Playing at Being Human

Between AI, animal and plant life: an artistic and philosophical experiment

A publication, in digital format, which results from a collaboration between two artists, the duo Boisseau & Westermeyer and the philosopher David Zerbib.

Boisseau & Westermeyer
ƒ in between the Levels of Organic Life
Germany/Switzerland – 4k video, 20 min 40, 2021

Boisseau & Westermeyer
The Free Man – with AI
Germany/Switzerland – 4k video, 7 min 43, 2019

David Zerbib, The human, the dog, the robot, and the water lily. A philosophical and aesthetic anthropology of the case of ƒ, 2021.

‘Without a philosophy of nature, there is no philosophy of mankind.’
Helmut Plessner, Levels of Organic Life and the Human. An Introduction to Philosophical Anthropology

Playing at Being Human proposes a videographic and philosophical rereading of the work of one of the founders of philosophical anthropology, who defined humans within the realm of the living, ultimately as organic beings. This philosophical approach is an effective theoretical tool that yields striking, original perspectives on the crisis of anthropocentrism, and which redefines the place occupied by humans and their capacities in relation to the non-human, living or technological. The piece fully activates Helmut Plessner’s thinking, but not merely by representing his concepts. It instead experiments with new hypotheses examined through a sense of play, thereby revealing the very close and symbiotic collaboration between the two artists and the philosopher. They question and enrich one another’s practices and tools in their joint elaboration of the films and text that make up this work.

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Co-published by HEAD, Geneva and NAIMA, Berlin
Design : Studio Formula
English translation : Claudio Cambon
ISBN : 978-2-37440-151-5