Category Archives: Conferences

Space and Culture conferences and workshops

Idea of Place: Midi Sprout demonstration

Midi Sprout & Plants Interactive Performance with Ipek Oskay, May 7, 11.45 am – 12.30 pm (Sunday Lunch Break) Venue:  Tory Building 1-105, Tory Building, University of Alberta Saskatchewan Drive NW Edmonton AB

Joe Patitucci (Data Garden), Panel Presentation in the session Recording, May 6, 9 am – 10:15  Venue: Tory Building Ground Floor Room #TBD, University of Alberta.

SONY DSC

Data Garden creates immersive experiences through music and technology. They connect people to wonder through interactive works that encourage exploration and discovery. Begun as a record label releasing downloadable album codes printed on plantable seed paper, Data Garden has become a worldwide public art project building community and connection to living plants through art.

Midi Sprout is a product of Data Garden which allows sound media artists to use plants and other living things to control audio and video synthesizers in real time.

Listen to plants’ music and interact with the plants and listen to the music of interaction.

You can listen to one of Joe Patitucci’s works with MIDI Sprout here

MIDI Sprout Interactive Performance: Biofeedback to Music

Ipek Oskay (University of  Alberta)

Idea of Place

May 5-7: University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada

Research on the idea of place has generated fascinating research from a broad range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, from regional, national and transnational and from intersectional, postcolonial and Indigenous perspectives.

Place is at the fore of current intellectual agendas that are witnessing place slip through the fingers of climate change, to the changing modalities of place under shifting migration patterns, to new discourses of place with promises of new walls, new freedoms, new identities, and new flows. Place speaks to the social and cultural dynamics of the virtual and the material, the transcendent and the concrete.

This conferences welcomes contemporary challenges to the idea of place, along with new ideas, and with a focus on the relationship between individuals and communities to place and history. The purpose of the conference will be to further develop place as a reponsive concept: a tool for understanding strategic sociocultural frames such as time-horizons, cycles, and imagined geography- determined political divisions. The conference will illuminate the dynamics of how places as landscapes, ecologies and cultural topologies facilitate or buffer change. There are growing public demands for, on the one hand, innovation in place-making and, on the other hand, stewardship of the environment. These concerns around places and environments are emerging as a nexus within shared preoccupations across a multicultural society, which includes a complex range of Aboriginal, settler and diasporic communities and histories.

We are especially interested in experimental place as it intersects with any one or more of the following areas: culture and identity, community and politics, event, crisis and disaster, gender and sexualities , resistance, counter-power and power, economics and juridical frameworks, food, the urban and cities, mediation, subjectivation and embodiment, cognition and sensation, code, the production of art, dance, painting, music, film, war, difference, or measurement. Any and all aspects on place will be considered.

A 250-word abstract for a 15-20 minutes presentation should be sent to theideaofplace@gmail.com by the 20th of January. Accepted speakers will be notified shortly thereafter. Please send your proposal as an attachment including a title, an abstract (of no more than 300 words) and a brief biography. If relevant, proposals can include links to give an indication of any artistic, collective or other practice.

For further information, please contact Mickey Vallee: mjvallee@gmail.com

Mickey Vallee
Associate Professor of Cultural Studies
Athabasca University, Canada
www.mickeyvallee.com

Slavoj Žižek, Yanis Varoufakis & Julian Assange @ Europe is Kaput!

Slavoj Žižek, Yanis Varoufakis & Julian Assange  at ‘Europe is Kaput!’ in London Nov. 16 2015.  What was said:  Video.   Alainah Rook has provided a transcript  of the evening at Southbank Centre.

hovat zizek varoufakis

Crucially, solidarity with Paris includes recognizing that similar experiences of bombing has been endured throughout Syria and Iraq by civilians.  Why is there no discussion of the role of the Gulf States?  Rather than repeating the tragedy of ‘us’ against ‘them’ in which countries declare that they are at ‘war’ with the Other, attention to the root causes of inequality and inhumanity are required.

War on the Other

Declaring war is the easy way out.  It panders to desires for revenge which perpetuate a cycle of violence on an international scale.  We need to confront the fear of difference and the operation of states for corporate interests rather than the rights and interests of citizens.

War on the ‘Grey Zone’

Assange points out how Clinton and Hollande are in effect consenting to Isis’ stated strategy of eliminating the ‘grey zone’ of tolerant, secular societies centred on human rights and creating a polarized, intolerant situation instead.  There is no ‘exit option’ being pursued for radicalized Muslims that would allow them to to see a more compassionate but still religious alternative.

‘You end capitalism; you end Isis’

Zizek’s closing call is to remove the competition over oil resources for which the Middle East is been an imperial playground for over a century.

Rebordering

Assange calls the Trans Pacific Partnership a “rebordering” of the economic and legal world.  A geostrategic shift such as this unites multiple, heterogenous forces in an ‘economic NATO’.  It locks in neoliberalism across continents but has not been engaged intellectually.

This is a provocative conversation for Canadians, sitting on vast energy reserves and themselves trying to grapple with these challenges: how not to be shunted aside by foreign, often state-owned, corporations; and how to move from an economy based on fluctuating ‘rent’ from the value of raw resources to ‘profit’ from the ingenuity of its people; how to courageously extend an ethics which is neither charity nor humanitarianism to welcome new refugees.

Listening to the Chair’s struggle to allow all three of his speakers to be heard, the last word to Rook for her hard work:

‘I believe it is not simply just that the content of the evening many will find either compelling or arguable, but that the success is in having the conversation at all. If there is a movement towards those who wish to unite, globally, sharing ideas and perspectives, reforms and solutions, many more conversations such as this will need to take place. But if the potential for its success is already laid out in available means: the Internet, discussion, and education – it is not unattainable.’

-Rob Shields, University of Alberta

Panel on ‘Pop-Up Economies: Placemaking, Urban Sociality and the Politics and Cultures of Transitory Public Spaces’

Panel on ‘Pop-Up Economies: Placemaking, Urban Sociality and the Politics and Cultures of Transitory Public Spaces‘ as part of the ‘Minor Culture’ conference, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, December 2015

Panel convenor

Professor Susan Luckman (University of South Australia)
Email: susan.luckman@unisa.edu.au

About the ‘Minor Culture’ Conference

The Cultural Studies Association of Australasia (CSAA) presents Minor Culture, a three day conference that creates a space for inter-disciplinary dialogues around the study of place, identity and marginality. The conference runs from 1-3 December 2015, with a ‘prefix’ postgraduate day workshop on 30 November 2015.

NOTE: Call for papers has now closed

http://culture-communication.unimelb.edu.au/events/minor-culture-conference

CFP – Public Life – Towards a politics of care: Bodies. Place. Matter.

Call for Papers: PhD Symposium, Vienna, 17th/18th April 2015 at SKuOR: Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, TUWien, Technical University of Vienna, Austria.

Submit abstracts (250 words), short statements of motivation (250 words), and your short CV (250 words) until Friday 6  March 2015 to info@skuor.tuwien.ac.at.  Interested colleagues can register until 15th March 2015 to attend the conference by emailing to info@skuor.tuwien.ac.at.

Admission: Free

A politics of care needs to be situated between bodies, place and matter.  These come together both as elements of public and political life in cities and as as the subjects of research, knowledge production, and scientific inquiry.

This conference aims to take up the complexities of public life and a new politics of care and concern situated in the commonalities, connectivities, and nuanced spatialities between bodies, place, and matter. Three panels “Bodies. Place. Matter” examine public life and the spatialisations of care and concern from the perspectives of urban, design and cultural disciplines.  A common politics of care addresses the entanglement of infrastructures, resources, and affects, alignments, contradictions, and conflicts, labour, work, and pleasure, distribution and access, local site-specificity and a globalized production of space. If public space is indeed a critical part of public life or the embodied geographies of the public sphere, then we need to rethink its inherent potentials between everyday life practices and the production and critical reflection of scientific insights/knowing.

As a joint project between the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space (info@skuor.tuwien.ac.at), Vienna University of Technology, Austria – where all three organizers worked together within the frame of the City of Vienna Visiting Professorship Programme 2014 –  the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria  and Space and Culture, University of Alberta, Canada, a PhD Symposium will take place on 17th/18th April 2015. The conference seeks to bring together activism, contemporary art, research, critical spatial practice well as urban theory, design and planning to reflect and discuss issues of public life and a spatial politics of care.

Panel 1 Bodies (Theme A, Elke Krasny)

The panel is less about what bodies are, but rather about how bodies act, what bodies can do, what bodies must do. Bodies are subjects. Bodies are subjected. Bodies produce. Bodies reproduce. Bodies depend. Bodies resist. Bodies are vulnerable. Bodies put themselves on the line. Bodies matter. Bodies support. Bodies care. The panel seeks to examine the implications and reverberations of austerity, globalization, rapid transformations, economic downturn, precarity, in/difference, in/justice, re/production, and re/distribution with regards to the spatialised implications of bodies co-producing public life and bodies co-dependent in a politics of care. The panel is dedicated to seeking new alignments, critical links, and productive transgressions between emergent practices, theories, and histories addressing bodies in public life and a politics of care. The panel welcomes contributions questioning, unpacking, and critiquing these complexities with a particular focus on feminist spatial agency in contemporary art, curating, urban research, and urban design, as well as the history and theory linking and transgressing these fields.

Keynote: Kim Trogal, Visiting Design Fellow, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield, Britain

Discussant: to be confirmed

Panel 2 Place (Theme B, Sabine Knierbein)

The debate around abstract spaces of capitalism and how they been mediated through planning and design professions and practice has been taken up again critically, both from relational perspectives on public space and from anthropological approaches to embodied spaces. This session is dedicated to unravel new urban planning, design and urban studies approaches addressing relational geographies and politics of care in these fields. Potential contributions to this panel might address issues of bodily experience and action, as well as relational pedagogies or curricular innovations to enhance education and reorganize elites through critical practice, action and reflection in and on public space. It welcomes contributions that seek to differentiate and qualify contemporary debates on the (re)emergence of collective interests, urban cultures and public claims, and strengthens a reading of forms of embodied resistance and protest as intervention and alteration in current modes of production of space and place.

Keynote Lecture: Prof. Dr. Kirsten Simonsen, Professor in Social and Cultural Geography, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change (ENSPAC), Roskilde University, Denmark

Discussant: Dr. Sandra Huning (TU Dortmund)

Panel 3 Matter (Theme C, Rob Shields)

Paradoxically, in a more globalized world where communication technologies have made interaction less dependent on bodies in a shared location, where the ‘spaces of concern’ lie either at planetary scales too large to grasp or nanotechnologies dissolve our faith in the solidity of matter, the materiality of bodies, trees and animals is still prominent. Concrete materiality anchors media and political concerns as the infrastructure of care and concern.  Political force appears dependent on bodies occupying public places.  Yet ‘what matters’ is only recognized within a context or ‘space of concern’ in which it takes on meaning. How are the empirical elements of cities, the bricks of public spaces and the flesh of bodies taken up through practices to become the pivots of ethical and political spatialisations of care and concern?

Keynote: to be confirmed

Discussant: to be confirmed

 

Schedule:

Friday, 17th April 2015 

Venue: Semperdepot Vienna, Lehargasse 6-8, 1060, Wien

9:00 Arrival and Registration

9:30 Opening

Panel I – Bodies

10.00 Bodies – Introduction Elke Krasny

10.10 Keynote Speech Kim Trogal

10:40-Panel I Bodies (3-4 Panel Participants)

12:30-Lunch break

Panel II – Place (Sabine Knierbein)

14:00- Place – Introduction by Sabine Knierbein

14:10- Keynote Speech Kirsten Simonsen

14:40-Coffee break

15:10-Panel II Place (3-4 Panel Participants)

17:00 Break

18:00 Evening Event

 

Saturday, 18th April 2015 

Venue: Semperdepot Vienna, Lehargasse 6-8, 1060, Wien

Panel III – Matter (Rob Shields)

9:00 Arrival and Coffee

9:20 Matter – Introduction Rob Shields

9:30 Keynote Speech III

10.00 Panel III Matter (3-4 Panel Participants)

12:00- Lunch break

13:30- Networking and Exchange Workshop

15:00- Coffee Break

15:30-16:30 Discussants’ Summary

Place: Mobiles Stadtlabor Karlsplatz, U-Bahn Station Resselpark, 1040 Vienna

18:00 Book Presentation „Public Space and Relational Perspectives“

Panel Debate with Dr. Sandra Huning (TU Dortmund, Germany), Prof. Kirsten Simonsen (University of Roskilde, Denmark, and others)

20.00 SKuOR Soirée (Reception)

Further information: Contact

Topological Atlas

BORDER TOPOLOGIES

In a world of rising inequalities and growing conflict borders are multiplying and becoming increasingly complex. Whilst the border as spatial metaphor is used extensively in architecture, borders as political and material realities are often overlooked. This conference explores architecture’s relationship with border geographies.

This conference was organized in November at Sheffield University’s School of Architecture by the Theory Forum  It had an architecture focus but the notion of the topological has broad relevance for understanding the “reach” of agency and of powers beyond physical boundaries.  This might be thought of as part of a wider movement in the social sciences that challenges Cartesian and Baconian notions of the empirical and of objects, dimensions and causality within the commonsensical everyday visual spatialisation that is the foundation of classical science.  The organizers ask:

How do we represent borders as topological spaces rather than the flat two-dimensional planes of standard maps? What happens when rigid political borders cross fluid ecologies? How are ecological borders acknowledged or not in planning and design?

Ecological borders not only operate at the level of the landscape or territory, but also at the level of the body. Posthumanist discourse blurs the borders of who or what we consider human. In a technologically mediated world, where does the border between the body and the environment lie?

This is reflected in the papers that headlined the conference.  To choose only two:

Celia Lury: Double Blind, Double Bind: The plane that disappeared – (a problem of first and second order observation)?

The empirical focus of this paper is ‘the disappeared plane’, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370/MAS370), the scheduled passenger flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing that lost contact with air traffic control on 8 March 2014 at 01:20 MYT, less than an hour after takeoff. The paper explores how it is possible for a plane to ‘disappear’ in an era of total planetary observation by describing the composition of a surface of visualization in terms of the boundary-making capacities of hypotheses of sight. It will be argued that, as a function of algorithmic rules of digital computation, today’s surfaces produce a patterning of vision that is cross-cut by multiple orders of observation and a whole variety of depths, intensities, neuroses, psychoses, and densities. In dialogue with Galison’s work on secrecy, the paper aims to show how the apparently edgeless surface of the locally flat surface of global planetary vision is striated not only by multiple corridors and targets, but also by blind spots, fuzzy patches and edges, resulting in the production of the recursive fractal of public-private in terms of degrees of public-ness and complex patterns of political and economic inclusion, exclusion and belonging.

Omar Nagati: Blurring boundaries, reconstituting borders: Examples from Cairo public space since 2011

Over the past three years, Cairo has been experiencing major political transformations played out on its streets and in its public space. Throughout alternating conditions of flux and restoration, disruption and reestablishment of “order” CLUSTER has been involved in a number of research and documentation projects as well as design schemes and intervention strategies to account for these changes and critically engage its spatial implications.

Over the past three years, Cairo has been experiencing major political transformations played out on its streets and in its public space. Throughout alternating conditions of flux and restoration, disruption and reestablishment of “order,” CLUSTER has been involved in a number of research and documentation projects as well as design schemes and intervention strategies to account for these changes and critically engage its spatial implications.

These projects range from the microscale of sidewalks and in‐between spaces, to the city scale of infrastructure and public services. One common theme underlying these examples is the constant interplay of contestation and negotiation between not only competing interests and stakeholders, but also competing frames of reference and normative orders, whereby borders between public and private, formal and informal, and the spatial and political are being repeatedly blurred and reconstituted.

This presentation offers a background for the broader context of the rapidly shifting political and urban landscapes in Cairo during the past few years, and discuses a few examples ranging from street vendors, downtown passageways, to informal development along the Ringroad and Ard al Liwa community Park.

 Further papers here.

-Rob Shields, University of Alberta

Space and Culture Reading and Research Group, Univ. of Alberta

This last term we have been re-reading Lefebvre’s Production of Space in the English translation and my own 1986 English précis published as a University of Sussex Urban and Regional Studies Working Paper.   We have rehearsed the critiques summarised in Spatial Questions and noted geography’s preference for applying rather than critically responding to Lefebvre’s unedited text.  Some great questions have emerged from our discussions, thinking with and from Lefebvre’s text.  What is the theory of the body implicit within this work?  Last week discussions linked up with Janine Muster’s Intermedia Research Studio exhibition on Alleyways.

Continue reading Space and Culture Reading and Research Group, Univ. of Alberta