Gregory Bringman
New Media Theory and Works

L'Entretien Revisited

A most intriguing notion of Diderot’s Rêve de d’Alembert or D’Alembert’s Dream is that an independently acting philosopher might construct a dialogue between known historical figures in order to rethink our History Proper. In Dream, Diderot does this with Julie de l’Espinasse, Theophile Bordeu, and Jean d’Alembert--as well as with a stand-in for himself in the Entretien or first act.

As the dialogue in the Entretien discusses how matter changes from inanimate to animate, and as computer character animation can allow artists to stage an alternate history through 3D avatars (digital philosophers), the question arises of the place of virtual matter in the traditional opposition between animate and inanimate. How are machines redefining the transformation of inanimate to animate? On the other hand, have we had such a transformation ever since humans have written histories? Furthermore, what hybrid science of the past and present does a restaged dialogue between Diderot and d’Alembert create?

I would like to propose such a dialogue written by an independent philosopher (me), that speculates on the transformation, using virtual systems created by machines, of inanimate to animate, and speculates on its product, a hybrid science. I have written a dialogue that investigates the cybernetics of the everyday life of such a transformation, historicized in an exchange between the founders of the 18th Century encyclopedia. With 3D modeling and animation, I propose to virtually “rethink” our literary record of conversations between key Enlightenment philosophers in order to reflect on the human use of machines and the cybernetic aspect of history writing, through mechanism and atomism of the 18th Century. As humans merge with machines and devices (literally and through imitation), perhaps they do in fact return to the “virtual” origins of history writing, in the ability to “rethink” mute factual structures, the subject/object technostructure of world knowledge.
  StoryBoards and Script