Forms of Complexity

ASCA’s Cross-Media Research Seminar & Film-Philosophy Seminar join forces in 2017-2018. Convenors: Sudeep Dasgupta, Josef Früchtl, Abe Geil, Patricia Pisters, Markus Stauff. Coordinator: Tessa de Vet <> Location: IAS - Oude Turfmarkt 147 Amsterdam Semester 1: 6 October, 10 November, 1 December 2017 Semester 2: 2 February, 2 March, 6 April, 4 may, 1 June 2018 From 15.00 – 18.00

Complexity is one of the key terms for the self-description of modern culture. Scientific knowledge, global interrelations, the increasing pluralization of lifestyles and the heterogeneous mediatization of experience are some of the processes which challenge and exceed previous frameworks. The concept of complexity, however, implies a certain understanding of these developments, for example the  dynamic balance between chaos and order and focuses more on dynamic interrelations than on clear hierarchies and structures. This understanding of complexity has political implications too, as has become clear in the debates about different forms of populisms which  are often criticized as inappropriate attempts to reduce or circumvent complexity.

Taking up these broader questions, the seminar will discuss how cultural forms and practices deal with complexity: How complexity is staged, approached, worked through or blended out; which aspects of complexity are foregrounded and which ignored; which complexity is feared or gets enjoyed. Most prominently the topic gets discussed in the context of  so-called complex narratives / complex storytelling in film and television but it can be expanded to examples ranging from news and data visualization to scientific images and artistic projects.

We will start with key texts describing culture as a reaction to the complexity of modernity and continue with different forms of approaching complex narrative and aesthetics more broadly. We will also address Forms of Complexity in relation to the natural sciences, globalisation, cybernetics, and politics.

  • Meeting 1: Modernity, Complexity, Symbolic Forms
  • Meeting 2: Narrative and Complexity 1
  • Meeting 3: Narrative and Complexity 2
  • Meeting 4: Complexity and Visual Forms

Further topics will be determined during the seminar meetings


Published by  ASCA

15 August 2017