The Middle Kingdom
The Middle Kingdom is a programme of seminars, a reading group and a research project that present a constellation of concepts relating to mediation. While the concept of “mediation” (Vermittlung) was to some extent considered provisional and disdained when it was invented by German idealism, in the contemporary world it is seen as an unavoidable challenge: from a performative and materialistic perspective, mediation is now the very condition of possibility for antagonism, and therefore a germ for art and critical thinking.
The Middle Kingdom is an expression that was introduced by Bruno Latour in his Nous n’avons jamais été modernes (1991) to refer to modernity’s repression of the work of mediation. “After the work of mediation, that of purification always began”, says Latour, so the moderns cleaned up the traces of miscegenation that precede the emergence of any phenomenon. Therefore, presenting the Middle Empire now involves going beyond the established epistemological limits and opening the black box of power.
A programme of seminars and reading groups as part of a research project of Oriol Fontdevila