In September 1974, the American science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick, wrote a letter to the FBI, claiming there was a communist conspiracy disguised as science-fiction literature. This conspiracy was orchestrated by a communist committee, which—according to Philip K. Dick—operated under the name of “Stanisław Lem.”
While he was neither a committee, nor a conspiracy; Stanisław Lem was a writer that produced a body of work so vast and so far-reaching, that it is easy to understand Philip K. Dick’s refusal to accept that it was the work of only one person.
Stanisław Lem’s work used speculations on technology as a way to speak to philosophy, and philosophy as a means with which to understand technological developments, the nature of intelligence, and the possibility of communication both with other forms of intelligence but more importantly, with ourselves across timespans and distance.
Summa Technologiae—titled after a collection of philosophical essays by Stanisłav Lem—is a project that puts together three formats: the school, the conference, and the exhibition, in order to look at the impact of Lem’s work across disciplines: from Literature to Film, to Philosophy, Art, Architecture, Technological Innovation, and Computer Science.
Summa Technologiae begins as a pedagogical investigation consisting of four online seminars, taking place in November and December of 2020. The seminars will be focused on producing “outcomes” (notes, texts, drawings, videos, research elaborations), that will be made available on the Summa Technologiae project platform.
Summa Technologiae seminars are organized by Julieta Aranda, as a cooperation between e-flux and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
“Constructing Time, Reinventing Nature”
Józefina Chętko / Mohammad Salemy
November 5, 19, 26
(with guest speakers Jason Mohahegh, Reza Negarestani, Patricia Reed and Francis Ruyter)
“The Untranslatable: Miracle, Oblivion, Affect”
Ed Keller / Carla Leitão
November 10, 17, 24
“The Planetarity of Intelligence: Materialism and Illusion on the Surface of Solaris”
November 24, December 1, 8
“Mathematics is a Generator of Diversity”
Kodwo Eshun / Doreen Mende
November 26, December 3, 10
(With guest speakers Bogna Konior and McKenzie Wark)
How to apply
Summa Technologiae seminars will begin in November 2020. Each seminar will have three sessions. Half of the participants to each seminar will be there by invitation, and the seminar leaders will choose the other half through a process of open application.
The seminars will take place at 12pm EST / 6pm CET unless otherwise noted.
The Summa Technologiae seminars are conceived for graduate students, with a background in art, philosophy, architecture, design, social sciences and/or critical theory.
Each seminar will accept a maximum of 15 participants. Participants from all over the world are encouraged to apply.
Applicants must have a degree on art, philosophy, architecture, design, social sceinces and/or critical theory, or equivalent experience that they can demonstrate.
While it is possible to apply to more than one seminar in the program, the applicants must state their first choice of seminar in case they are applying to more than one. The final decision will be made by the seminar selection committee, and it cannot be contested.
Seminars will be conducted in English. Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting a short piece of writing.