23-25 November 2022, North West University

Thinking the Future

Dreaming Together in Algorithmic Ecologies

The 4th South African Deleuze & Guattari Studies Conference

We are always pinned against the wall of dominant significations, we are always sunk in the hole of our subjectivity, the black hole of our Ego which is more dear to us than anything.


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Call for papers

The Fourth Industrial Revolution marks a rapid and far-reaching social, political and economic shift towards the digital that has fundamentally changed the ways in which we live, work, communicate and think. The scope and complexity of computational capitalism, as scholars like Bernard Stiegler, Antoinette Rouvroy and Shoshana Zuboff have argued, is largely unprecedented and demands new forms of critical analysis, ethical reflection and liberatory praxis. In this regard, McKenzie Wark reminds us, we need to describe what is emerging rather than simply what is already established, and it is precisely this focus on mapping the present through to its ontogenesis - in order to fabulate a different future - that makes the work of Deleuze and Guattari so revolutionary.

In the third decade of the 21st century, where neoliberalism is fast transforming into technofeudalism, what is emerging is a complex assemblage of algorithmic governmentality (Rouvroy), machinic Neoplatonism (McQuillan) and infopower (Koopman); the near-ubiquitous statistical and data-driven automation of life by algorithms, server farms and planetary scale communications infrastructures that operate at speeds far beyond what we can socially, politically or existentially absorb. Entailed in this new assemblage are new modes of subjectivation - the hyperindexation and statistical aggregation of quantifiable selves, or dividuals, that was so presciently captured by Deleuze in the “Postscript on Societies of Control” (1992) but which seems almost mundane from the vantage point of 2022. Stiegler observes that one of the most troubling symptoms of this dividuality is that many young people have lost their capacity to dream in what has been called, among other names, computational capitalism, the Algocene, World Integrated Capitalism and the necrosphere. Yet if we are to adequately grasp - or even name - the dynamics and implications of life within contemporary control societies, in a world of Big Data, social media, deep learning, ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, autonomous drones and digital surveillance technologies, then we urgently require the kinds of shock to thought Deleuze claimed were necessary if we are to think otherwise, to produce a caesura in the present that allows us to dream again.

To this end, we invite responses that attempt to produce a new language capable of articulating not just the technologically enmeshed ontologies of the present, but also, and however provisionally, a future that is not in its image. These can take the form of traditional presentations, but we also welcome other forms of creative engagement.

Suggested topics
  • Algorithmic governance
  • 4IR and control societies (especially in the Global South)
  • The Biometric State
  • Computational capitalism
  • Algorithms, bias and digital justice
  • Social media and subjectivity
  • Cosmotechnics
  • Cloud ethics
  • Big Data and normativity
  • Recursive colonialisms
  • Technological solutionism
  • Fascist and anti-fascist AI
  • Automation and politics
  • Deleuze, Guattari and Stiegler
  • Techno-poethics

The submission deadline for papers is 31 July 2022. To submit, please complete the Google registration form.

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The conference is open to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. The fee for the full three days (including tea/coffee and lunch) is:

  • South African & Global South participants:
    • R1,200 for affiliated academics
    • R1,200 for salaried persons
    • R600 for anyone with limited financial means

  • Other participants
    • 100€ for affiliated academics
    • 100€ for salaried persons
    • 40€ for anyone with limited financial means

A game drive will take place on the evening of 23 November. Should you wish to participate, this will cost R650 (40€) extra. There will also be a conference dinner at everyone’s own expense on the evening of 24 November. Kindly indicate whether you will attend or not for booking purposes.

To register, fill in the Google registration form by 31 July 2022.

We welcome proposals for the delivery of presentations through art, performance, poetry, multimedia or any other mode of creative expression.

"We had to find a way to break through the white wall or - which amounts to the same thing – to get out of the black hole. —Gilles Deleuze, Seminar at Paris 8 (December 9, 1975)

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Joff P.N. Bradley

Joff Bradley is a professor working at Teikyo University, Tokyo, Japan. He was visiting professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, and visiting fellow at Kyung Hee University, Seoul. Joff has co-written A Pedagogy of Cinema and coedited books on Deleuze and Buddhism; utopia; new French thought; transversality, Japanese education; Stiegler; and animation. His forthcoming books will focus on schizoanalysis and postmedia, schizoanalysis and Asia and global ecologies of learning.

Ian Buchanan

Ian Buchanan is Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He is the founding editor of the Deleuze Studies journal and the author of the Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory, Assemblage Theory and Method and The Incomplete Project of Schizoanalysis, as well as the editor of four book series: Deleuze Connections (EUP), Critical Connections, Plateaus (EUP) and Deleuze Encounters (Continuum).

Janae Scholz

Janae Sholtz is an associate professor of Philosophy at Alvernia University, Pennsylvania, USA. Janae has written Invention of a People: Heidegger and Deleuze on Art and the Political, and edited Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Feminism and French and Italian Stoicisms: From Sartre to Agamben. Her research interests are Continental Philosophy, feminist theory, philosophy of art, and social and political philosophy. Her forthcoming work focuses on the inheritance and omittances of Deleuze in new materialist thought and reintegrating multiple feminist perspectives. She collaborates on several research projects, spanning issues of cosmology and art, the postcolonial and the posthuman.

Alex Taek-Gwang Lee

Alex Taek-Gwang Lee is a professor of cultural studies at Kyung Hee University and a visiting professor at Jamia Millia Islamia University at India. He obtained an MA in philosophy from the University of Warwick and a Ph.D. in Cultural Theory from The University of Sheffield in the UK. He is the member of an advisory board for The International Deleuze Studies in Asia and one of the founding members of Asia Theory Network (ATN). He has also organized a radical reading group, “Kyungsung Com,” in Seoul. In 2013, he organized The Idea of Communism Conference in Seoul with Alain Badiou and Slavoj Žižek and edited the volume of The Idea of Communism 3.

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General information

How to get to Potchefstroom:
- Fly to Johannesburg.
- If arriving early, stay in a hotel in Rosebank. We recommend the Courtyard Hotel Rosebank (this is right opposite a shopping centre which makes it very convenient) or The Winston Hotel.

The best way to get from the airport to the hotel is with Uber. Please only use the official app and don't get into any other taxis at the airport. Johannesburg – as most people know – is a city that has some criminal elements, but incidents can easily be avoided by being aware. This also means looking after your bags and not walking with a cell phone in your hand when out on the street.

Other useful tips:
While in Johannesburg – Joburg or Jozi for locals – you may want to do the following (again, get there using Uber!):

- Constitution Hill
- Apartheid Museum
- Wits University Origins Centre
- Gold Reef City Theme Park

We will have drivers who will take everyone via a game farm to Potchefstroom from Johannesburg early in the morning on 23 November.

Staying in Potchefstroom
In Potchefstroom, we recommend staying at any of the following places:

- On Golden Pond Guesthouse
- Potch Manor Boutique Guest House
- Huys ten Bosch
- Adato B&B Guest House

The conference proper will take place on 24-25 November, and we will again have drivers to take people back to Johannesburg on the morning of 26 November.

More information about the conference dinner will be available shortly.