Essays by Kodalak and Kousoulas, with Mutual Responses
Kodalak’s essay revisits Gilbert Simondon as a postwar philosopher, who formulated a new way of conceiving individual modalities—from crystals, technical objects and biological organisms to psychic phenomena and social collectives. Simondon’s metaphysical conception of ontogenesis—that explains how individuals emerge from a pre-individual field of metastable potentials through processes of individuation—helped him reconceive technical objects, no longer as passive automata, but as exuberant individuals, active and full of life, with irreducible modes of existence of their own. With this new vision, Simondon invites us to rethink our relationship with technical objects beyond the mythological attitudes of technocracy, technophilia, and technophobia, which can be further developed today for reconceiving architecture’s own technical modes of existence and charged relations with technology.
Kousoulas’ essay begs the question: Why Simondon in a volume dedicated to Stiegler? It is not that Stiegler’s oeuvre cannot be examined without referring to the crucial influence that Simondon had for his thought. More important than this, it is only through Simondon that Stiegler makes sense. Simondon is keen to remind us that sense, first and foremost, stands for directionality: to make sense is to grasp a direction. Without Simondon’s critical reformulation of our technological becoming, Stiegler’s project remains null. In a non-zero-sum game, Stiegler through Simondon and (retroactively) Simondon through Stiegler, produce the norms and values of a directing sense that can indeed compel us to engage in our worldly endeavours with neganthropic care.
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