About the Seminar

Grothendieck and a Theory of Contemporary Transgression was a month-long Seminar in New York City by Fernando Zalamea, Professor of Mathematics at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. The events were hosted by the Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute, in cooperation with The New Centre for Research and Practice, at Pratt Manhattan Campus, October 7-24 2015 (Wed/Thurs Oct 7-22, 6:30-8:30 pm; Sat Oct 24, Vitale Talk on Zalamea 4:30-5:30 pm, Final Roundtable Event 6-9 pm).

All events were videotaped, and the videos and relevant slides are all available on this website, and at that of The New Centre.

Professor Zalamea‘s lectures introduce the groundbreaking work of twentieth century French mathematician Alexander Grothendieck in relation to the work of C.S. Peirce, Novalis, P. Valéry, theories of topoi and sheaves, networks, art, and music, towards a generalized theory of transgression for mathematics, philosophy, and contemporary culture in our transmodern world.

All events were hosted by The Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute at Pratt Manhattan Campus, 144 West 14th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, near Union Square in Manhattan, New York City. The events were also be live-streamed by means of the generous assistance of The New Centre for Research and Practice. For more information please see the page for the seminar at The New Centre website here.

The Seminar met Wednesdays and Thursdays between October 7-24, 2015. Closing Events were Saturday, October 24, 4:30-9 pm, and included a talk on Zalamea’s work and its implications for contemporary culture entitled “Why Zalamea Matters: Philosophy, Mathematics, Semiosis, and Culture,” by Christopher Vitale, Seminar Organizer and Assoc. Prof. of Media Studies at Pratt Institute, and a Final Roundtable event on the manner in which the work of participants find synergy with the concerns of the Seminar (6-9pm, room 213), with Robin Mackay (publisher, editor, and author), Fabien Giraud (art historian and art collective director), Christopher Vitale (philosopher, media theorist), and Guerino Mazzola (mathematician and musicologist).

For more information on The New Centre for Philosophy and Practice, please see here, and The Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt Institute’s homepage can be found here. The Facebook page for the event can be found here. Please send any questions to Christopher Vitale of The Graduate Program in Media Studies at Pratt at cvitale@pratt.edu.

Fernando Zalamea is one of the foremost philosophers of mathematics working in the continental tradition today. He is the author of many books, most recently Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics (Sequence/Urbanomic, 2012), Peirce’s Logic of Continuity: A Mathematical and Conceptual Approach (Docent, 2012), and Ariadna y Penélope: Redes y Mixturas en el Mundo Contemporáneo (Ariadne and Penelope: Networks and Mixtures in the Contemporary World, Ediciones Nobel, 2004). He is also the Spanish editor and translator of the selected works of French philosopher of mathematics Albert Lautman.

More About Synthetic Philosophy of Contemporary Mathematics (Sequence/Urbanomic, 2012):


“This is a weighty and daring book. It proposes a new philosophy of mathematics, based on a detailed knowledge of the most recent work in advanced mathematics, and constructed in explicit contrast with the traditional analytical approach…this new synthetic and open-minded approach is no doubt worthy of attention, and philosophers who dare to make an effort will surely reap the reward.”

–Paloma Pérez-Ilzarbe, American Mathematical Society’s MathSciNet

“Zalamea is clearly on the cutting edge of theorizing potential intersections between networks, mathematics, and philosophy. Few thinkers are able to bring together insights from as diverse fields in such as exciting manner as Zalamea.”

–Christopher Vitale, Associate Professor, Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute, NY

“With high professional competence in mathematics and philosophy and written in masterful prose, Zalamea opens up a breathtaking insight into advanced contemporary mathematics by enlightening its magical power with the powerful paradigm of gestural dynamics as developed by Valéry, Merleau-Ponty and Châtelet.”

–Guerino Mazzola, Professor of Mathematical Music Theory and Creativity, School of Music, University of Minnesota