Structures in Becoming
Structures in Becoming
Structures in Becoming
Tieranatomisches Theater der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Campus Nord, Philippstr. 12/13, Haus 3, 10115 B...

Lecture Series


For well over three decades, the natural sciences have intensively focused on dynamic structures and developed new mathematical models and simulations for them. The research on active matter is exemplary in this examination of emergence, transformation, and transgression of complex material structures of order. The developments in the past few decades have challenged the everyday understanding of matter and structure, and profoundly altered the structural thought in various sciences. For quite some time now structure and materiality have no longer been addressed as oppositions. For example, structure is now conceived both materially and historically. And one could also add here that it is seen as becoming. On the other hand, matter is argued to be its own, analogue code.

Essential for the experimental and theoretical analysis of these material structures is the question of changes and breaks. Natural sciences understand structure and materiality on the basis of emergence, transformation and instability. Human sciences contain parallel developments, e.g. the radicalisation of classical structuralism through the problem of structural incompleteness in Jacques Lacan, the prevalence of the problematic of becoming in Gilles Deleuze, or the notion of dissipating structures in Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers.

Finally these and other perspectives shed new light on the ancient philosophies of nature and the entire history of materialism (e.g. Heraclitus’ dynamic notion of the One or Lucretius’ enigmatic signifier clinamen) as well as enabling new interpretations of phenomena, which challenge the traditional dichotomy of nature and culture (e.g. the structure of the drive). The lecture series Structures in Becoming will examine the current state of structural thought as well as its more or less distant history through discussions with leading representatives from the natural and human sciences.


First event:


Structures in Becoming 01


Mladen Dolar (University of Ljubljana)

The Frailty and the Resilience of Structure


Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)

Structure and Instability in Experimentation


25 January 2018 / 7 pm

Tieranatomisches Theater der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Campus Nord, Philippstr. 12/13, Haus 3, 10115 Berlin


Mladen Dolar is a senior research fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and a professor of philosophy at The European Graduate School (Saas-Fee, Switzerland). In 1980's he co-founded the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis and is a leading representative of the "Ljubljana School of Psychoanalysis", which is internationally known for its original combination of German idealism, psychoanalysis, structuralism and critical theory. He authored numerous scientific articles and monographs, most notably A Voice and Nothing More (MIT Press, 2005) and (with Slavoj Žižek) Opera's Second Death (Routledge, 2002).


Hans-Jörg Rheinberger has been a Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (from 1997-2013) and a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and of the Collegium Helveticum in Zürich. He is honorary professor at the Institute for Philosophy and History of Science of the Technical University Berlin, a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of the Sciences, a member of the Leopoldina, the German Academy of Natural Scientists, and a doctor honoris causa at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The main focus of his research lies in the history and epistemology of experimentation in the life sciences. He is the author of numerous publications, most notably Towards a History of Epistemic Things (Stanford UP, 1997) and An Epistemology of the Concrete (Duke UP, 2010).


An Event of the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Image Knowledge Gestaltung. Cluster of Excellence at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin


Idea and Organisation: Karin Krauthausen, Samo Tomšič, Richard Weinkamer