Lecture and Talk:

Design, Failure and the Globalization of Risk

January 10, 2017 | 7pm
SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

What is the role of promises and trust in a postfactual age? How are emerging technologies tied up to the political and economic crises of the last years? What can we learn from the role of risk-taking and failure for our political futures – and what’s language got to do with it all?

Professor Arjun Appadurai, one of the world’s leading theorists of globalisation and cultural economies, will be discussing crises, economies, and political language with SAVVY Contemporary’s director Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and anthropologist Jonas Tinius (HU Berlin). Appadurai is author of seminal texts, including Modernity At Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (1996), editor of The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (1986), and has been at the forefront of theorizing the relation between cultural creativity, global economies, and political emergence.

This lecture will explore the financial crises of the last few decades in the advanced economies and beyond to look at how failure is part of the logic of design and risk in the world of emerging technologies in finance and beyond. This presentation is part of an ongoing research project on failure, which explores how failure is a globally variable and circulating idea which can reveal far more than the study of success.

Arjun Appadurai is the Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He was previously Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives at The New School in New York City, where he also held a Distinguished Professorship as the John Dewey Distinguished Professor in the Social Sciences. Professor Appadurai was born and educated in Bombay. He earned his B.A. from Brandeis University in 1967, and his M.A. (1973) and Ph.D. (1976) from The Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Currently, he is visiting Professor at the Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Among Appadurai’s latest books are: The Future as a Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition (Verso, 2013) and Banking on Words: The Failure of Language in the Age of Derivative Finance (University of Chicago Press, 2015). For more information, visit arjunappadurai.org

Jonas Tinius (PhD) is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), co-funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and based at the Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. His research focuses on contemporary art in Berlin, specifically looking at negotiations of alterity and otherness through post-colonial and other curatorial strategies. He is editor of Anthropology, Theatre, and Development: The Transformative Potential of Performance (Palgrave, 2015, with Alex Flynn) and convenor of the Anthropology of Art_ Network of the _European Association of Social Anthropologists (with Roger Sansi, Goldsmiths). For further information, visit jonastinius.com

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (PhD) is an independent art curator and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art. He is Curator at Large for Documenta 14. Most recent curatorial projects include Unlearning the Given: Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality, SAVVY Contemporary, 2016; The Incantation of the Disquieting Muse, SAVVY Contempirary, 2016; An Age of our Own Making in Holbæk, MCA Roskilde and Kunsthal Charlottenborg Copenhagen, 2016–17, The Conundrum of Imagination, Leopold Museum Vienna/ Wienerfestwochen. Lectureships a.o. Tyler School of Art Philadelphia; Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle, Aalto University Helsinki, Art Basel, Villa Arson Nice, Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel, MASS Alexandria; HfbK Hamburg; Gwangju Biennale.

The event is a cooperation between SAVVY Contemporary, the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), and the Anthropologies of Art Network.

Photographs by Hannes Wiedemann. Courtesy of SAVVY Contemporary.