We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.– Pierre Simon Laplace, A Philosophical Essay on Probabilities

OfAC sits down with philosopher Roman Frigg, for a conversation on the potential and pitfalls of modelling complex systems. Professor Frigg presents a critical look at our current tools for constructing models, our epistemic limitations,  and the consequences for prediction given these constraints.

Contributor Biographies +

Roman Frigg is Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, Director of the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS), and Co-Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Time Series (CATS) at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the winner of the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He is a permanent visiting professor in the Munich Centre for Mathematical Philosophy of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, and he held visiting appointments in the Rotman Institute of Philosophy of the University of Western Ontario, the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities of the University of Utrecht, the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science of the University of Sydney, and the Department of Logic, History and Philosophy of Science of the University of Barcelona. He is associate editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, member of the steering committee of the European Philosophy of Science Association, and serves on a number of editorial and advisory boards. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of London and masters degrees both in theoretical physics and philosophy from the University of Basel, Switzerland. His research interests lie in general philosophy of science and philosophy of physics, and he has published papers on climate change, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, randomness, chaos, complexity, probability, scientific realism, computer simulations, modelling, scientific representation, reductionism, confirmation, and the relation between art and science. His current work focuses on predictability and climate change, the foundation of statistical mechanics, and the nature of scientific models and theories.
Victoria Ivanova is currently Assistant Curator for Public Programmes at Tate. She has previously worked in the human rights field and co-founded a platform for contemporary culture in Donetsk, Ukraine, where she was responsible for strategy as well as setting up and curating the institution's artist-in-residence programme. Ivanova's publications on art include Turborealism: Neither Bow nor Arrow (co-edited with Agnieszka Pindera) and 'Art’s Values: A Détente, a Grand Plié' in Parse 2: The Value of Contemporary Art.
Diann Bauer is an artist based in London. She has exhibited and screened work at galleries and institutions including, Tate Britain (UK), The New Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park (NY), Deste Foundation (GR) and the Ian Potter Museum (AUS). She has lectured on her independent work and as a member of Laboria Cuboniks, at the Tate, the ICA and Goldsmiths London, Berliner Festspiele and Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and Performing Art Forum (France) She was a member of Office for Applied Complexity (international), Fixing the Future (NY), AST (Miami), and Real Flow (NY).
Suhail Malik is Co-Director of the MFA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London, where he holds a Readership in Critical Studies, and was 2012-15 Visiting Faculty at CCS Bard, New York. Recent and forthcoming publications include, as author, On the Necessity of Art's Exit From Contemporary Art (2016) and 'The Ontology of Finance' in Collapse 8: Casino Real (2015), and, as co-editor, Realism Materialism Art (2015), Genealogies of Speculation (2016), and Postcontemporary (2016).
Joshua Johnson is a New York based artist and writer. He works across a diverse range of media including sculpture, video, online-media, installation, and research based practices. His art has been shown at Outlet Gallery, Parallel Arts Space, Louis B. James (all NY), amongst others. He has contributed writing to The Third Rail and has presented papers at Parsons School for Design and the Montreal Biennale (2014). In 2015, he founded the ongoing research and resource hub Uberty (http://uberty.org). In 2013, he organized and edited Dark Trajectories: Politics of the Outside ([NAME] Publications), a compilation of recent philosophy. He is engaged in several collaborative projects, including Office for Applied Complexity, and was a 2016 Artist’s Alliance resident artist.
Natalia Zuluaga is a curator and researcher based in Miami, Florida. She is currently the Artistic Director at ArtCenter South Florida and co-runs [NAME] Publications. Between 2007-2012 she managed the exhibition and publishing initiatives for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation. Zuluaga holds an M.A. from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (2015).
Patricia Reed is an artist and writer. Exhibitions have included those at South Kiosk (UK); Home Works 7 (LB); Witte de With (NL); Haus der Kulturen der Welt (DE); Württembergische Kunstverein (DE); Audain Gallery (CA); and 0047 (NO), amongst others. As a writer she has contributed to several books and periodicals including: Dea Ex Machina; Mould Magazine; #ACCELERATE – The Accelerationist Reader; The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism Vol. II; Intangible Economies; Cognitive Architecture; and Fillip Journal. Lectures have included those at Goldsmith’s (UK); Ashkal Alwan (LB); Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers (FR); Maerz Musik (DE); Konstfack (SE); Aleppo (BE); Gertrude Contemporary (AU); The Institute of Modern Art (AU); The Future Summit (CA); Tate Britain (UK, Speculative Tate); University of Westminster (UK); Artists Space (US); MIT (US); abc Berlin (DE); Archive Kabinett (DE); and The Winter School Middle East (KW). She sits on the board/teaches at the New Centre for Research & Practice; and is part of the Laboria Cuboniks and the Office for Applied Complexity (OfAC) working groups.


Tate Britain
Taylor Digital Studio


Mar 06, 2016


The Demons’ Butterfly Collection: Roman Frigg on Modelling Dynamic Systems