Released monthly between May 2019 and February 2020, the 10 episodes of the series tackle current and anacrhonistic themes according to the seasons: politics, digital culture, arts, philosophy, sciences, economy literature.
Irony, a quintessential philosophical stylistic device, can be a devastating weapon. It can consist in doubting a proposal by pretending to adhere to it, confirming an opinion by pretending to oppose it, in short saying the opposite of what one thinks while making sure to generate on the side of the listener a decryption mechanism calling for the emergence of a critical mind. What about irony on the internet? Is the “troll” spirit, a virtual embodiment of bullying, strictly ironic? Can irony highlight an ethical or moral content?
Digital culture, being full of gadgets and parasitic protocols, seems to put marketing and entertainment at the center of human existence. Rich in stylistic illuminations, distractions and attentional pollution, digital culture is reminiscent of the aesthetic tradition known as Baroque, commonly opposed to classicism. In this context, what could correspond to the “classic”? Is contemporary culture doomed to be more and more baroque?
In the 21st century, reality seems fragmented, while the real and the virtual registers actually intermingle. But the “other worlds” are also the after-worlds so much criticised by Nietzsche; they are also the multiverse, this set of parallel universes of which some physicists speak seriously. Where are the other worlds, how do we access them and what do they tell us about our own daily reality?
Any artificial extension added to a preexisting entity can be called a prosthesis. We might think in particular of orthopaedic prostheses as extensions of an incomplete body, of computers as an extension of human memory. But where is the limit, and isn’t the idea of prosthesis based on a set of normative judgments without referent?
We speak of “soft sciences” to draw a line between the fields of research relating to numerical data acquired by logical deduction. In contrast, “hard sciences” are reputed to be reliable, and this distinction refers to a dualist tradition undermined by gender studies and other contemporary fields of research. What are soft and hard sciences today, and what social issues does this dualism reveal?
Recursion, known in literature and in art as “mise en abyme”, is a computer programming technique increasingly influencing popular culture. We also see it at work insidiously in the IT bureaucracy, which summons its user to identify themselves, and in order to do so, to prove their own existence, leading to infernal logical loops that manufacture a new form of daily suffering. There is also a recursive humor, which in this context can be beneficial. What can this concept teach us about the current world, and how can one appropriate it?
At a time when CBD has become a common consumer product, what can we learn by reflecting on cannabis? Demonized for several decades, associated with the hippie movement as well as mystical practices around the world, cannabis and its active ingredient THC are no longer taboos. What are the challenges of this trivialization of cannabis consumption? More broadly, what economic and political problems can one see at work behind both prohibition and consumption of so-called “narcotic” products?
In this special G-smas episode, the intricate relationships between science and imagination are dissected. Is mathematics by nature an artistic practice? Are the arts anything but a creative use of mathematical realities? If the subtleties of this science remain partly inaccessible to the greatest number, its applications are growingly popular.
What are the relationships between Philip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, Hollywood and Feminism? This episode is devoted to anticipatory literature. Is science fiction a boy thing? As a literary genre, science fiction has long been associated with the alleged immaturity of a readership eager to familiarize itself with the acceleration of technical and scientific evolution.
Is the Marquis de Sade a pioneer of the internet? Long hated by mainstream culture, Sade is now everywhere, so much so that, despite his own nihilistic philosophical posture, his work has been taken over by the cultural industries, for worse and for better. However, the philosophical purpose of Sade, as soliptical as it may seem, remains through the ages of an astonishing modernity. This is the topic of the first season's finale.