Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy

Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy

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In this groundbreaking editorial and curatorial project, more than 100 writers, artists, and philosophers rethink what politics is about. In a time of political turmoil and anticlimax, this book redefines politics as operating in the realm of things. Politics is not just an arena, a profession, or a system, but a concern for things brought to the attention of the fluid and expansive constituency of the public. But how are things made public? What, we might ask, is a republic, a res publica, a public thing, if we do not know how to make things public? There are many other kinds of assemblies, which are not political in the usual sense, that gather a public around things—scientific laboratories, supermarkets, churches, and disputes involving natural resources like rivers, landscapes, and air. The authors of Making Things Public—and the ZKM show that the book accompanies—ask what would happen if politics revolved around disputed things. Instead of looking for democracy only in the official sphere of professional politics, they examine the new atmospheric conditions—technologies, interfaces, platforms, networks, and mediations that allow things to be made public. They show us that the old definition of politics is too narrow; there are many techniques of representation—in politics, science, and art—of which Parliaments and Congresses are only a part.

The authors include such prominent thinkers as Richard Rorty, Simon Schaffer, Peter Galison, Richard Powers, Lorraine Daston, Richard Aczel, and Donna Haraway; their writings are accompanied by excerpts from John Dewey, Shakespeare, Swift, La Fontaine, and Melville. More than 500 color images document the new idea of what Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel call an "object-oriented democracy."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262122795
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 09/01/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 1072
Product dimensions: 6.75(w) x 9.50(h) x 2.50(d)

About the Author

Bruno Latour is a philosopher and anthropologist working in Paris. His many books on science and culture include Pandora's Box: Essays in the Reality of Science Studies, Science in Action, The Pasteurization of France, and Laboratory Life. He was curator of the ZKM exhibit ICONOCLASH and co-edited the accompanying MIT Press book ICONOCLASH: Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion, and Art.

Peter Weibel is Director of ZKM | Center for Art and Media Technology, Karlsruhe, and coeditor of other ZKM books, including Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy (MIT Press).

Table of Contents

From Realpolitik to Dingpolitik or How to Make Things Public14
Excerpt: Jonathan Swift on the Difficulty of Talking with Objects44
1Assembling or Disassembling?
A Palaver at Tutuila Samoa, 1883. Two Photographs by Captain William A.D. Acland48
No Politics Please54
On Small Devices of Thought. Concepts, Etymology and the Problem of Translation58
WAI 262. A Maori "Cultural Property" Claim64
"This Is Not a Facade"70
An Election in Papua New Guinea86
Diplomats without Portfolios. The Question of Contact with Extraterrestrial Civilizations90
2Which Cosmos for Which Cosmopolitics?
Divisionem sententiae postulare. Self-laceration100
Good and Bad Government: Siena and Venice108
Sky, Heaven and the Seat of Power120
The Pantheon of Brains126
Transforming Things. Art and Politics on the Northwest Coast132
"Our Government as Nation". Sir Benjamin Stone's Parliamentary Pictures142
Excerpt: John Dewey on the Pragmatist Good Government156
3The Problem of Composition
Composing the Body Politic. Composite Images and Political Representation, 1651-2004162
Seeing Double. How to Make Up a Phantom Body Politic196
Reflections on a Table204
Excerpt: William Shakespeare on the Parable of the Members and the Belly206
Issues Spark a Public into Being. A Key But Often Forgotten Point of the Lippmann-Dewey Debate208
Mission Impossible. Giving Flesh to the Phantom Public218
InterSections/ZKM. A Project224
Freedom for Music! Intuition and the Rule228
Classes, Masses, Crowds. Representing the Collective Body and the Myth of Direct Knowledge234
Excerpt: Thomas Hobbes on Leviathan246
4From Objects to Things
Of Althings!250
Thing Site, Tie, Ting Place. Venues for the Administration of Law260
Heidegger on Objects and Things268
Excerpt: Martin Heidegger on the Etymology of "Thing"272
Heidegger and the Atomic Bomb274
100 Suns. Military Photography Collected by Michael Light276
Things as Res publicae. Making Things Public280
Things Chinese: On wu290
Dewey's Transactions. From Sense to Common Sense292
5From Laboratory to Public Proofs
Public Experiments298
Disabled Persons of All Countries, Unite!308
Public Evaluation and New Rules for "Human Parks"314
Circulations. A Virtual Laboratory and Its Elements320
Things under Water. E.J. Marey's Aquarium Laboratory and Cinema's Assembly326
Wall of Science332
Making Electrons Public334
"Actions of Interest" in Surgical Simulators338
Making Collaboration Networks Visible342
Making Science and Technology Results Public. A Sociology of Demos346
6"The Great Pan Is Dead!"
Viva la Republica Cosmica! or The Children of Humboldt and Coca-Cola352
Excerpt: Karl Polanyi on Dogs Eat Dogs or the Fable of Sociobiology358
"Sheep Do Have Opinions"360
Wolves in the Valley. On Making a Controversy Public370
About Pigs380
Chicken for Shock and Awe: War on Words384
What Is It Like to Be Face to Face with a Great Ape?388
The Obelisks of Stockholm396
Coastal Environment Made Public. Notes from the Field398
7Reshuffling Religious Assemblies
Reforming the Assembly404
Arguing with Heretics? Colloquiums, Disputations and Councils in the Sixteenth Century434
Dominican Constitutions444
Interfaith Celebrations, a New Rite?448
An Assembly of Humans, Shells and Gods454
8The Parliaments of Nature
Galileo's Traveling Circus of Science460
Rhine Streaming474
River Sentinels. Finding a Mouth for the Lot River478
Water Parliaments: Some Examples482
River Landscaping in Second Modernity486
The Lottery of the Sea. A Film in Progress492
The Path of Milk494
Milky Way497
Excerpt: Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar500
9Which Assembly for Those Assemblages?
The Detroit Industry Murals. Diego Rivera (1886-1957)504
The Politics of Water. A Dutch Thing to Keep the Water Out or Not512
A Building Is a "Multiverse"530
The Architectural Thing. The Making of "Making Things Public"536
The Glory of Tournai540
Who Is Minding the Bridges? (A Personal Inquiry)548
10Follow the Paper-Trails
The Common Place of Law. Transforming Matters of Concern into the Objects of Everyday Life556
Public International Indigenes566
The People of Karlsruhe. Jochen Gerz's Constitutional Rights Square574
The Notebook: A Paper-Technology582
Removing Knowledge590
Blocking Things Public600
The Image, between Res privata and Res communis602
11What's Political in Political Economy?
An Artificial Being614
The Stock Ticker622
Listening to the Spread Plot628
This Announcement Appears as a Matter of Record Only! Notes on The New Germany Found Inc / Universalia Non Realia Sed Nomina634
Releasing Market Statistics638
Capitalism Cartograms and World Government642
Publicizing Goldilocks' Choice at the Supermarket. The Political Work of Shopping Packs, Carts and Talk646
The Creators of the Shopping Worlds660
Cuddly / We Are the Children661
The Parliament of Fashion662
Questions of Taste670
12The Political Aesthetic of Reason
Hard Facts680
The Evidence of Phryne, or Phryne Stripped Bare by Rhetoric Even694
Humanization of Knowledge Through the Eye698
Democratic Socialism, Cybernetic Socialism. Making the Chilean Economy Public708
Science in the Age of Sensibility722
Political Aesthetics. Image and Form in Contemporary Dutch Spatial Politics726
Public Experiments. On Several Productions of Bertolt Brecht's "The Life of Galileo"734
13Parliamentary Technologies
Re: Public746
The Circle of Discussion and the Semicircle of Criticism754
Excerpt: Abbe Sieyes on the Infinite Parliament770
Stranded Bodies of Democracy. Cases from the Indian Himalayas772
How to Make a Still Picture Speak and Walk. The Fabulous Destiny of a Gandhi Follower778
Parliamentary Public786
Designing the Agon. Questions on Architecture, Space, Democracy and "the Political"798
Some Reflections on an Agonistic Approach to the Public804
Centers Don't Have to Be Points. Politics beyond State Boundaries810
Voting Machinery, Counting and Public Proofs in the 2000 US Presidential Election814
Dark Source. Public Trust and the Secret at the Heart of the New Voting Machines828
Spin. A Documentary on Political Media834
Turning Public Discourse into an Authentic Artifact: Shorthand Transcription in the French National Assembly836
The Power of Representation: Parliaments of North Africa and the Middle East844
Legible Mob846
14A Search for Eloquence
Excerpt: Jean de La Fontaine on the Power of Fables856
Managing Evidence858
Excerpt: Jonathan Swift on the Tricky Art of Conversation866
BEcomING COLLECTIVE. The Constitution of Audience as an Interactional Process876
Excerpt: Bertolt Brecht on How Dictators Learn Their Rhetoric from Shakespeare884
The Chorus in Opera. Concocting Common Sense886
Getting Together in Cinema894
Narrative Device IV898
What Is a Body / a Person? Topography of the Possible906
Fair Assembly910
Blogs. The New Public Forum - Private Matters, Political Issues, Corporate Interests916
Recipe for Tracing the Fate of Issues and Their Publics on the Web922
The Chronofile-Society936
15New Political Passions?
Atmospheric Politics944
Instant Democracy: The Pneumatic Parliament952
I Am a Revolutionary, 2001 / Everything You've Heard Is Wrong958
Lungs: Slave Labour960
Allegories of the Political962
MapHub: HEARD and MapMover964
Agonistics: A Language Game966
The Fate of Art in the Age of Terror970
The Trials of the World - a Fiction978
Still Life982
The Tragedy of Minamata. Sit-in and Face-to-Face Discussion988
The Cosmopolitical Proposal994
Excerpt: Herman Melville on Bartleby and the Limit of All Politics1004
Art and Democracy1008
Elisabeth Bronfen: The Birth of the Glamourous Star as an Optical Illusion. Busby Berkeley's Dames1010
CYKLOOP: The World's First Mobile Virtual-Reality Center1016
Sebastian Fischer, Lasse Scherffig, Hans H. Diebner: EyeVisionBot1017
Yoann Le Claire: Fabien Lerat, Theatre1022
Jenny Marketou: Flying Spy Potatoes: Mission 21st Street, NYC1032
Works in the Exhibition1042
Biographies of the Authors1051

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