ephemeropteræ 2017/#8 – Warwick Fox | David Horvitz

Warwick Fox. Photo: eSeL.at - Lorenz Seidler
David Horvitz. Photo: eSeL.at - Lorenz Seidler

In “Form and the Basis of Value,” Warwick Fox tries to answer the question “what is valuable, and why?”; philosophers have argued that value ultimately resides in the possession of certain kinds of powers or capacities, such as rationality (traditionally restricted to humans), or, more recently, sentience (i.e., the capacity to feel, which also includes many nonhuman animals), being alive (which includes animals as well as plants), or the capacity to maintain some kind of holistic integrity (which arguably also includes ecosystems and, more generally, the ecosphere or biosphere). Other things have then been considered to be valuable only in the secondary or derivative sense that they satisfy, are useful to, or in some other way further the ends of whatever class of entities has been deemed to be intrinsically valuable. In contrast to these approaches, Fox advances the idea that the basis of value actually consists in a certain form of organization (or structure). Of the three most basic forms of organization (“fixed cohesion,” “responsive cohesion,” and “discohesion”), one of these (responsive cohesion) can be shown to lie at the basis of the most valuable examples of their kind in whatever domain of interest we care to consider. Since everything is organized in one way or another, it follows that these ideas have an extremely wide range of applicability.

Swissshhhhhooooooouuu. David Horvitz presents When the Ocean Speaks, What Are Its Words?, a new participatory sound/listening work that has been produced for this edition of ephemeropteræ. Oooouuuuggghhhhh hhhhhwwww wwwooooshhhhhh. Horvitz has transcribed the sounds of the ocean for human voices. The composition, presented as graphic musical scores, will be distributed to the audience to perform collectively. Shhhh whhhhshhhh whhh. Try to imagine, with the vibrations in your throat and body, the sea escaping from your mouth. Try to imagine that you are becoming the ocean, that you are the ocean. Ssssssshhhhhhhhwwwwsssshhhh. In The Sea Around Us (1951), Rachel Carson describes how the salinity levels of the blood in our bodies are the same as the ocean’s, pointing to theories that locate life’s early origin’s in the sea. Life came from the sea, and at one point, was itself the liquid of the sea. Today our bodies continue to carry the sea inside us. This deep listening vocal and listening event acts as a kind of empathy exercise with the ocean. Or, if we already are the sea, reacquainting ourselves with who we are. Horvitz lives on the Pacific Coast in Los Angeles, California. The sounds are transcribed directly from beaches in California. Bwooouugggghhhshhhh ggghhhssshhh.


Warwick Fox is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Central Lancashire, UK. He has published widely in environmental philosophy, including ethical questions concerning both the natural environment and the human-constructed (or built) environment, and his books include Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism; Ethics and the Built Environment; A Theory of General Ethics: Human Relationships, Nature, and the Built Environment; and On Beautiful Days Such as This: A philosopher’s search for love, work, place, meaning, and suchlike. His work has been represented in leading anthologies and encyclopedias in environmental philosophy and he has also served on the editorial advisory boards of some of the leading journals in this area (including Environmental Ethics, Environmental Values, and Organization and Environment). 

David Horvitz uses art books, photography, performance art, glass, and mail art as mediums for his work. He is also known for his work in the virtual sphere. He was recently artist in residence at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, New York City and has recently relocated to Los Angeles. In 2015 he was named a United States Artists fellow. Horvitz has had solo exhibitions at Fotomuseum Winterthur, and tongewölbe T25, Ingolstadt; Blum & Poe, Los Angeles; New Museum, New York; Jan Mot, Brussels; Dawid Radziszewski Gallery, Warsaw; Peter Amby, Copenhagen; Art Basel; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; and Chert, Berlin. Group exhibitions include: MoMA, New York; Bielefelder Kunstverein; Kunstverein Nürnberg; Murray Guy, New York; Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen; CRAC Alsace, Altkirch; and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn.
August 25, 2017 at 7 pm
TBA21–Augarten, Scherzergasse 1A, 1020 Vienna
free admission
supported by
Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein