Tate Britain Talk

Radical Geometries

Any thought which is true to the contemporary must, seemingly, recognise the complex ecologies of human and non-human assemblages, algorithms, data structures, and planetary climate change. It is fairly unsurprising, then, that there is also a recognisable shift towards consideration of basic questions of ontology and epistemology in order to attempt some traction on this terrain. What is more surprising is the way in which creativity; materiality; the body; affect; objects, and so on are often mobilised in such discussions as exempt, by means of some form of excess, from mediation and critical epistemology. Typically, this goes hand-in-hand with a typically caricatured notion of rationality that is equated with fixity, finitism and pre-determined universalism.

This session questions these maneuvers by discussing new forms of rationalism and conceptual understanding, drawing upon the tools of contemporary mathematics and logic to consider the navigational possibilities engendered for contemporary thought. It is not, after all, a retreat towards the pre-critical that is required of contemporary thought, but rather, a form of thought which is adequate to the dynamics of collective normativity through the rehabilitation of abstraction as a process of navigational dialogue and transformation.

The session will consist of two short papers leaving ample time for discussion and debate.


Reza Negarastani (via Skype) Deracination and Drift: Kant, Grassmann and Grothendieck
James Trafford Rationality and rupture

Suggested reading

Fernando Zalamea: Plasticity and creativity in the logic notebook
Gilles Châtelet: On a Little Phrase of Riemann's


Reza Negarestani is a philosopher. He has contributed extensively to journals and anthologies and lectured at numerous international universities and institutes. His current philosophical project is focused on rationalist universalism beginning with the evolution of the modern system of knowledge and advancing toward contemporary philosophies of rationalism, their procedures as well as their demands for special forms of human conduct.

James Trafford is Senior Lecturer in cultural theory at UCA, Epsom. His work attempts to deal with issues relating to rationalism, non-standard logic and surpassing the "boundaries" of thinking on the one hand, and aesthetics and modernism on the other. His work has been published in journals, gallery catalogues and design-books.

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
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Date & Time

10 December 2014 at 16.00–18.00