Forum Lectures #9: Daniel Irrgang

Critical Zones Study Group – Preparing a Thought Exhibition with Bruno Latour

Giving Depth to the Surface

© Alexandra Arènes, Bruno Latour, Jérôme Gaillardet, Giving depth to the surface: An exercise in the Gaia-graphy of Critical Zones. The Anthropocene Review 5/2 (2018). Design: Alexandra Arènes


The lecture will provide insights into issues raised by a research seminar conducted together with Bruno Latour. They range from the invention of the nature-culture dualism in modern Europe to the global challenges of the “new climatic regime” (Latour) and the potential of art and philosophy for a new kind of human agency in the Anthropocene. How can we describe and thus approach the living world around us – this thin layer of our planet where life resides, called the “critical zone” by earth system science – without falling into the trap of looking from a position of “culture” at a somewhat separated sphere of “nature”? Can we rather find a mode of description acknowledging that we are always part of one sphere that we share with so many lifeforms – while establishing a position of care beyond human exceptionalism?

The seminar with Bruno Latour, coordinated by Daniel Irrgang between January 2018 and November 2019, conceptually prepared the exhibition “Critical Zones – Observatories for Earthly Politics” at the ZKM | Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (Germany). It is part of a series of exhibitions realised by Latour at ZKM for which he coined, together with Peter Weibel, the term “thought exhibition.”

About Daniel Irrgang

Daniel Irrgang is a research associate at Weizenbaum Institute, where he is part of the Berlin University of the Arts research group “Inequality and Digital Sovereignty.” He holds a PhD in media studies on diagrammatics and expanded mind theories. Among other fields, his research focuses on visual depictions of information from a media and art studies perspective, HCI paradigms, exhibition concepts as well as on epistemological problems. Daniel is affiliated researcher with the centre Art as Forum at the University of Copenhagen.

Forum Lectures

Forum Lectures is a series of lectures by Danish and international thinkers and cultural workers reflecting on how art co-forms communality. FORUM LECTURES brings thinking and shared study back to the university and invites for public lectures the last Tuesday every month at 17:00 - 19:00.

The initiative is hosted by the research group of the New Carlsberg Foundation research center Art as Forum. Our researchers are occupied by a.o. the infrastructures of the arts, collective modes of production, the entanglement of political theory and aesthetic theory, assembling strategies of curation, dematerialized art, acts of strategic separatism and temporality in digital art.

The lecture is for free and open for everyone interested.