e-flux lectures: Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen
Eight Theses on Covfefe
In this lecture, Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen discuss Donald Trump’s Twitter typo “covfefe” and its oft-cited relations to post-truth discourses, outrage culture, and post-postmodernism in the context of possible world theory. It is said that every proposition requires a world. A fairy tale needs a world in which there are elves or talking teapots, just as the study of physics needs to assume the existence of the Higgs boson. What worlds do “covfefe” and its correlates – such as “alternative facts,” “zero contact,” “biggest … reform” – require? What customs or properties do they need to assume—who lives there and in which circumstances, what can happen, what is necessary, what is conspicuously absent? This lecture analyzes these questions to ask: What worlds are we living in?
Robin van den Akker is Lecturer in Continental Philosophy and Cultural Studies in, and academic program coordinator of, the Humanities Department at Erasmus University College, Rotterdam. He is founding editor, alongside Timotheus Vermeulen, of the research platform Notes on Metamodernism, which maps and analyzes changes in aesthetics and culture that are symptomatic of the post-postmodern condition. As a member of the Dutch “Filosofisch Elftal” – the “national team” of philosophy – he has a regular column on current events in the daily newspaper Trouw.
Timotheus Vermeulen is Associate Professor in Media, Culture, and Society at the University of Oslo. His latest book Metamodernism: Historicity, Affect and Depth after Postmodernism, co-edited with Robin van den Akker and Alison Gibbons, was published by Rowman and Littlefield International (2017).
*Image: Tweeted just after midnight on May 31, 2017, US president Donald Trump’s cryptic typo “covfefe” had generated a delirium of jokes and speculations on Twitter before it was deleted in the morning.
Admission is free. Livestream: e-flux.com./live
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