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Digital Pharmacology

A. Fiorentini, I. Khiri, K. Vershinina, and F. N. van der Vlist (alphabetical)

Digital Pharmacology is a philosophical call to arms – an ideology and movement based on the work of B. Stiegler, a leading French philosopher of technology. In his book Ce qui fait que la vie vaut la peine d’être vécue: De la pharmacologie (Flammarion, 2010) [English: What Makes Life Worth Living? (Polity, 2013)], Stiegler calls for a new critique of technology and political economy and in doing so addresses challenges facing ‘the ecology of the human race, the economic system, and the planet which we share with other humans and species’ (Wade, 2014). As he argues, our contemporary technics are the poison or cause of our suffering remedy, but are also key to what makes life worth living and it is in this milieu that questions of care and of its condition arise. The design of this pamphlet series is part of a larger set of artistic expressions that reflect on these critical philosophical views on contemporary political economy. There is a fictional association of digital pharmacists, a written manifesto, a political speech, a pamphlet series, and an official Facebook Page for moderated discussion. The live performance was accompanied by the manifesto, which is designed in the familiar format of the consumer medicine information – a leaflet with important information about medication included with the medicine itself. The leaflet described a ‘diagnosis of society’ and a series of ‘social prescriptions’ (commonly referred to with the symbol ℞). The visual language of the pamphlet series represents the key concept of the digital pharmakon, referring to the simultaneous quality of technics as cause of our suffering and what makes life worth living. Following Sieglers's arguments, the concept marks a point of departure for a critical overhaul towards a re-formation of a healthy psychic apparatus. Each poster contains one diagnosis and one prescription. Colour gradients are imbued with meaning: blue refers to ‘technics’, green to ‘Being’, yellow to the ‘human spirit’, and red to the ‘desire for drive-based energy’. The coming-together of these colours through gradients symbolises the simultaneity of the digital pharmakon at the heart of Stiegler's critical philosophy.

Kind Pamphlet Series
Author A. Fiorentini; I. Khiri; K. Vershinina; F. N. van der Vlist
Designer F. N. van der Vlist
Instructor M. J. Dieter; N. A. J. M. van Doorn
Publication Date 2013, November 1
Institution University of Amsterdam
Printer IVA Groep (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

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