstructure of the economy the only stability? What was possible for me here was to pose this question, naturally not to answer it.

  • materialist turn
  • materiality
  • anthropology
  • speculative realism
  • thing/thingness
  • material aesthetics

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Diedrich Diederichsen

Diedrich Diederichsen

is an author, music journalist and cultural critic. Based in Germany, Diederichsen made a name with his interdisciplinary research on political aspects of the arts and pop culture. As a prolific writer his articles and texts are printed in a variety of periodicals and publications. He was visiting professor in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Pasadena, Offenbach, Giessen, Weimar, Bremen, Vienna, St. Louis, Cologne, Los Angeles and Gainesville. After teaching at the Merz Academy in Stuttgart for several years, he became Professor for Theory, Practice and Communication of Contemporary Art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 2006.

Other texts by Diedrich Diederichsen for DIAPHANES
Kerstin Stakemeier (ed.), Susanne Witzgall (ed.): Power of Material – Politics of Materiality

In the last years a new focus on material phenomena has become increasingly oberservable in the arts and sciences. Most diverse disciplines are stressing the momentum and the agency of matter, material and things and underline their status as agents within the web of relationships of culture and nature. The book "Power of Material / Politics of Materiality“ deepens this current discourse and for the time brings materialist tendencies within the arts, design and architecture into a direct dialogue with a range of scientific approaches from a "New Materialism“ within the humanities and social sciences.


This publication is the result of the first year of program at the newly established cx centre for interdisciplinary studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich.