An Inquire into Modes of Existence
Not so long ago, Bruno Latour noted that the project which wished to see modernization spread all over the world came across unexpected opposition from the world itself. Should we give up, deny the problem, or grit our teeth and hope for a miracle? Alternatively we could inquire into what this modern project means so as to find how it can start again ‘on a new footing. Such an inquiry becomes possible if we accept that there is a huge gap between the Moderns’ experience and the accounts they give of it.
Through our website www.modesofexistence.org, we propose to carry on the inquiry that began with the hard-copy “interim report” published as a book by Découverte. First, by supplementing the original work with the lacking documentation (notes, glossary, references, visual material and articles). Then, by offering a useful digital environment that will turn readers into co-researchers. And finally, by republishing the collective output of both digital transactions and diplomatic negociations.
Chosen mediators will then invite some of commentators and co-researchers to face-to-face meetings organised around the most intricate issues the inquiry has raised, where the opposition between values and the ir respective accounts is the most pressing. The aim, both ambitious and modest, will be to propose an alternative for the term “modernize”, one which is compatible with the expression “ecologize” and which we sum up with the term “composition”. Learning how to compose the common world is what is at stake.