Digital Pharmacism manifesto

Poster variation with a statement that reads “We have traded our freedom and autonomy for a misguided sense of belonging or Heimlichkeit.”.
Poster variation with a statement that reads “Rationalisation is the spreading reign of calculability.”.
Poster variation with a statement that reads “We are being dis-individuated through this structural exploitation of our spirits.”.
Poster variation with a statement that reads “Globalisation is the toxic that spreads across the planat and destroys the culture of diversity.”.
Poster variation with a statement that reads “Through its short-circuiting of desire, the Hollywood imagination has become the dominant machinery of imagination that bypasses the mind.”.
Poster variation with a statement that reads “The human spirit itself has become proletarianised”.
Poster variation with a statement that reads “We are unlearning what we know on a planetary scale.”.
Poster variation with a statement that reads “We live in a state of perpetual insecurity as everything becomes old before we can really grasp it.”.
Title: Digital Pharmacism manifesto
Type: Print; Poster; Assignment
Type.dimensions: 841 × 594 mm
Type.printing: Full-colour process (CMYK); Single-sided
Type.edition: Limited copies F. N. (Fernando) van der Vlist; I. (Ihab) Khiri; K. (Katja) Vershinina; A. (Andrea) Fiorentini
Concept.affiliation: Graduate School of Humanities, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam F. N. (Fernando) van der Vlist
Designer.affiliation: Graduate School of Humanities, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam Dr. M. J. (Michael) Dieter; Dr. N. A. J. M. (Niels) van Doorn
Instructor.affiliation: Dept. of Media Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam
Description.note: This project was presented at the Wildcards Symposium 2013 at P.C. Hoofthuis in Amsterdam.
Description: Digital Pharmacism is a philosophical ideology and movement based on the work of Bernard Stiegler, a French philosopher who calls for a new critique of political economy and opens up the question of “what makes life worth living”. As such, we have designed a range of expressions – a manifesto document, a political speech, a series of poster, and a discussion page – that appropriate and extend a number of his key ideas through a specific rhetoric and accompanying visual language.
As Bernard Stiegler has argued in Ce qui fait que la vie vaut la peine d’être vécue: De la pharmacologie (Flammarion, 2010; trans. What Makes Life Worth Living: On Pharmacology, Polity Press, 2012), our technics are simultaneously both poison and cause of our suffering, and remedy or what makes life worth living. It is in this milieu that the question of care and of its condition arises. These ideas were summarised in a manifesto, a form of expression that is pragmatic and initiates a “philosophical call to arms”. To this end, we deployed an aesthetic strategy that could be called over-identification to provoke our audience both through rhetorics (choice of words, authority, persuasive strategy, phrasing, structure) as well as through our visual language (colour, form, composition) and modes of expression (media, format).
The poster series is thus part of a wider range of visual and theoretical reflections that express these views on contemporary political economy in the form of this political movement we dubbed digital pharmacism. We created a written manifesto that was distributed at the presentation and was designed in the form of a medical leaflet that contained a “diagnosis of society” as well as a series of “social prescriptions” (℞). This manifesto was also accompanied by a speech that was delivered at the Wildcards Symposium while speaking as “digital pharmacists” on behalf of the (fictional) Digital Pharmacists' Association. Finally, we facilitated discussion around contemporary problems on a dedicated Facebook page.
The visual language that appears throughout the poster series is meant to represent the key concept of the pharmakon, defined as both poison and remedy, or the simultaneous quality of technics as cause of our suffering and what makes life worth living. This concept marked the point of departure for our critical overhaul towards a re-formation of a healthy psychic apparatus. Each poster contains a diagnosis as well as a prescription, and their coming-together as such, that is as pharmakon, is visually translated into the restriction of solely using gradients. These gradients adhere to a systematic colour scheme: blue is used for “technics”, green for “Being”, yellow for the “human spirit”, and red for “desire or drive-based energy”. The categories were applied based on thematic prevalence, and the inherent consequence of the blending of positive/negative space into a relation of mutual dependence cannot help but remind one of the signal/noise (S/N) relation.
Printer: IVA Groep; HvA print and copying facilities Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Date.submitted: 1 Nov. 2013
Date.evaluated: 18 Nov. 2013
Language: English (United Kingdom)