Inclinations #20: Infrastructures of Vulnerability

July 23, 2015

Or Gallery Berlin is pleased to present Nicholas Houde in Infrastructures of Vulnerability, for our speaker series Inclinations, with guest host Lauryn Youden.


Enclosures hold us back yet hold us tight in our desires for safety and intimacy. They prevent us from moving freely yet give us shelter from the outside, providing a sense of belonging. In each case, they form a how-things-go-where-and-how that orients our ability to respond to each other. Abstracted, this topography can be seen as an organizational ecology, that through history and process, has formed something of an infrastructure out of our proximity to each other, tectonically forming the terrain which we must negotiate.


But if we are those that constitute these relationships, if we are so weak as to be dependent, then if we would like things to change, couldn’t we infect those intermediaries with our affliction? Maybe discovering those restrictive powers as reciprocal ones will mean rendering those agencies between us as weakly dependent on us as we are on them. To where the sorting mechanism lets pass the gold leaving only dirt in the pan. Not in the sense of soft feelings alone. After all, it is our connections that have sustained us so far in the first place! But how now can we harness them, draw them closer and more formidable? How can we intensify our proximity, our response-ability to a degree that it translates from the local to the global?


In this talk Nick Houde will draw some lines through these provocations by looking at how to mutate the bonds of dependency that facilitate these infrastructures. Focusing on parasitic relations, vulnerability, and response-ability he will try and bring to the front new strategies of political, economic, artistic, and social agency that rely on the intimacy and vulnerability that we already foster so very weakly.


The ideas of the talk are taken from my forthcoming book Enclosure: Adventures in Acquiescence available from Atropos Press later this summer.




Inclinations #20: Post-Natural Politics

October 3, 2015

Or Gallery Berlin is pleased to present Post-Natural Politics, with guests Helen Hester, Matteo Pasquinelli, Rory Rowan & Nick Srnicek for our lecture series Inclinations, hosted by Patricia Reed.


This 20th session brings together four thinkers whose work addresses (post-catastrophic) horizons of futurity conditioned by geo-social complexity. Weaving together an array of issues, ranging from labour, sex and macro-economics; to affective will, machinic intelligence and planetary geography – the aim is to plot continuums across these disciplines, and how they may be leveraged towards better modes of collective life. How can a politics commensurate with our post-natural situation be articulated that avows scalar complexity, without falling into (hubristic) ‘futurist’ traps of historical amnesia? What role does modeling play, in both cognitive and pragmatic senses, in our ability to conceptualize future(s) (beyond extinction), and how does art operate in the co-formation of these new perspectives?


The framework for the session was largely inspired by the text Extinction as Usual?: Geo-Social Futures and Left Optimism (2015) by Rory Rowan.

The event will begin with presentations from each participant, followed by a group discussion.

A monthly speaker series at Or Gallery Berlin, hosting philosophers, artists, curators, and…


The presentation of work revolves around the posing of a question that is the thrust of a guest’s activities. It goes without saying that questions may not be answered, but are grappled with in their unresolvability. An inclination is the force of attraction to a question (without a straightforward response), yet also to each other, as a community who partakes in a common quest(ion).
Hosted by Patricia Reed.


# Arriving at a question is already a departure.
# Questions are a declaration of departure.
# Arriving at a question in thought or activity is also the creation of a trajectory, of inclining oneself towards an unknown goal, yet not without direction.
# A question inclines a departure in a particular way, but a question itself is generic – it propels all modes of seeking some thing. Questions possess the force of bending and swerving ideas/action.
# A question is the confrontation and departure from a lack. To arrive at a question is to arrive at a gap in knowledge, action and speech – a gap that cannot be immediately filled in without the inclination towards something other.
# A question is indisciplinary; the inclining magnetism of a question knows no disciplinary bounds.


In Kooperation mit der Botschaft von Kanada/In collaboration with the Embassy of Canada.


Participant Bios

Nick Houde lives in Berlin. He is a PhD Candidate at the European Graduate School and makes music under the moniker SFTSTPS.