Departing from Walter Benjamin’s review of Karl Blossfeldt’s enlarged botanical portraits, Urformen der Kunst, titled ‘News About Flowers’, this lecture explores new imaging techniques at the molecular scale and discusses the political implications of concepts such as ‘active matter’, in relation to materialist philosophy, politics and political and social practice. It asks about the implications for ontology and the ways in which social organisation is implied in the new renderings at the atomic scale. There is also a focus on the resources of poetics of materials science.
This is a recording from 8th July 2021. Run by the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, the internationally renowned London Critical Theory Summer School enables graduate students and academics to engage in a two-week course of study with acclaimed critical thinkers.
Esther Leslie has research interests in political theories of aesthetics and culture and the poetics of science and technology, as well as animation, in an expanded sense. She has a particular focus on thinkers associated with the Frankfurt School, including Walter Benjamin, T.W. Adorno, Kracauer, Bloch.