17 December 2014:
Prof. Frederik Tygstrup (Copenhagen University)
‘Speculation and the End of Fiction’?
Lectures in Media / Art / Politics–organized by Pepita Hesselberth (Lucas & NICA)
Every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 17h in Leiden
Universiteit Leiden / Lipsius 148
Modernity’s propensity for speculation is well established. It ranges from the artifices of the “as if”, the thrills of imagining that everything that is might also be different, codified by Robert Musil as an inherent “sense of the possible,” to the daring betting on the “what if,” invoking better futures with an utopian spark or grim prospects to hedge oneself against. The twin inclinations to imagine the different and to project the future are the hinges of the modern imagination. In the early eighteenth century, three powerful media of speculation came into being almost at the same time: the calculus of probability, paper money, and literary fiction. In different ways, they enabled agencies of correlating what is and what is not – whether in terms of risk assessment, circulation of capital, or social self-fashioning. By the beginning of the 21st century, these media of speculation seem to have reached a point of excess. With big data, probabilistic speculation is about to accustom us to read “what if”-questions in an altogether indicative mode, just as big finance has succeeded to reverse the hierarchy between value assets and the media of liquid capital. This then raises the question of what happens to the third medium of speculation in our late modernity, that of fiction? In my talk, I will try and diagnose the fate of fiction in an age of hypertrophied speculation, how practices of fiction-making migrate, how the functions of fiction transform, and eventually how our present notion of fiction is due for a conceptual makeover.
Prof. Dr. Frederik Tygstrup is Head of Program of the Copenhagen Doctoral School of Cultural Studies, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, at the University of Copenhagen.