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  • Writer's picturePosthuman Art Network

Thomas Mical

Updated: May 23, 2023

Thomas Mical is Professor of Architectural Theory and has nomadically taught the history of modern thought in architecture, medieval surrealism, science fiction film theory, all sorts of diagrammatology, and curious trans-disciplinary doctoral design research methods in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, EU, China and India. He is currently writing a retrospective theory-fiction monograph titled “Schizo-Adventures in the Machinic Phylum: Landscape, Desire, Synchronicity.” Since the pandemic he has experimented with several initiatives such as Pataphysician-on-call at Living Midnight Narrative Outfit (India); as Researcher with Extraordinary Experimental Lab EEL (UK), as Adjunct Professor, National Institute of Advanced Studies – Bangalore Center for Consciousness Studies (India); teaching with the New Centre for Research and Practice (US); supervisor with the TransArt Institute for Creative Practice (Berlin); as Librarian at the Esoteric Library of the Kangra Valley (India); and continuing as book series editor for “Architectural Intelligences” with Brill (Netherlands).

Project Proposal:


Divergence is the secret engine of this research project in post-human epistemology and aesthetics. With Foreign Objekt/Posthuman Lab we will track models of creative diffusion of the entropic humanist project, specifically the necessary eclipse of the singular subject caged in a singular fixed reality in favor of contingency. Posthuman causality can enfold contingency (During), probability (Longo), “objective chance”, tipping points of phase states, recursion, feedback loops, entropy, and even the nonlinear causality underpinning synchronicity (Cambray) within divergence-processes. The exploratory post-humanism from the launch lectures direct this proposed series of expansive field operations (as a creative evolution of endless mutation and divergence) framed as process upon process.

We seek to accelerate moments of divergence within the dual modes of Post-human Aesthetics (Rosen) by accepting the case of Duchamp’s pataphysical process and deep scientism (Henderson, Duchamp in Context). Duchamp’s readymade reality of inversions, redirections, delays, and transpositions form an aesthetic divergence zone at the limit-experience of the human. Duchamp’s “Transformers” (Lyotard) are also speculative future “artmachines” (Sauvagnargues) that surface in the border zone at the edges of science.) Here we always spiral back to the pataphysical “science of exceptions”, where only the exception can originate and cascade divergent new sciences.

The infrathin smoky evidence of figures of the clinamen (Jarry) are pure divergence. We track non-holistic technological drift (Roden) through the lens of artistic practices - as new indexical distributed artefacts (Gell). The slow unhinging of scientific certainty within this ethos combines the open field of epistemological anarchism (Feyerabend) and the free and wild creation of concepts (Stengers) as precedent.

We will initiate this pursuit of multiple parallel processes of divergence across our preferred concept-totems (detailed below as “pataphysical transducers” and “subsentient spaces” leading to the novel pursuit of “alien durations”). The concept-totems are part artefact and part concept. They hold a bifurcated existence pinning mental ecologies with media ecologies. Concept-totems are like buoys at the edge of dashed territorial line that the tides and storms exceed. Concept-totems act as these drifting markers of the fugitive boundary-limits of discrete domains of post-human knowledge system, which exposes strange new and emergent epistemological-technical aesthetics.

[1] Pataphysical Transducers

The effective machinic operations of artmachines that spawn multiple possible configurations are exceptional. Pataphysical machines operate ec-centrically by crossing the strata of art and the strata of science. Transducers, after Simondon’s transduction logic, are a type of shifter-machine, metonymic devices subverting flows of desiring-machines, not the repetitive abstract-machines structuring of human agency under power as dispositif (apparatus).

To think the posthuman machinic, we consider two cinematic sci-fi examples of pataphysical transducers (as segmented time-tools distributed in spaces): the 9-part Tenet reverse-time algorithm, or the 12-part Arrival language-clairvoyance device. These are exemplary transducer machines producing alien durations.

[2] Subsentient Spaces

By tracking post-human “distributed aesthetic cognition” we can accelerate deterritorialisation of the rationalist project, leading to a divergence of consciousness, and the emergence of an alien intelligence diffusing the border of “the outside”. Space and sentience become reciprocating mechanisms. We will examine a range of post-humanist “thinking of the outside” as the valences of sentience interlaced with lived spaces … as potential sub-sentient spaces outside of human agency. Subsentient spatial events would include spontaneous visions, landscapes that dream us, wicked transparency, subtle portals, uncanny attractions, synchronicity experiences, Inception-elevators, time-skippers and reality-shifters, unexpected clairvoyance and thought insertion. Each is a divergence of the real into the post-human condition.

[3] Alien Duration

From alien phenomenology (Bogost) to alien intelligence we (re)turn to the construct of Bergson’s temporally elastic durations - to rethink duration/s under divergence-processes. We explore how duration becomes alien. Bergson’s vitalist durations give us tool to pursue multiple modes of post-humanist time: “deterministic time-reversible and contingent time-irreversible models of physical systems.” (Rosen)

Divergence becomes the choice metamodel of the displacements of the human in striated space and metrical time, as we hope to establish a comprehensive taxonomy of creative divergence-processes (of intelligence, of field conditions, of the machinic) based on permutations of the clinamen (contingency), and spawning with the rise of post-human (alien) durations.

These divergence-processes of the post-human will be demonstrated through the Divergence-Engine Project articulated as an episodic series of three theory-fictions with diagrams (O’Sullivan) – after all, philosophy decays into theory decays into science fiction.


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