Evan Calder Williams: The Sabotage of Life

fantomas humanity beautiful puppet show


4 Lectures by Evan Calder Williams

MAY 14th, the ‘GLASS CORNER’, room E206, 25 East 13th Street, 7.00 PM – 10PM

The last in the series, this lecture tackles the last aspect of sabotage responsible for the century’s worth of attacks on it: its negation of the centrality of “life” as an ideal to organize around and in defense of. Contrary to many of its most recent advocates, sabotage does not suggest the surge of an irrepressible human vital urge against “deathly” mechanisms of capital and state. Instead, it produces a crack in the assumed bond of human-life-work, insists on dangerous collaborations with mechanisms both inhuman and “against life,” and reminds us that only those who insist on the primacy of life itself could support one so unlivable.

Topics include: the birth strike, Neo-Malthusian and otherwise; hostile objects; material feminist urban design; slapstick; unwaged time.

Williams will be in conversation by theorist and artist Hannah Black.

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited, please register on Eventbrite.


For more information on Calder Williams’ 2013/14 lectures:



Evan Calder Williams: The Sabotage of Space

gun crazy train smoke lens flare2

4 Lectures by Evan Calder Williams

APRIL 28, the ‘GLASS CORNER’, room E206, 25 East 13th Street, 7.00 PM – 10PM


The qualities that made sabotage one of the twentieth century’s bad words – its cunning, conspiracy with complex apparatuses, invisibility, and “time-release” effect – are not qualities it invented. Rather, they are found in the basic coordinates of that century’s spatial system. If, as the previous talk explored, the history of sabotage is one of drift and diffusion, moving from a specific practice in wage-centered struggles through legal and military codification to a general concept of subterfuge and hostility, it is so only as an index of real changes happening to and through the material networks of capital. This talk considers those networks and changes through the lens of sabotage, focusing in particular on two histories: the Metropolis, both as the large city and as the process of expansion that dissolves the coherence of the city/country divide, and pollution, as an idea giving the West nightmares for a good two millennia and now showing itself inseparable from daily life. Topics include: Kiev’s ice barricades; Doreen Massey’s feminist geography; miasma, blocked signals, and the birds of Antigone; recent digital animation; Deepwater Horizon and the burning ocean; floods of work and water; Piranesi’s serpents; Günther Anders and Massimo Cacciari; the earth’s crust.

The talk will be followed by a response by, and conversation with, Sabu Kohso, a theorist and translator currently researching and writing on the aftermath of Fukushima.

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited, please register on Eventbrite.

For more information on Calder Williams’ 2013/14 lectures:


Post Planetary Capital Symposium

Sunshine, Boyle

Post Planetary Capital Symposium
Monday, March 24, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM (EDT)
Co-organized by Ed Keller and Ben Woodard
Wollman Hall 66 West 12th Street 5th floor   New York, NY
Free and open to the public.


Introduction and opening of symposium

More symposium footage: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/post-planetary-capital


As the dull glow of nationalism and cold war politics has faded from governmental space programs it is little surprise that space exploration has undergone widespread privatization.
Yet it is only recently that potentially massive profitability has accelerated off-planet projects, replacing narrower and perhaps unrealistic dreams of space tourism with asteroid mining (purportedly a multi-trillion dollar industry) and long term Mars colonization. Such projects present an odd combination of new technologies (especially advanced robotics) and lower cost older technologies (rocket propulsion) deployed in unfamiliar and lawless territory.

While much has been said regarding the internal limits of capital, much yet remains to be said about how capitalist imperatives can be taken off-world, questioning whether capital[ism] has external limits as it begins to spread across the solar system and out into space. Is the fact that asteroid mining extends an old logic of environmental degradation rendered moot by its non-terrestrial location? Does off-world colonization by non-governmental entities lay troubling ground work for the advent of mega-corporations and unregulatable capitalism?

Furthermore, the complicity between capitalist expansion and space exploration which centers upon large-scale collective action potentially questions stock oppositions between capital and ecological betterment, technological progression and radical politics, as well as space travel and non-national collectivity. This one day symposium aims to address the potential strategies and claims surrounding these issues.

– Ed Keller, Ben Woodard

Julieta Aranda [artist / editor of eflux journal]
Amanda Beech [CalArts]
Kai Bosworth  [UMN]
Benjamin H. Bratton [DGP/UCSD]
Ed Keller [CTM/Parsons]
Deneb Kozikoski [Columbia]
Carla Leitao [RPI/Pratt]
Geoff Manaugh [Gizmodo/BLDGBLOG]
Rory Rowan [Wageningen University, The Netherlands ]
Keith Tilford [New School]
Ken Wark [New School]
Ben Woodard [University of Western Ontario]
Kazys Varnelis [Columbia Univ. GSAPP]

Additional speakers TBA

Encoded Matter: Ezio Blasetti lecture


Encoded Matter, Ezio Blasetti
March 17, 6.30 PM
Klein Conference room [510], 66 W 12th St, New York, NY

This lecture will reflect upon computational craft that creates consistency and precision within formal explorations.  Material constraints can be consciously redefined through pattern and code, which incubate a search for progressive manufacturing methods. Pure algorithmic design encapsulates the potential for new patterns, which manifest around generative procedures and scripted logic. This abstract material logic embodiment enables an engagement with the complexities of organizational space. ‘Encoded matter’ attempts to draw a parallel between material behavior, emergence in simple software and spatial narratives.

Ezio Blasetti, registered architect TEE-TCG, is the co-founder of maeta design (2011), ahylo studio (2009), apomechanes (2009) and algorithmicdesign.net (2008). Ezio’s recent collaborations include new-territories, biothing, acconci studio, a|Um studio and serge studio. He has taught generative design studios and seminars by means of computational geometry at Pratt Institute, the Architectural Association, Sciarc, RPI, UTS, PennDesign and Columbia University. In 2004 he co-founded otn studio, a young design-build practice and completed several projects in Greece. His work has been exhibited and published internationally and is part of the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou.

Free and Open to the Public- seating is limited, please register at Eventbrite

Function: Decomposition, Localization, Abstraction- Brassier & Negarestani

Function: Decomposition, Localization, Abstraction

Speakers: Ray Brassier, Reza Negarestani
March 25, 2014, 6:30pm

Although principally associated with a thesis in the philosophy of mind, functionalism has wide-ranging ramifications. The concept of “functional role” or “functional organization” ties together a metaphysical problem about the basis of the distinction between matter and form, an epistemic problem about how to distinguish semantic content from physical information, and an engineering problem about the relation between structural and functional properties.

This workshop will try to unravel the metaphysical, epistemic, and engineering aspects of functionalism by developing themes from the work of philosophers including William Bechtel, Robert Brandom, Wilfrid Sellars, and William Wimsatt.

Date and Time: March 25, 2014, 6:30pm
Location: Wollman Hall, The New School
66 West 12th Street  New York, NY 10011

This is a free event and open to the public.
Seating is limited: please order tickets via Eventbrite.



4 Lectures by Evan Calder Williams

March 10, 7 PM – 10PM
E206 Glass corner conf. room  25 East 13th street, 2nd floor
Free and open to the public. Seating is limited: please register on Eventbrite.

This lecture examines one of sabotage’s central qualities and a primary cause of its frequent demonization throughout the last century: its peculiar timescale. This is a mode of time fundamentally opposed to the identity of subject and act that underpins any representational politics, be it voting or street protests. In place of that, sabotage suggests making use of the very paths and delays of circulation. By the time the damage is discovered, no one source can be found, because the commodity, technique, or idea has already routed through the world in the name of capitalizing on uneven zones of wealth and resource. It is a failure without an author. Running counter to the very idea that one should stand up and be counted, sabotage hijacks the time of circulation and arms it against itself. Topics considered include: friction, feedback, and hoards; Veblen on competition and dog-owning; Castoriadis, Simondon, and Stiegler on technical time; steamship ruins in the Bermejo River; supply chains; Ballard; cunning and speed; pipes that go nowhere.


An overview of all four of Calder Williams’ talks: 


The Future of Guitar and Instrument Design

2013-14-15 CTM Lecture, workshop and performance series

In 2013-14, CTM presents a series of lectures, workshops, & performances focusing on the cutting edge present and future of guitar and instrument design. Organized and coordinated by Ed Keller, and co-sponsored by Mannes School of Music, the series functions as a platform to build cross divisional collaboration at The New School, and opens exclusive external collaborations. Internationally renowned luthiers, designers, builders, materials innovators, composers, performers, theorists, and sound designers come together to explore points of connection between the traditions of musical instrument design and sound production, and new forms of design thinking facilitated by materials science, emergent materials, parametric design, the internet of things, physical computing, networked sound, and the politics of ‘noise’.

In the Fall 2014, our guests include master luthiers Michihiro Matsuda and Florian Vorreiter;
Artist Fellow Elliott Sharp; and more TBA.


In the spring of 2014, our guests included guitarist/teacher/technologist Joe Ravo, architect, designer and coder Ezio Blasetti. Guest performances and workshops will be linked to the lecture series via our  Collab course ‘The Radical Future of Guitar‘.

In the fall of 2013, our first guests in this project included some of the most internationally recognized and innovative guitar designers of recent decades: Ken Parker, Ned Steinberger, Ola Strandberg, and Gary Lee. Each lecture was accompanied by panel discussions, performances and demonstrations by internationally acclaimed artists including Allan Marcus, Charlie Hunter, Fred Hand, Charles Yang, Barry Salmon, Dom Minasi, & Ratzo Harris. Theorists and performers speaking on the current and future envelope of instrument design join these events; Martin Rosenberg was our guest in December in this capacity.



LECTURERS and GUESTS in the series:


Michihiro Matsuda
Pairing traditional woodworking skills with an innovative sense of design and construction, Matsuda builds around ten to twelve guitars each year at his lutherie studio in Oakland California. His instruments integrate fine materials with organic shapes and graceful lines.





Florian Vorreiter
The emphasis in Florian’s work is on traditional construction methods and state-of-the-art knowledge from research as well as elaborate measuring procedures (Chladni-modes, FFT-Analysis, deflection measurements). The unique sound of Vorreiter-Instruments is accomplished by combining intuition and scientific procedures.




ezioEzio Blasetti, registered architect TEE-TCG, is the co-founder of maeta design (2011), ahylo studio (2009), apomechanes (2009) and algorithmicdesign.net (2008). He has taught generative design studios and seminars at Pratt Institute, the Architectural Association, Sciarc, RPI, UTS, PennDesign and Columbia University.  His work has been exhibited and published internationally and is part of the permanent collection of the Centre Pompidou.


Joe Ravo
A native New Yorker, Joe has performed with jazz greats Dave Brubeck and Stanley Turrentine and worked in the orchestras of various hit Broadway shows including, A Chorus Line, 42nd Street, Secret Garden, City of Angels, and Dancin’. As the guitarist of Johnny Rodgers Band (JRB), Joe has toured around the globe as a cultural ambassador for the United States. When MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was introduced, Joe exploited his engineering background to develop software for Korg USA as a contract programmer. As well as serving as director of technology for Mannes College the New School for Music since 2000, Joe is currently on the faculties of the music conservatory’s preparatory and extension divisions.




Ken Parker Currently building world class, innovative jazz archtop guitars in his personal shop Ken Parker Archtops, Parker was the founder of Parker guitars in 1991, a company which developed radically innovative electric guitars utilizing cutting edge manufacturing and materials.






Ned Steinberger Today designing and building both electric classical bowed instruments and electric guitars and basses with his company NS Design, Steinberger was renowned in the 1980s for his use of carbonfiber in his eponymous Steinberger ‘headless’ guitars and basses from that period.






Ola Strandberg’s line of ergonomically designed instruments extrapolate the design ideas seen in other ‘headless guitars’, and his innovations in neck profile design, CNC milling, materials, fanfret and tempered fretboards- as well as Creative Commons licensing much of his design work- make him one of the most exciting designers/builders today. CTM & Parsons will be partnering exclusively with Strandberg in Spring 2014 in a collab course studying the ‘Radical Future of Guitar’.



Gary Lee
Trained as a research scientist with a Ph.D. in biochemistry,
in 2007 Gary launched Lee Guitar Works and the transition to building guitars full-time. Gary’s research background inspires creativity, thoughtful design and exacting execution. His handcrafted classical guitars incorporate the best of traditional design with contemporary features such as adjustable-action necks, elevated fingerboards, double top laminate soundboards, bridges with 12-hole tieblocks, and rigid sides with solid linings for excellent projection.


As part of the series, CTM  presents theorists and performers speaking on the current and future envelope of instrument design.
What is at Stake with Ergonomics in Guitar Design, Martin E. Rosenberg [link to event description]

MartinMartin E. Rosenberg wrote his dissertation on the cultural work across the arts of the scientific concept of “emergence,” beginning with Henri Poincaré, Henri Bergson, and Marcel Duchamp, and ending with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Ilya Prigogine, Francisco Varela and Thomas Pynchon.   He recently published on emergent behaviors, visible in music notation, in jazz improvisation and composition, and currently researches the cognitive neuro-science of improvisers. Originally trained in jazz composition at the Berklee College of Music, he has returned (after thirty years) to performing in the Pittsburgh area.



A Rogue Frequency: book and record launch



Yume Cyan, Last Dance of the Fairies, Nagoya City, Japan (June 2013)

punctum and the Center for Transformative Media, Parsons The New School for Design are co-hosting A Rogue Frequency on Saturday, September 28th, from 5:30-8:00 pm @Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (66 Fifth Avenue), to celebrate the launch of punctum records and to feature a reading/sound/music mashup with musical artist Taft, plus Katherine Behar + Emmy Mikelson, Jamie “Skye” Bianco, Andreas Burckhardt (author of punctum’s A Sanctuary of Sounds), Rachel Cantor, Oliver Kellhammer, Léopold Lambert, Marget Long, Dominic Pettman, Allen W. Strouse (author of punctum’s forthcoming My Gay Middle Ages), and Marina Zurkow. Books will be available for purchase and there will also be a reception. The Facebook page for the event is HERE.



Cyber-Nietzsche | 04.13.2013


On April 13,  2013, The Center for Transformative Media (CTM) at Parsons The New School for Design presented ‘Cyber-Nietzsche: Tunnels, Tightropes, Net-&-Meshworks’: a day-long symposium on the relation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy to Media Studies, Cybernetics, and the so-called ‘Digital Humanities’ (Human, All too Human?).

The Nietzsche Workshop@Western is an annual international conference that provides an academic forum for scholars and students to discuss the most salient issues of contemporary society in light of the critical perspectives and politico-philosophical insights of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Speakers included:

Jen Boyle, Coastal Carolina University;  Sarah Choukah, Universite de Montreal;  Pawel Krol, Universite Laval;  Nicola Masciandaro, City University of New York;  Jimmy Raskin, Miguel Abreu Gallery; Dylan Wittkower, Old Dominion University; Joseph Nechvatal, School of Visual Arts;  Eugene Thacker, The New School;  Babette Babich, Fordham University;  Gary Shapiro, University of Richmond, Emeritus;  Shannon Bell, York University;  Dominic Pettmann, The New School; and Nandita Biswas Mellamphy & Dan Mellamphy, Western University.

Full conference at UStream:

Selected NWWiv presentations at Vimeo:

Future of Security: Ethical Hacking, Big Data and The Crowd | 10.24.12


On October 24th, 2012,  The Parsons Institute for Information Mapping [PIIM] and the Center for Transformative Media at The New School [CTM] hosted The Future of Security: Ethical Hacking, Big Data, and the Crowd.  This event was a day long series of panels discussing emerging, disruptive forces changing the landscape of global security across a wide range of disciplines, and brought researchers, practitioners, and security professionals together to explore what might be broadly characterized as the current [and rapidly evolving] global security landscape. The event was
organized by Chris Goranson [Director, PIIM] and Ed Keller [Director, CTM].

Key panels included the following topic areas:

  • Ethical Hacking / Hacktivism- Emerging landscapes of identity and anonymity in a networked world.
  • The impact and future of open source tools and resources.
  • Big Data and Networks “Just-in-time” Support for governments, industry and organizations during crises.
  • The future landscape of national and global network security, new forms of sovereignty.
  • Understanding the use, misuse and linking of broad topical datasets.
  • Real-time monitoring and social network exchanges.
  • Crowd-sourced data exchange, walled-garden networks, and Kickstarter funded hardware and software hacks.
  • Impacts of open data structures on health networks and crisis response.
  • Citizens and sensors and the changing landscape of privacy.

The conference was developed by PIIM and CTM as an extension of research begun in 2011 with several separate projects, including Parsons The New School for Design entry in the ‘Digital Media and Learning Competition’, a yearly event which focused in 2011/12 on the emerging use of digital badges and alternate credentialing systems in online learning and the potential for new ‘open badges’ credentialing to be deployed in citizen science, hacktivist, and crisis response scenarios.
PIIM & CTM: The Future of Security Conference Fall 2012
Selected panels:

For more information, visit the Future of Security website.