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Launch of Glass Bead Website and Journal

By mute, 12 February 2016
Image: Rick Gudice, View of an O’Neill Cylinder (model for long term space settlement), 1967


Site 0: Castalia - the Game of Ends and Means

The first issue of Glass Bead’s journal, online February 19


Freely available

The first issue of this journal, as well as Glass Bead’s project at large, is directed towards rethinking art as a mode of rational thought. It starts from the assumption that any claim concerning the efficacy of art—its capacity, beyond either its representational function or its affectivity, to make changes in the way we think of the world and act on it—first demands a renewed understanding of reason itself.

The site on which this issue focuses is Castalia, the fictional province imagined by Hermann Hesse in The Glass Bead Game (1943). Set in Central Europe some five hundred years in the future, Castalia hosts a peculiar society entirely dedicated to the pursuit of pure knowledge. Mobilising Castalia as an equivocal image, at once archetype of modern universalism and fortress delegitimized by its own enclosure, the aim of this issue is to revisit and transform the Castalian model for the unification of reason.

With contributions by Tarek Atoui (musician), Amanda Beech (artist), Ray Brassier (philosopher), Olivia Caramello (research mathematician), Gabriel Catren (theoretical physicist and philosopher), Mat Dryhurst (musician), Freeman Dyson (theoretical physicist and mathematician), Keller Easterling (architect), Andrée Ehresmann (mathematician), Anselm Franke (curator), Tristan Garcia (philosopher and writer), Linda Henderson (art historian), Holly Herndon (musician), Martin Holbraad (anthropologist), Deneb Kozikoski (researcher), Laboria Cuboniks (collective), Giuseppe Longo (mathematician, logician, epistemologist), Guerino Mazzola (mathematician and musician), Benedict Singleton (strategist), Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (anthropologist), Alex Williams (political philosopher), Pete Wolfendale (philosopher), and Fernando Zalamea (mathematician).

With the support of Centre National des Arts Plastiques (aide à l’édition numérique), Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, and Extra City Kunsthal.


Table of Contents

Site 0: Castalia, the Game of Ends and Means is structured around partially overlapping charts. Those charts are meant to figure specific routes drawn in the site by the contributors to this issue.


Castalia: the Game of Ends and Means, by Glass Bead

Chart 1. Modelling the Game

Pete Wolfendale • Castalian Games

Ray Brassier • Transcendental Logic and True Representings

Guerino Mazzola • Melting Glass Beads : The Multiverse Game of Gestures and Strings

Gabriel Catren • The Trans-Umweltic Express

Andrée Ehresmann and Mathias Bejean • The Glass Bead Game Revisited : Weaving emergent dynamics with the mes methodology

Chart 2. Ramifying Pathways

Giuseppe Longo • The Consequences of Philosophy

Martin Holbraad / Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (in conversation with Glass Bead) • Ideas of Savage Reason

 Anselm Franke • The Third House

Tristan Garcia • The Photographic Real

Keller Easterling / Benedict Singleton (in conversation with Glass Bead) • Forging Rules

Chart 3. Weaving Syntheses

Fernando Zalamea • Multilayered Sites and Dynamic Logics for Transits between Art and Mathematics

 Linda Henderson • The Forgotten Meta-Realities of Modernism: Die Uebersinnliche Welt and the International Cultures of Science and Occultism

Olivia Caramello • The Theory of Topos-Theoretic Bridges : A Conceptual Introduction

Tarek Atoui • Transformative Circuits

Deneb Kozikowski • The Turn of the Canoe

Chart 4. Engineering Horizons

Laboria Cuboniks • Xenofeminist Manifesto : A Politics for Alienation

Freeman Dyson (in conversation with Glass Bead) • The Pacific Way

Alex Williams / Holly Herndon / Mat Dryhurst (in conversation with Glass Bead) • Re-Engineering Hegemony

Amanda Beech • Culture Without Mirrors—Restructuring Creative-Cognitive Power


The Depth and the Ply

Launch event

February 19 & 20 at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers Aubervilliers

To be human is to enter into a game of ends and means. This game is not a natural game. Animals do not play it. It is the game through which humans construct themselves as well as their environment. It is a normative game whose rules can be altered and transformed, crossing over the whole range of human engagements with the world.

Elaborating on the contents of the first issue of Glass Bead’s journal, this launch event is dedicated to the following questions: what is the function of art in this game? How can theoretical and practical forms of expression help to reshape the rules of the game and further transform our normative landscape?

Contemporary art generally opposes this game of normative gestures with an endless play of indeterminate signification. It puts forward an understanding of creativity and freedom as that which can only be achieved by escaping the game and its all encompassing logic. Doing so, it paradoxically projects normativity into the background, as an implicit condition with which it becomes impossible to engage.

Contrary to this position, Glass Bead contends that any escape from the game already supposes a type of engagement with its fabric. There is no seclusion, no retreat, no outside to the game. Freedom is not the indeterminacy of play: playing the game means committing to an ongoing process of construction and revision that continually changes its nature. Such a claim does not mean that normativity is freedom, but that freedom pertains to the normative game of ends and means. It is through the congruence and divergence of ends and means that norms can be made explicit, revised and transformed.

The event at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers proposes an investigation into this redefinition of the game and art’s role within it. This exploration will articulate the two dimensions of any game: its depth and its plies. The depth of play names the ability to foresee future moves and adapt the play accordingly. The ply, describes a turn of the game between two players. To take part in the game implies the strategic correlation of these two dimensions where any local engagement within it (the ply) is a transformative commitment with its global structure (the depth).

In such a conception, making a move in the normative landscape of the game is necessarily bound to an act of self-transformation. It does not leave us intact as players by preserving what we are but involves us in a constant redefinition of what we can be and ought to be. These events are dedicated to the collective formalization of this uprooting.


Friday, February 19

7 pm: Introduction by Glass Bead

7:30 pm: Screening of The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda) (2015, 70min) by Metahaven

The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda) challenges the Internet as a weapon of mass disruption. A cinematic adventure that spans documentary, art film production, and music video, it conceives of and visualises the idea of worldwide social media as an emergent architecture for political activism and propaganda.

9 pm: Ear of Cyclone, sound performance by Yoneda Lemma aka Katrina Burch

Saturday, February 20

3 pm: Introduction by Glass Bead

3:30 pm: Why a Rationalist Art? by Suhail Malik

The malaise of contemporary art is by now commonly acknowledged. Beyond the diagnostics of art’s recent and still prevalent conditions, counterproposals are needed for what art might do and, consequently, what it has to be. The recent vindication of rationalism offers one particularly compelling countermanding of contemporary art. It is particularly significant if the concern is to establish criteria for art that are binding yet expansive, obtaining societal traction by extending art beyond the internal concerns of the artworld. Yet, as this presentation will propose, philosophically organised deontologies can not provide the criteria needed for art. As an institutionally-constructed praxis, art is constituted by a risk rationality that abrogates conceptually organised commitments. The question that arises is then: what kind of rationality should art operationalise?

4 pm: Xenofeminist Manifesto by Laboria Cuboniks (represented by Katrina Burch and Patricia Reed)

Laboria Cuboniks will outline some methodological propositions following the demands mapped out in her Manifesto (released in 2015). Answering to the rhetorical question posed by Gilles Châtelet “Can one extract a part from the whole without leaving scars?”, Cuboniks takes up what could be called the ‘geometrical ommission’ from much of post-structuralisms’ derivative disciplines that limit the potential of particularisms (points) by assuming one can properly identify them in isolation, divorced from their field conditions. Following the integrative approach endemic to a synthetic procedure, she will argue for the necessity of an epistemic gluing operation to adequately describe the types of complex, contemporary objects that define our time (extra-local/temporal objects), requiring new cognitive approaches in order to afford suitable modes for their episto-politicization.

4:30 pm: Panel conversation with Suhail Malik, Laboria Cuboniks and Glass Bead followed by a discussion with the audience.

6 pm: Public conversation between Tristan Garcia and Christopher Priest followed by a discussion with Glass Bead and the audience.

This conversation will stem from the writers’ common interest for the realist description of the world, the notion of literary genre, and the concept of science fiction, as well as the situation of these ideas in regard to the modern novel, to explore their traction on world construction, possibility and futurity.

9 pm: sound performance by Tarek Atoui

Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers 41, rue Lécuyer 93300 Aubervilliers - Free entrance on reservation at /All the talks will be translated live to French and/or English. The recordings will be made available on Glass Bead’s website. The events will be followed by drinks and dinner.



Christopher Priest was born in Cheshire, England. He began writing soon after leaving school and has been a full-time freelance writer since 1968. He has published thirteen novels, four short story collections and a number of other books, including critical works, biographies, novelizations and children’s non- fiction. His novel The Separation won both the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the BSFA Award. In 1996 Priest won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his novel The Prestige. He has been nominated four times for the Hugo award. He has won several awards abroad, including the Kurd Lasswitz Award (Germany), the Eurocon Award (Yugoslavia), the Ditmar Award (Australia), and Le Grand Prix de L’Imaginaire (France). In 2001 he was awarded the Prix Utopia (France) for lifetime achievement. He has written drama for radio (BBC Radio 4) and television (Thames TV and HTV). In 2006, The Prestige was filmed by Warner Bros. Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Prestige went to No.1 US box office in its first week. It received two Academy Award nominations. Chris Priest’s most recent novel The Gradual will be published by Gollancz in 2016, and in the USA by Titan Books. He is Vice-President of the H. G. Wells Society. In 2007, an exhibition of installation art based on his novel The Affirmation was mounted in London.
As a journalist he has written features and reviews for The Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the New Statesman, the Scotsman, and many different magazines.

d-n-e (Donatas Tubutis & Katrina Burch) is a sleepwalking cru. Who has a million bucks to save them? Million bucks girl Katrina and million bucks boy Donatas excavate their kitchen to entangle their relatives into the nightmare via looping stepping-stones.

Laboria Cuboniks (b. 2014) is a xenofeminist collective, spread across five countries and three continents. She seeks to dismantle gender, destroy ‘the family,’ and do away with nature as a guarantor for inegalitarian political positions. Her name is an anagram of ‘Nicolas Bourbaki’, a pseudonym under which a group of largely French mathematicians worked towards an affirmation of abstraction, generality and rigour in mathematics in the early twentieth century. She will be represented by Katrina Burch and Patricia Reed for this event.

Metahaven was founded by Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk in 2007. Originally experimental graphic designers, Metahaven turned to art and moving image as a natural progression of their research into aesthetics and politics after the internet. They worked with organizations like WikiLeaks and Independent Diplomat, and produce music videos with the progressive EDM superstar Holly Herndon. Metahaven’s recent publications include Uncorporate Identity, Can Jokes Bring Down Governments?, and Black Transparency. Together, Kruk and Van der Velden teach at the European Graduate School in Saas- Fee, Switzerland. Their work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Artists Space, and the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, among others.

Suhail Malik is Co-Director of the MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London, where he holds a Readership in Critical Studies, and was 2012-15 Visiting Faculty at CCS Bard, New York. Recent and forthcoming publications include, as author, On the Necessity of Art’s Exit From Contemporary Art (2016) and ‘The Ontology of Finance’ in Collapse 8: Casino Real (2015), and, as co-editor, Realism Materialism Art (2015), Genealogies of Speculation (2016), and The Flood of Rights (2016).

Born in Lebanon in 1980, Tarek Atoui moved to France in 1998 where he studied economics and electroacoustic music. In 2008 he worked as artistic director at Steim in Amsterdam, a centre for the research and development of new electronic musical instruments. Today Atoui is a sound artist and composer and is developing a permanent reflection on the concept of the instrument and the act of performance itself as a complex, open and dynamic process. He has also performed at the New Museum in New York (2009/2011); the Sharjah Biennial 9 and 11 in the United Arab Emirates (2009/2013); the dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel (2012), the 8th Berlin Biennial (2014) and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris (2014/2015).

Born in 1981 in Toulouse, Tristan Garcia entered in 2000 the École Normale Supérieure. After working with Alain Badiou, he was awarded his PhD for a thesis on the subject of « representation » in human arts, which he had written under the supervision of Sandra Laugier. On the same year, he published his first novel, awarded by the Flore Prize : La Meilleure part des hommes (Hate : a romance, translated by Lorin Stein, Faber & Faber, 2011). Working as a teacher at the University of Amiens, he continued his career as a novelist (Mémoires de la jungle, 2010 ; En l’absence de classement final, 2011 ; Les Cordelettes de Browser, 2012 ; Faber. Le destructeur, 2013 ; 7, 2015) and he conducted further researches in metaphysics, leading to the publishing of Forme et Objet. Un traité des choses (Form and Object. A treatise on things, translated by Jon Cogburn and Mark A. Ohm, Edinburgh University Press, 2014). He wrote critical essays about animal suffering (Nous, animaux et humains, 2011), political subjectivity (Nous, 2016) or TV series (Six Feet Under. Nos vies sans destin, 2012). Since 2015, he’s an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Lyon-3.

Yoneda Lemma is a quasi-causal brainchild for abstract exploration, experimental research, and a platform for productions, plotted by archaeologist, composer/producer and feminist thinker, Katrina Burch, who practices music to deepen the game of thinking with the universe. Yoneda Lemma’s complex harmonic layers dig into sound densely, shifting sonic elements from one fiction to another.

Glass Bead is a research platform and a journal concerned with transfers of knowledge across art, science and philosophy, as well as with their practical and political dimensions. It was conceived and is run by Fabien Giraud, Jeremy Lecomte, Vincent Normand, Ida Soulard and Inigo Wilkins.

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