Research Track

Biological (Technologies( )


Cary Wolfe, Stuart Kauffman, Adam Nocek, Sha Xin Wei, Erin Espelie, Gaymon Bennett, Helga Wild-Damiris, Phillip Thurtle, Michael Epperson, Giuseppe Longo




Ontogenetics Process Group (OPG)

This research group is animated by the growing consensus in the sciences and the humanities that the living world in all its modes—biological, semiotic, economic, affective, social, etc.—escapes finite schema of description.

Based on a deep and sustained engagement with biological, physical, and computational sciences, operating in conjunction with anthropological, philosophical, and artistic modes of inquiry, the researchers believe that the reigning paradigms of complexity science cannot adequately capture the processual and emergent unfolding of the living world. Rather than building a new cage to trap these multiple and entangled species of process and emergence, we’re feeling our way toward an unnamed scienza nuova that traverses a wide range of practices sharing certain features: non-reductiveness, extra-algorithmic experience, non-probabilistic randomness, and processuality. In this spirit, we aim to develop experimental conceptual frames that exceed complexity and that can be marshaled to have a profound and lasting impact on how we engage problems in areas as diverse as biotechnology, economics, law, medicine, religion and spirituality, urban development, biotechnology, surveillance and security.

(Past Events)

Santa Fe, New Mexico, April 19-23, 2017

Phoenix, Arizona, November 13-15, 2017

Santa Fe, New Mexico, February 13-18, 2018

Amsterdam, Netherlands, September 6-7, 2018
(hosted by the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Study)

Toronto, Canada, November, 15-18, 2018 (convened at the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts)

(Forthcominc publication)

Special Issue of Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, “Ontogenesis Beyond Complexity,” vol. 25, no. 3 (June 2020). Edited by Cary Wolfe and Adam Nocek.

Table of Contents:

1. Cary Wolfe and Adam Nocek, “Introduction”

2. Stuart Kauffman, “Eros and Logos”

3. Adam Nocek, “The Epimedial Landscape”

4. Gaymon Bennett, “The Digital Sublime: Algorithmic Binds in a Living Foundry”

5. Phillip Thurtle, “Alienated Life: Toward a Goth Theory of Biology”

6. Sha Xin Wei, “The Square Root of Negative One is Imaginary”

7. Helga Wild, “The Singularity Has Come and Gone: The Beginning of Organization”

8. Erin Espelie, “In-Kind Disruptions: Circadian Rhythms and Necessary Jolts in Eco-Cinema”

9. Michael Epperson, “Relational Realism and the Ontogenetic Universe: Subject,Object, and Ontological Process in Quantum Mechanics”

10. Giuseppe Longo, “Scientific Thought and Absolutes: For an Image of the Sciences, Between Computing and Biology”

11. Cary Wolfe, “What `The Animal’ Can Teach `The Anthropocene’”

12. “Ontogenesis Beyond Complexity: Conversations”

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