Vancouver Institute for Social Research: Robert Brain

December 8, 2014

The Vancouver Institute for Social Research (VISR) is an independent, para-academic, graduate-level, theory-based free school that began in Feb. 2013. Our intent is to move beyond the borders of the traditional university and to open up a more accessible platform in the city for the engaged discussion of critical theory.


The Institute’s third session, which will be organized around the theme of “Aesthetics and Politics,” will be held from Sept – Dec, 2014. Once a week on Monday evenings from 7-9 pm at the Or Gallery (555 Hamilton Street), we will be inviting professors to present on topics of their choice over this period.


Though we have an operational budget of $0, the seminars will be free to the public. All professors will be offering their services on a voluntary basis.


Organized by the East Vancouver Young Hegelians
Chapter 13 (Negating the Negation Faction)


Robert Brain — On Silicon Valley’s Quantified Self Movement


“The Quantified Self” is a movement organized around the individual consumer’s increasingly sophisticated capacity for digital self-surveillance of her body in terms of inputs (e.g. nutrition, air quality, etc…), affective coordinates (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels,…), and performance levels (both mental and physical). Professor Brain will scrutinize the historical precedents and biopolitical implications of this Silicon Valley based lifestyle movement.

Participant Bios

Dr. Robert Brain’s research interests centre on problems of the cultural history of the sciences in the long nineteenth-century, with special foci in the relations between the sciences and the arts of modernism, the role of the sciences in modern empire and colonial expansion; evolution and the sciences of mind, brain, and behaviour; instruments and material cultures of laboratory and field; visuality and representation in the sciences; history of universal expositions, world’s fairs, and modern museums; cybernetics and media theory, cultural history of philosophy and systems of thought.