Workshop/Book Launch to remember Sonja Neef and to mark the publication of: Sonja A. J. Neef †, Henri Sussman, Dietrich Boschung (Hg.), Astroculture. Figurations of Cosmology in Media and Arts, Fink : Paderborn 2013
The Book Launch will be taken as an opportunity to explore “Astroculture” as a methodology of thinking globally, of acting globally. “Astroculture” as relation to the cosmos can inform us about the relativity of terms and cultural techniques like: nation, identity, frontiers, mother language. At the same time the idea of “Astroculture” can bring up new concepts for thinking and acting globally as: strangerhood, otherness, transition, mediality, un-/belonging or irreducible openness. These weak ontologies and utopia can come up only after a discourse-analytical and techno-historical reconstruction and confrontation of “Astroculture”. The workshop is also a moment of remembering Sonja Neef, who passed away on the 6.4.2013. In order to strengthen Sonja Neef’s heritage of using planetary for global thinking, the workshop will end with the presentation of her latest book “Der babylonische Planet”. This shows, that “Astroculture” is not just one book, but a lifework and a task for us still waiting to be accomplished.
Content: Cosmology and cosmopolitanism describe two different types of knowledge or belief, one deriving from natural sciences, the other from the Humanities. Both discourses deal with concepts of cosmos, universe, globe, world, or planet. This collection of essays explores the dynamic processes by which, on the one hand, cosmological ideas and, on the other hand, cultural, political, philosophical, or religious ideas have been affecting one another. The book is particularly sensitive to the role of the media in this exchange. It investigates how shifts in the history of media interact with epistemological and ideological changes – from the first telescopic observation of the solar system by Galileo in 1609, until our present age of digital astral photography, artificial satellites, and space travel, each time asking how new world-views force us to reinvent ourselves as (post-)modern, (post-)enlightened, and (post-)global subjects.