Lecture Performance

Ontology of the Undefinable

The ZoNE

Pushing the Boundaries Project presents the Lecture Performance „Ontology of the Undefinable“ by the ZoNE

This lecture performance marks the kick off of our public outreach activities for the research project “Pushing the Boundaries”, which is funded by the John Templeton Foundation, and hosted at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Vienna.

“Wo rüber man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.”

Wittgenstein’s famous conclusion of his Tractatus locked philosophy into the constraining cage of human language. It took more than a century for it to slowly reemerge from that cage, timidly acknowledging what we call the semantic residual: that part of the large world we live in which cannot be formalised in the sense of being properly defined. We can no longer be silent whereof we cannot speak! If we deny the existence of the semantic residual, we create the pernicious illusion that the world can be fully captured through formal models and descriptions that it can be predicted, manipulated, and controlled. This is the worst kind of hubris. It is at the heart of our current metacrisis. To save ourselves, we must embrace and realise the unspeakable. But how so? Just as we cannot see a black hole, we canno t put into words what cannot be said. Instead, this mysterious domain beyond the graspable must be circumscribed, enacted, and mapped through the effects it has on the formalizable. Traditional philosophical methods will not do justice to such a paradoxica l and quixotic quest. Poetry may hint at the residual. But wissenskunst, serious play with philosophical and scientific ideas, is what we need to map and push the boundaries of its realm.

The ZoNE is a transdisciplinary collaboration seeking to define a third space for exploration, a new conceptual and performative dimension beyond those of the arts and the sciences. The ZoNE is a meeting place, where experimenters and explorers are not defined by titles or disciplines but by what lies between their knowl edge network and personal experience. Bronwyn Lace ( Johannes Jaeger (biologist philosopher), Marcus Neustetter ( and Basak Senova, ( curator, researcher) engage in a practice led research program that explores, questions, and displaces the traditional domains of curatorial, artistic, and scientific processes. the zone.at

Pushing The Boundaries: Agency, Evolution, and The Dynamic Emergence of Expanding Possibilities is a transdisciplinary project which employs a collaborative network of biologists, complexity scientists, and philosophers to establish conceptual foundations on which we develop a novel modelling paradigm for evolving agential systems. Led by Johannes Jaeger and Tarja Knuuttila, the project is hosted at the Dept o f Philosophy of the University of Vienna, and is funded by the John Templeton Foundation. expandingpossibilities.org

Zentrum Fokus Forschung at the University of Applied Arts Vienna collaborates with the activities of the projects, facilitated by Basak Senova, who is the project’s outreach curator and a senior postdoc researcher at the university.

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