Symposium I
Symposium II
Exhibition / 52-Hour-Lab
Jean-Baptiste Joly
Vorbemerkungen zu
»Dealing with Fear«

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
Since When and Why Are We Afraid
of the Future?

Bertrand Bacqué, Ingrid Wildi Merino
Beetween Fear as a Spectacle
and Interiorized Fear

Vadim Bolshakov
Genetic Roots of Instinctive
and Learned Fear

David N. Bresch
Von irrationalen Ängsten
zu versicherbaren Risiken

Paula Diehl
Dealing with Fear
The Mise en Scène of the SS
in National Socialist Propaganda

Björn Franke
Violent Machines for Troubled Times

Teresa Hubbard, Beate Söntgen
Home and Fear
An Email-Conversation
after the Symposium’s Talk

Iassen Markov, Stephan Trüby
Temple of Janus 2.0
The 5 Codes_Space of Conflict

Jürgen Mayer H., Henry Urbach
Mind the Gap
A Transcript of the Symposium’s Talk

Matthias Aron Megyeri
Sweet Dreams Security® Est. 2003
Notes from an Orwellian City

Jasmeen Patheja, Hemangini Gupta
Fear as Experienced
by Women in Their Cities

Ortwin Renn, Andreas Klinke
Von Prometheus zur Nanotechnologie
Der gesellschaftliche Umgang
mit Risiken und Bedrohungen

Gabi Schillig
The Politics of Lines.
On Architecture/War/Boundaries
and the Production of Space

Gerald Siegmund, Maren Rieger
Die Another Day: Dealing with Fear

Jens Martin Skibsted, Adam Thorpe
Liberty versus Security:
Bikes versus Bombs

Helene Sommer
High over the Borders
Stories of Hummingbirds, Crying Wolves,
and the Bird’s Eye View

Yi Shin Tang
Dealing with the Fear of Abuse
of Intellectual Property Rights
in a Globalized Economy

Margarete Vöhringer
Keine Angst im Labor
Nikolaj Ladovskijs psychotechnische
Architektur im postrevolutionären Moskau

Susanne M. Winterling
Dealing with Fear: an Inside
and an Outside Perspective

Photo Gallery

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht
Since When and Why Are We Afraid of the Future?

0) In its starting point, this lecture is in agreement with the basic premise of the symposium, that is, that a profound transformation in our (Western cultures’?) relation to the future, took place between the end of World War II and our present. But the question that this lecture will ask is not the question of the (larger or smaller) “reasons”/“objects of reference” for this fear (such as demographic growth, global warming, etc.); its main thesis is to see the condition for our new, increasingly fearful relationship to the future in a transformation of the “chronotope” of the “construction of time” that surrounds us, within which the future is an unattainable position, different from the position that it used to have in the “historicist” chronotope as it had emerged and institutionalized itself during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

1) The historical argument will be introduced by a brief survey of subsequent “chronotopes” since the Middle Ages, showing how the (mostly) intellectual “price” attached to the claim (illusion?) that predicting the future has grown dramatically—up to a point where, in our present, this price is beyond reach.

2) For the reconstruction of the emergence of the “historicist chronotope” (the chronotope that ended up being so successful that Western culture tended to confuse it with “time, as such”), we go back to the early nineteenth century. We see the emergence of this chronotope as a response to (as a solution to the problem posed by) a specific consequence of the historical “emergence of the second-order observer” (what Michel Foucault called “la crise de la representation”), that is the insight that every phenomenon of reference in the world, according to the observer’s point of view, is capable of producing (of being represented by) an infinity of interpretations/renditions. The historicist chronotope that emerged as a “solution” to this problem will be described (mainly) following the theses of Reinhart Koselleck; that is, we will emphasize its implicit promise of historical prognostication largely explored by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx, and the less obvious implication that the specific “present” of this chronotope is the idea of the habitat of the Cartesian Subject (“agency”).

3) Why was the historicist chronotope so overwhelmingly successful in its institutionalization? One could argue that, in opposite ways (almost paradoxically opposite), it was capable of serving the two dominant ideologies (and economies) of the twentieth century. In very different ways, and to very different degrees, both Capitalism and Socialism (Communism) rely on our being able to anticipate the future—a possibility that, based on reflection and other intellectual work, the historicist chronotope offers. In this sense, it is significant that Fascist ideologies tried to depart from the historicist chronotope (for example the Nazis’ “Empire of A Thousand Years”).

4) We will read the debate of the late 1970s and early 1980s on the “competition” between Modernity and Post-Modernity as a symptom of a transformation (replacement) of the historicist chronotope by another chronotope, for which we have not yet found an adequate description. This transformation certainly cannot be presented as a “victory” of either the “modern” or of the “post-modern” paradigm. Rather, I see this new (and yet nameless) chronotope as being characterized by three features: a past that almost aggressively invades the present (Memoria-kultur); an unattainable future that produces fear; and, between this future and that past, an ever-broadening present. An ever-broadening present, however, that can no longer be the present of the Cartesian Subject, that is, of the “rationally choosing” Subject.

5) While we will largely refrain from postulating “historical reasons” for the transformations and reconstructions of time that we are trying to trace, the lecture will conclude with one speculation on this level. Could we say that, rather than reacting to “objective” transformations and points of reference in our environment (once again: demography, global warming, etc.), the transformation of our chronotope is a consequence of another transformation, a transformation of the dominant human self-reference that, under conditions of latency, has been taking place since the end of the Second World War? It would be a new type of human self-reference, which, after the first experience of mass destruction on a new scale, could no longer afford to remain purely Cartesian (that is purely “spiritual”). If, then, our dominant figure of self-reference today is decreasingly Cartesian, could this at least partly explain why our construction of time—and within our new construction of time: the way we experience the future—has undergone such a profound transformation