The Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London is pleased to invite you, your colleagues and your students to the following event:
Wolfgang Schäffner (HU Berlin) on the curious, contentious and undefinable "point" as it recurs throughout the history of mathematics, military strategy, visual culture, and intellectual history.
Location: Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, G/F, Whitehead Building, Goldsmiths University of London
Date: Thursday, 30 October, 2014
**Free and open to the public.**
What is the point? The curious, contentious and often undefinable entity known as the "point" has recurred throughout the history of mathematics, visual culture, projections of military strategy, cultural theory, and the history of philosophy. Taking the "point" as his "point" of departure is Wolfgang Schäffner, Professor of Cultural and Intellectual History at the Institute for Cultural History and Theory, Humboldt University in Berlin, and Director of the "Centre of Excellence" in Image, Knowledge, and Formation—An Interdisciplinary Laboratory [Bild Wissen Gestaltung].
This lecture is drawn from his ongoing research project on the "Genesis of the Analogical Code," which takes as its premise the observation that in contrast to the numerous analyses of the digital code and the history of the zero, there is no comparable history of the analogical code and the point as its basic operator. The operational efficiency of the point has been visible since Greek mathematics; this genesis of the analogical code initiates a media revolution of knowledge in the early modern period. The enormous expansion of Euclidean geometry by means of translations, commentaries, and especially its implementation in the cultural technics of the European Renaissance finds an analogy of similarly fundamental importance in the implementation of the analogical code in the digitisation of knowledge in the 20th century. The point—a nothing, that is also a something, a sign, as Euclid said—is a small machine: it moves, it stops, it connects and separates, it touches and divides, it lights and shades, it writes and deletes, it is and is not. This minimal operator is the foundation of the analogical code. The analysis of the point's operation steps beyond the alphanumeric code and its numbers and letters, and across those geometric operations that make calculating, drawing, and writing possible in the first instance.
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