Christopher Vitale

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Hi everyone, my name is Chris, I'm ass't professor in the Critical and Visual Studies Program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

While my Ph.D.'s in comparative literature from NYU (defended in september!), philosophy has always been my true passion, with the study of the visual image a close second. Currently, I'm about halfway through writing a book called 'Networkologies: Philosophy, Politics, and Art in a Hyperconnected Age.' While there've been a lot of books on networks recently, there hasn't been a true philosophy of complex networks, at least, not like what I'm working on - one part Whiteheadian metaphysics, one part Deleuzian rhizomatics, and one part soft-computing, distributed representation, parallel processing, non-euclidean geometries, and lots of cross-disciplinarity. Grew up in New York City, studied in upstate New York, Berkeley, Prague, NYU. Live in Brooklyn with a cranky roomate and very naughty puppy. Have a penchant for ice-cream, anything green, and Futurama.

Interests- Semiotics, visual/media studies, theories of language, psychoanalysis/object-relations theories, networks, and things I'm not supposed to be interested in. Recently gave a talk called 'Saussure on Soft-Serve: Or, Why Semiotics Needs to Rethink the Binary Opposition', and I'm just finishing teaching a class called 'Theories of Networks' - everything from the economy as complex adaptive system to algorithmic art. Fun stuff.

Expertise- Probably very different than most in the group. If you need an expert in poststructuralist theory of almost any sort, history of western philosophy, and a variety of modes of cultural critique, well, I'm your guy. Really good at explaining complex theory/math/sci to students scared of the stuff. Playing multiple musical instruments. Pretty good at recursivity in general. A philosopher is a machine for turning coffee into theories, right?

Hope to get out of CSS- Well, I've read just about everything I can get my hands on as regards complex networks (well, so long as its not ALL math), but one of the disadvantages of doing real interdisciplinary work is that you go totally beyond your training. While I've given talks on recent work in front of people outside the humanities, writing a book is a whole different story. I want to make sure I really know what I'm talking about in my bones. Santa Fe is where this field was basically invented. I want to come away with the knowledge I have in this area truly solidified, and to gain a real facility with the materials at a whole new level. Also, I can't wait to hear what a whole bunch of truly interdisciplinary folks from other fields do with these ideas when put in a room together. Synnergistic thinking is a wonderful thing.