Conspiratio: 4th Issue
The previous issue of Conspiratio recalled Arendt’s claim that the world as meaningful to us —
our world — presupposes human sense experience. She argued that modern mathematical and
experimental sciences were not and could not be anchored by sense experience and that,
therefore, the world according to modern sciences cannot be our world. So-called Big Science
has only accelerated the production of insensible knowledges and of disembodying technologies
since the second world war. Plastic words, data visualizations, online avatars, medical risk
profiles, and much more, now smother sensual reality.
Illich devoted the last two decades of his life to historical studies of the body and sense
perceptions. Notable in this regard was his collaboration with Barbara Duden in what she calls
their “quest for a past somatics.” That quest was prompted by his growing awareness that self-
perception was rapidly becoming disembodied. Illich had already argued that technologies shape
self-understanding. Excessive exposure to the medical establishment reshapes perceptions of
pain and dying as surely as excessive habituation to being moved by cars and trains shape
understandings of movement and distance. By the mid-1980s, he was exercised by the intuition
that the “recasting of the ego” was not an accidental by-product but the direct target of
contemporary techno-scientific productions.
The theme for the forthcoming issue of Conspiratio is Flesh/Body. You are invited to submit
articles that explore technogenic body and self-perceptions. Is the body still the site of sense
experience? What can we know or feel if the body becomes a technogenic object? How does the
selfie relate to the self? What did prior epoch-specific bodies say of those historical moments?