If what begins already finds itself in the thick of it, in the midst of something else, and among others elsewhere, what emerges, in the middle, at this mid-place or mi-lieu, does not thereby constitute a centre. Without starting or end point, this middle is deprived of any frame or foundation. Rigorously un-centred, such an emergence does not even have a well-defined position: it is diffuse, scattered, vague, blurred. This errant dimension of the milieu registers in the word ‘environment’: The French en-viron/en-virons (from Old French viron: ‘round, circle’) signifies both (as an adverb) a measure of imprecision or estimation and (as a noun, mostly in the plural) a surrounding region.
There is hardly a discipline, field, or discourse within the natural and social sciences nor the humanities that hasn’t long been transformed by the notions of milieu, environment, or Umwelt. The ICI Lecture Series ‘ERRANS environ/s’ will contemplate aspects of this frequently divergent, potentially errant, and certainly ongoing transformation of not only the sciences or cultures of knowledge, but also cultural and artistic production at large. It will investigate the ways in which an attention to environments can have the effect of dissolving boundaries or making them permeable, questioning clear-cut distinctions, undermining naive ontologies, decentring the subject, folding nature and culture, and producing complex political ecologies attuned to far-reaching entanglements.
All talks start at 19:30 and will be in English.