Roundup: Hybrid Talks XXXV “Transience"

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The 35th Hybrid Talks were initiated to talk about the multifaceted topic of "transience". Four Speakers with different backgrounds ranging from museums to universities got together on the 9th of May and presented their interesting thoughts.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang König
presents in the evenings first talk a new thesis regarding transience in technological innovation. Disputing the until now common notion that technology is the poster-child for transient scientific knowledge and use of material resources, Professor König shows through numerous examples how technology is not simply discarded, but how the process of innovation is a constant process of incorporation of new technological elements into existing systems, and that accumulation of advanced modified systems still contain to a large extent the technologies from which they were born. In this sense, he claims, older technology is not transient, but continues to exist in manifold embedded manifestations.
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Prof. Dr. Ariane Jeßulat discusses a musical interpretation of the theme „transience“, as it appears in the form of cradle song and the Basler Dance of Death framed by the Jowaegerli of Dieter Schnebel. Professor Jeßulat describes how Schnebel intended not to focus on the transition of cradle music into a music of death and dying, rather highlights the aspect of redundancy in movement, as drawn in a connection to the sculpture of Jean Tinguely in his Mengele – Totentanz. Additionally, she presents how the poem Kannitverstan from Johann Peter Hebel embodies transience in the form of death and movement.
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In her talk on obsolescence, Prof. Dr. Melanie Jaeger-Erben presents ongoing questions and research into the consumption behavior of modern society, its risks and consequences not only for the environment and human health, but also shows how rapid consumption jeopardizes processes of modernization.  In its constant development of systems of consumption, our society continuously produces and reproduces obsolescence, she shows, and with numerous examples informs how quickly older products have to create space for newer products, and in doing so creates non-reversible and permanent damage to the eco-system. Additionally, she presents a thesis founded in depth psychology, namely the consumption of newer products as the unconscious flight from becoming socially obsolete.
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Uwe Moldrzyk
from the Museum of Natural History presents in his talk entitled "Unsterblich" (transl. immortal), time and life on earth from various perspectives within the natural history museum institution. He vibrantly illustrates and contextualizes the lifespan of the Homo sapiens relative to other species, geological formations, and ultimately the existence of the solar system itself. With the question in mind, "What remains?", Moldrzyk shows how even slowing down of life's transience is attempted in the taxidermy archives of the museum, even those processes and attempts are subject to time and decay. In his talk we are constantly reminded of the fathomless lengths of time which different life and physical forms may exist in before, ultimately, we all are subject to the same fate of perishment.
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