Conférencier distingué 11 – Mark Hansen

Data and Experience in 21st Century Media

Public Lecture + Reception
March 28, 2014
4 – 6pm

The talk will explore the shift in the form of technical media that, Hansen argues in his forthcoming book, Feed-Forward: On the Future of 21st Century Media (Chicago 2014), is currently underway in our world. Whereas the great technical media of the 19th and 20th century record, store and transmit information about human experience for human experiencers, 21st century media centrally involves computational processes that fall outside of any direct correlation with human modes of experience. One of the key aims of Hansen’s book is to ask whether this means that we must abandon the philosophical project – central to 20th century phenomenology and related philosophical discourses – of accounting for human experience in the face of our highly mediated lifeworld, or perhaps we might better say (with Deleuze and Guattari), our mechanosphere. Hansen answers this question in the negative and in doing so, develops some theoretical resources on the basis of Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy and the affordances of data which, Hansen argues, expand the domain of presentification to bring humans into technically mediated contact with an expanded domain of sensibility (worldly sensibility).

Logics of Futurity

March 27, 2014
2 – 4 pm

Hansen would like to share some of the material for a new project, called Logics of Futurity, that takes off from the final chapter of Feed-Forward where he explore the way that Whitehead’s account of “real potentiality” interfaces with models of probability and the kinds of predictive analytics systems that drive contemporary data industries. Hansen argues that Whitehead’s account, following some critical adjustments, furnishes the ontology for all predictive systems. In Logics, Hansen seeks to excavate what is at stake in Whitehead’s claim that the “reality of the future is bound up with the reality of [the extensive continuum],” that it is “the reality of what is potential, in its character of a real component of what is actual” (Process and Reality, 66). Concrete sites of exploration include: financial derivatives trading, global warming, microsonic sound production and sonification, the affectivity of neural processing, and the future-oriented data-gathering of contemporary military strategy.

Location for both events:
Hexagram Resource Centre, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex, Room 11.705, 1515 Saint Catherine St. W., Concordia University


Mark Hansen teaches cultural theory and comparative media studies in the Program in Literature and in Media Arts and Sciences at Duke University. His work focuses on the experiential and nonrepresentational effects of technologies with a particular focus on digital media and its impact on human technogenesis. Hansen is author of Embodying Technesis: Technology Beyond Writing (Michigan 2000), New Philosophy for New Media (MIT 2004), and Bodies in Code (Routledge 2006), as well as numerous essays on cultural theory, contemporary literature, and media. He has co-edited three volumes: The Cambridge Companion to Merleau-Ponty (with T. Carman, Cambridge, 2005), Emergence and Embodiment: New Essays on Second-Order Systems Theory (with Bruce Clarke, Duke, 2009), and Critical Terms for Media Studies (with W.J.T. Mitchell, Chicago, 2010). Hansen has recently completed Feed-Forward: the Future of 21st Century Media (Chicago 2014), a study of the experiential challenges posed by contemporary media, with particular emphasis on the expansion of sensibility and the future orientation of data-driven media forms.

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