Current Strategies for Composition and Performance
Elliott Sharp: Curre...

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp uses a wide variety of strategies to compose and perform music. His recent string quartet Tranzience is traditionally notated, but makes use of extended techniques and alternative bow materials. The score to his work Sylva Sylvarum was created by processing notation with graphic editing software in the same manner that the composer would process the sound of instruments: modulating, filtering, layering, inverting, distorting, sequencing. Over 250 images were used to form an animated movie that was both a score and a work of retinal art. His operas Port Bou and Substance reflect and comment on the life and works of philosophers Walter Benjamin and Baruch Spinoza, respectively. Sharp will discuss these compositions as well as the formal ideas at play in his improvisation before concluding with a brief improvised performance on his 8-string electroacoustic guitarbass.

After his lecture and performance, Sharp was presented with the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik for his album 4am Always. The award was presented by Bert Noglik.

Methlabs and Industrial Alchemy
Methlabs and Late In...

In this lecture, anthropologist and Bosch Public Policy Fellow Jason Pine looks at small-scale methamphetamine manufacture in rural Missouri to ask how meth cooking and consumption are used to enhance or “get more life.” He explains the fieldwork he conducted among meth cooks, narcotic agents, judges, parole officers, physicians, pastors, and a St. Louis pharmaceutical laboratory. He also traces the contours of alternative biotechno-ecologies, where “rogue” consumers unmake common household products to create elixirs for fatigue, deflation, and dispossession. Like Pine’s other research projects, the focus of this lecture is on people’s everyday pursuits of personal sovereignty in alternative economies. In his study of small-scale DIY methlabs, he explores how people engage in the alchemical work of self-production as they make do with the toxic inheritance of late-industrial landscapes.

Shame and Shamelessness in the Age of New Media
Andrea Köhler: Shame...

Shame and shaming have been powerful tools since the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, but with the rise of social media the brutality of shaming has reached a cultural boiling point. While mistaken as a medium for social justice, where the powerless are given a voice, cyber-mobbing often takes on the characteristics of medieval punishment. In this lecture, Andrea Köhler, the New York correspondent of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, discusses how shamers can wreak havoc on the lives of those who have offended their values. Shamers often think of themselves as being morally superior and claim to be unaware of the devastating effects of their actions on their victims. But as more and more people end up on the receiving end of cybermobs, the destructiveness of public shaming has become an international problem that must be reckoned with. (Image: Dan Gluibizzi)

Shifting Power Dynamics in the New Digital Age
Jared Cohen: Shiftin...

While the world witnesses unprecedented growth of citizen empowerment, the same geopolitical challenges that have plagued our world for centuries—terrorism, war, repression, sectarian violence—are spilling over into the digital domain in ways unique and without precedent. The founder and director of Google Ideas, Jared Cohen, discusses how from the Great Firewall of China to Russia’s troll armies, from the Syrian Electronic Army to ISIS’s propaganda machine, states and non-state actors are presently using technology to repress people and restrict free expression. Simply applying a physical-world lens to international relations will no longer suffice. Power and politics are changing in ways that only a comprehensive—physical and digital—approach will prepare us to meet old challenges in new domains. The event took place in Berlin's Rotes Rathaus on November 9, 2015.

The Possibility of Social Progress
Philip Kitcher: The...

In this lecture, philosopher Philip Kitcher explores the concept of social progress by proposing that we should think of progress pragmatically, in terms of overcoming problems rather than as directed towards some ideal state. Following John Dewey, he sees these problems as arising from changes in the environment- physical, social, and cultural- which undermine once adaptive institutions and patterns of behavior. Partial solutions to these problems sometimes require a fundamental rethinking of these institutions and patterns of behavior. Kitcher will illustrate these themes with respect to the contemporary state of democracy, global inequality, and climate change. Introduction by Thomas Schmidt, Professor of Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin