Philosophy, music and visual art: too many engagements? Too much on my plate?
At the time I finished my studies in cosmology and nuclear physics, I was also making art, totally immersed in and inspired by the decadent-romantic era of the late 19th century. I also made experimental electronic and rock music with friends and started singing in a renaissance polyphony choir. In 1999, I decided to ‘step away’ from science to philosophy and contemporary art because I got angry at science – that is: not at science itself, but about the way it is misused (and the way it allows misuse itself) by politics and the market. Some years later, a bit overwhelmed by the many things I was doing, I decided the way forward was not to choose and concentrate on one thing, but to accept that, with working on these parallel tracks, things would develop slow but overall meaningfully. I decided not to choose because I had realised that the transversal and cross-cutting between the tracks is an essential but underexplored focus as such. Moving from music and film through visual art and philosophy to philosophical activism and back is moving between atmospheres and arguments, between the aesthetics of ethics and the ethics of aesthetics. One cannot understand and critically approach rationality if not also perceived from the ethical and aesthetic perspective of emotions, the spiritual, the ambiguous and the decadent – and the other way round. One cannot understand the meanings and functions of words, reason and dialogue without exploring how to express yourself facing perplexity, speechlessness and the unpronounceable.
atmospheres < > arguments
the aesthetics of ethics > < the ethics of aesthetics
art > < philosophy
Since then, I work and travel the world as a ‘philosophical activist‘, researching and lecturing on the value of education ‘for a cosmopolitanism beyond comfort zones’, on why and how human rights should steer global politics dealing with the complex social problems we face, and on the ethics of science and technology. In 2006, I ‘officially’ established The Institute of Idle Curiosity for Elements of Seduction. That all-encompassing art project is at the same time a metaphor for this exploration of the spectrum ‘between atmospheres and arguments’ and a critical framework for my ‘activist’ activities.