The Institute of Idle Curiosity for Elements of Seduction is a research institute established in 2006. It is built on the (fragmented) legacy of the historical Institut Weich-Fehler für kritische Philosophie der Psychologie that existed from 1924 until 1952.
The research programme of the institute is concerned with the way human beings deal with the uncertain, the ambiguous, the complex and the unknown in social and political interaction. The basis of the research programme is a critical theory that targets strategies of pseudo-tolerance, conformism, positivism, profitism and populism in social, cultural, scientific, economic or political contexts, but the programme essentially wants to go beyond critical analysis as such. The aim is to research alternative ‘ideological’ human interaction modes that go beyond those traditionally leaning on the proclaimed values of social, cultural and ethnic collective identity, scientific truth, free competition in the market and competition over ideologies in politics. These traditional interaction modes shape our society today, and while the dominant perception is that they are essential in the way they provide certainty and safety and the means for social recognition and self-expression as proclaimed conditions for societal and individual well-being, the argument is that they are actually stimulating pseudo-tolerance, conformism, positivism, profitism and populism themselves. As a consequence, these traditional interaction modes remain to serve the various social, cultural, scientific, economic and political non-overlapping comfort zones of power and profit that steer society today which makes them to hinder rather than facilitate dealing with our unavoidable human individual angst on the one hand and with the various social, ecological and economic malaises on the other hand.
Alternative interaction modes, the institute argues, embrace the uncertain, the ambiguous, the complex and the unknown as inherent characteristics of our co-existence and life. They stimulate and enable the individual to nurture an idle curiosity ‘at the peripheries of social cohesion’ in both private and public interactions and provide at the same time aesthetical consolation that comes with the melancholic awareness of the impossibility of pure beauty, unity and harmony, and of the inevitability of imperfection, decadence and uncertainty.
The LifeWorldTheories Labs of the Institute of Idle Curiosity for Elements of Seduction develop the theory behind these alternative human interaction modes and make it to gradually materialise in a series of texts aimed to serve internal and external reflection. Based on these insights, the other departments of the Institute explore these interaction modes through various media, ranging from soundscapes, music and film (the TRAGIC REALIST FICTION collective) over installations of physical artefacts, models and schemes (the idle-city-else labs) up to text and discursive interventions (the Academia and the PhɅAct Collective). The Arts Institute with its three satellite departments (the Happening Hotel, the Art Archives and the Mono Theatre) serve as the liaison of the Institute with the outside world and are open to the public on specific moments.
See more information on the Institute and on its departments on the website of its back office www.idle-city-else.org or check the page with contact information and instructions for visits.
The working tracks described below are continuously ongoing activities of the Institute
This set of basic writings serves as the basic philosophy on alternative human interaction modes for the various departments of the Institute.
/ an ongoing working track of the LifeWorldTheories Labs, in cooperation with The PhɅAct Collective
>> more at www.newhumanism.org (under construction).
The formulation of a vision on human rights related to intellectual capacity building in the interest of fair and effective global governance, build on a critical analysis of the (post)modern workings of democracy, science and the market and on linking the idea of intellectual solidarity with that of reflexivity as a critical stance and as a moral attitude
/ an ongoing working track of The Academia, in cooperation with The PhɅAct Collective and the Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry (University of Ghent, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy)
Critical research on the strategic alliances of science and politics in face of socio-technical and socio-economic challenges troubled by cognitive complexity and moral pluralism, applied to the case of the various societal uses of science and technology.
/ an ongoing working track of The Academia, in cooperation with The PhɅAct Collective and the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre