Quite incredible line up for ‘Visual Activism’ conference, hosted by SFMOMA and IAVC, 14th-16th March:
Brava Theater Center
2781 24th Street San Francisco, CA 94110
Friday 14 March 2014, 9am-7pm; Saturday 15 March 15 2014, 9am-6pm
Join us for a symposium exploring the relationship between visual culture and activist practices.
Art can take the form of political and social activism, and activism often takes on specific, and sometimes surprising, visual forms. How is our broader visual culture shaped by activist practices that circulate in public space? How can we better understand forms of communication that take place under threat of war, revolution, or repression? What strategies can be deployed to transform our engagement with the built environment and broader ecologies? How do embedded social hegemonies, such as racism, figure in the larger efforts to engage with activism visually?
Scholars, artists, and activists address these and related questions in a series of presentations, performances, and interactive projects.
Presented by the International Association for Visual Culture in collaboration with SFMOMA, this symposium is convened by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary art, UC Berkeley; Jennifer A. González, Associate Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture, Contemporary Art, Race and Representation, UC Santa Cruz; and Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs, SFMOMA.
Visual Activism is followed on Sunday 16 March 16 by Bearing Witness, a one-day symposium that explores the political and social significance of the rapid and fundamental changes in the field of contemporary photography.
- Teddy Cruz, Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism, Visual Arts Department, UC San Diego (UCSD); Director, UCSD Center for Urban Ecologies; Co-Director, UCSD-Blum Cross-Border Initiative; and Co-Director, Civic Innovation Lab, City of San Diego
- Gayatri Gopinath, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis and Director of Asian/Pacific/American Studies, New York University
- Trinh T. Minh-ha, Filmmaker, Writer, Composer, and Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Rhetoric, UC Berkeley
- Carlos Motta, Artist
- Zanele Muholi, Artist and Activist
- Favianna Rodriguez, Artist and Agitator
Additional participants to be announced
Admission & Ticketing
Free with pre-registration.
Reading and Exhibiting Nature – International Conference, 7-9 February 2014 University of Westminster, London
The 2014 Design History Society Annual Conference
University of Oxford, Department for Continuing Education, Rewley House, 1 Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JA
2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, will be an apposite moment in which to reflect upon the relationship of design and craft to conflict. International and interdisciplinary scholarship burgeoned amidst the world conflicts of the twentieth-century and their aftermath. The construction of ‘collective memory’ proposed by Maurice Hallbwachs in The Social Frameworks of Memory 1925 and Marc Bloch’s rebuttal emerged amidst the interwar reassessment of the ‘war to end all wars’ and the ensuing internment of these scholars in the concentration camps of the Second World War. The paradigm shifting analyses of nationalism and identity produced by Benedict Anderson; Eric Hobsbawm; Paul Fussell; Pierre Nora reverberated not only with the long shadow of these world wars, but also the protest and peace movements of the 1968 and post-Vietnam War Era. The objects produced for war and peace offer a vibrant site for examining these debates. Academic scholarship has constellated particularly around ‘fine art’ media (painting, commemorative sculpture, etc.) or conflict landscape archaeology; the critical analysis of the historical evidence of design, craft and material culture is still emerging from technical or statistical data focussed publications or as its role as illustration within theoretical, literary studies and historical scholarship. The roles of digital technologies, oral history as well as site and collection management in enriching and redirecting pedagogic strategies for teaching and researching the history of design for war and peace will be another important strand. This conference would seek to bring together researchers from the many disciplines within design history to develop methodological approaches and explorations of a wider range of objects; a more diverse geography of theatres of conflicts and temporality, juxtaposing the often segregated methodologies war and peace studies.
- Propaganda: graphic design and print cultures
- Dissent: Design and Pacifist activism from posters to performance
- War and peace on screen and stage: design, performance and conflict
- Spectacle and Persuasion: Design for Military Parades and Protests Marches
- Fashion, Cloth and Conflict: uniforms; rationing; camouflage
- Signage, Insignia and Logos: Designing and Disguising Identity for War and Peace
- Intelligence and Communication: Design Technologies for Information
- Machines of War: designing aircraft; ships; tanks; weaponry and bombs
- Destruction and Reconstruction: interiors; furniture design for domestic, medical and religious spaces
- Military industrial complex and commodity culture: design production legacies and their consumption
- Constraint and Craft: Trenches, Prisoners of War, Forced-Labour and Concentration Camps
- Commemoration: Design, Craft and Collective Memory
- War and Peace in Archives, Public and Private Collections
- Oral and Material Histories of War and Peace
- New technologies and historical research methods for teaching war and peace
Individual papers are welcome; proposals of a panel of speakers addressing inter-related themes are also encouraged.
Yasar University, İzmir, Turkey
The protest movements that have recently broken out in different regions of the world including the Arab Spring, the occupy movements and the recent Gezi protests in Istanbul have brought onto the agenda the potential of creative resistance. Particularly the advent of digital technologies has enabled rapid production and widespread distribution possibilities. As such these demonstrations have proceeded with their own peculiar visual culture, icons and symbols. Protests which were set off by strong economic and political concerns were marked by the creative use of artifacts, images and spaces. The most pertinent aspects in terms of design studies were the elements of humor, play and creativity that prevailed during the struggles.
In this sense we had a striking encounter with the dissident face of design apart from its conventional conception as a marketing and styling tool. This creates an opportunity to discuss design’s relationship with the cultivation, organization and expression of social dissent. An examination of the role of design in political outcries requires questioning both established boundaries of design discipline and practice and conventional conceptions of political struggle. Questions regarding the issue include examining the representative and/or constitutive roles of design practices, the ways design addresses and transforms power relations within a given society/social order and the transformations that design thinking and practice undergo during periods of strong social dissent.
Some of the issues contributors are invited to address are as follows:
Resistance with design
- The role of design in representing dissent
- Visual languages and styles of resistance
- The subversive role of design in given power relations
- Designer as a political identity
Resistance in design
- Dialogues between conflicting design approaches
- Power relations in design praxis
- Critiques of mainstream design approaches
Resistance to design
- Anti-design approaches
- Users’ responses to/negotiations with design
- Re-appropriating design
CALL FOR PAPERS
Those who are interested in contributing papers to the ninth 5T Congress are invited to submit a title and an abstract of 250-300 words through EasyChair. The deadline for abstract submission is 31st January 2014. Registration to EasyChair is essential in order to submit abstracts. The conference language is English, therefore all abstracts, presentations and papers should be in English. For any further questions please contact Instr. Bahar Emgin.
The conference fee is 100 Euro or 270 Liras. It covers lunch, tea and coffee services throughout the event, the conference dinner (May 15) and the closing reception (May 16).
What is the future of ‘theory’ in the Art and Design School? Variously considered as Historical and Critical Studies, Critical and Contextual Studies, art and design history, visual and material culture studies, ‘theory’ has always had an ambivalent standing, and has been embraced enthusiastically and treated with suspicion in equal measure. Recent changes are exacerbating this ambivalence: new critical tendencies, practice-led research, new forms of pedagogy, new sites for disseminating (e-flux, TED talks, Art History in the Pub, etc.), and new sites of praxis, as well as the collapse in public funding, the merging of institutions, the redeployment of staff and resource, and the rationalising of provision.
This symposium will then ask: What purpose does ‘theory’ serve? What should be delivered, and how should it be delivered? Should ‘theory’ take place in the classroom or the studio? Has ‘theory’ become redundant, and if so why? Has a certain kind of philosophising replaced it? What are the consequences of these demarcative shifts for an artist, designer, or architect’s capacity to contextualise and ‘speak on behalf of’ their practice to colleagues, critics, curators, gallerists, and industry professionals? And what do such shifts mean for theorists themselves?
Ultimately, does ‘theory’ even have a future in art and design education, and if it does, what form should it take?
11am – New Voices
£5 / Free to ICA Members
Presentations by research students from the Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins, The University of Westminster and The Institute of Education.
Emily LeBarge (Royal College of Art)
Zoe Mendelson (Central Saint Martins)
Mirko Nikolic (The University of Westminster)
Steve Smith (The University of Westminster)
Annie Davey (The Institute of Education)
Judith Brocklehurst (The Institute of Education)
2pm – Symposium
To attend New Voices and the Symposium: £12 / £10 Concessions / £8 ICA Members / £5 ICA Student Members
Julie Louise Bacon (Kent)
Rebecca Fortnum (Middlesex)
Tom Holert (Berlin)
Peter Osborne (Kingston)
Adrian Rifkin (London)
Henk Slager (Utrecht)
Please join us for drinks and nibbles at Whitechapel Gallery (5:30pm onwards) on Thursday 30th January 2014 to celebrate the publication of Journal of Visual Culture’s ‘The Archives Issue’ with contributions from Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (with Tom Holert), susan pui san lok, Marquard Smith, Uriel Orlow, Chris Horrocks, Shezad Dawood (and Mark Bartlett), Sas Mays, Nina Lager Vestberg, Gary Hall, and Trevor Paglen and Juliette Kristensen.
The launch will be followed (at 7-9pm, tickets £8.50/£6.50 concessions) by ‘Autobiography and the Archive’, a screening of work by Uriel Orlow, Miranda Pennell, and Sarah Pucill exploring the archive, collective memory, and personal history, curated by Mnemoscape (Elisa Adami and Alessandra Ferrini).
The Archives Issue, edited by Juliette Kristensen & Marquard Smith
Journal of Visual Culture (Vol. 12, No.3, December 2013)
Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (in conversation with Tom Holert): The Archival Multitude
Previously ascribed the position of meta-archivist in a culture marked by remembrance and retro-vision, the contemporary artist has been relocated arguably by today’s radical distribution of archival activity in and by the practices and technologies of social media. This conversation with Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, two young audiovisual practitioners from Palestine, reveals some of the reasons behind this reconfiguration of the archival in its relation to the arts. Reflecting upon the emergence of an ‘archival multitude’ in North Africa and the Middle East during the past few years, Abbas and Abou-Rahme discuss the necessity of actively assessing the networked archives of the digital realm, thereby entailing significant shifts of their own artistic methodology.
Susan Pui San Lok: RoCH Fans and Legends (Entries)
Marquard Smith: Theses on the Philosophy of History: The Work of Research in the Age of Digital Searchability and Distributability
What is it to conduct research in the second decade of the 21st century? What is the nature (or what are the modalities) of the work that we as researchers do? What is research as a praxis? And how have recent shifts in paradigms of knowledge generation and distribution – especially around the archive and the Internet, and the Internet as archival – transformed profoundly what we as researchers do, how we do it, and in fact even our very capacity to do it? In this article, I begin from the idea of research as a praxis, and from the figure of the researcher as a locus for the discovery of knowledges by way of acts of searching and gathering. In 15 theses I engage critically with challenges raised recently for the idea of ‘history’ as a form of knowledge by our own épistémè of re-search; one whose conditions and conditions of possibility are delineated by the emergence of our late capitalist global algorithmic knowledge economy, and the Internet with its distinct operations of searchability and distributability. Because this is our present moment’s épistémè of re-search, I argue that our being in thrall of the archive has dangerous future consequences: in fact it is perilous for the very idea of the future itself as a category of historical time. Concerned by this situation and thus responding forcefully to it, in offering a few grains of dissent I will ‘look with care’ at how we might navigate our way fractiously and thus productively through such a predicament.
Uriel Orlow: Archives of Stone, Archives of Air
Chris Horrocks: Disinterring the Present: Science Fiction, Media Technology and the Ends of the Archive
This article examines the relationship between the actual and fictional archive and science fiction. It highlights the role of technological obsolescence and anachronism as it appears in the writing of JG Ballard and Jacques Derrida in order to argue that the process of media transition, destruction and disinterment are integral to representations of the imaginary archive. The author examines Derrida’s deconstruction of Freud’s archive in order to identity his use of ‘retrospective science fiction’ and underline the term’s importance in addressing media transition in relation to the archive. It then takes the archived remains of Ballard’s unfinished short story in the Vermilion Sands collection to link the phenomenology of writing technology with processes of collecting, construction, disinterment and destruction. It concludes that Derrida’s retrospective science-fiction model might be reversed to consider the archive in terms of its post-archival function.
Shezad Dawood: Piercing Brightness as an Exploration of the An-archic Imaginary (in conversation with Mark Bartlett)
Over the summer of 2011, Shezad Dawood went into production on his first feature film: Piercing Brightness, in Preston, Lancashire, in the North-West of England, after two years of research in the city, and in wider networks and archives suggested by this initial research. Interested in any case in the interplay between existing and self-created archives, for the artist the project became a way to explore the hybrid and allegorical potential of overlapping different film and video formats and different sets of meanings. As an additional layer, and based on Dawood’s interest in how artist’s film was and might be read between cinema and gallery, Dawood also made two additional ‘cuts’ of Piercing Brightness: Trailer, a 15-minute version for gallery installation (that plays with the semantics of cinema, yet altering and transferring them to the gallery), and a special 40-minute version, only to be performed with a live score by Acid Mothers Temple, or Alexander Tucker’s Decompressed Orchestra (playing with Dawood’s interest in both expanded cinema and improvised music). These approaches are further interrogated and discussed in the following dialogue between Dawood, and academic and art/film historian Mark Bartlett, who became a regular interlocutor of Dawood’s in the lead-up to and over the course of the production. Their ongoing conversation looks at the concept of an an-archive, in relation to Foucault’s citation of Borges: ‘alter-taxonomy’ in relation to the overarching schemata of Piercing Brightness, presented here as a series of image grids.
Sas Mays: Between Pandora and Diogenes: Fox Talbot and the Gender of Archives
Critical attention to Talbot has as yet failed to account with methodological consistency for a specific and significant way in which the archive figures as a symbolic object in his work and thought – for the way in which his understanding of visual and textual media acquires a kind of unity determined by the association of a series of terms: archiving, endlessness, and femininity. This article reconsiders key images and texts in Talbot’s work in order to re-contextualise his practices within the symbolic logic of the archive, and thus within a number of long-term transitions that concern the political, cultural, and technological spheres of later 19th-century British culture. Through this attention, and in the context of the rise of cultural and academic interest in technology and memory, the argument redefines existing historical and theoretical understanding of the gender politics of archive.
Nina Lager Vestberg: Ordering, Searching, Finding
The functions of an archive depend on the medium in which its holdings are recorded; the material on which they are inscribed; the location in which the materials are stored, and the system of order in which all of these elements are configured. Digital technology enables archives to be organized in new and multiple ways, according to the principles of what Weinberger calls a ‘new digital disorder’ in his 2007 book, Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. This article asks how different archival orders affect the work of research by examining experiences of searching both the analogue and digital incarnations of two important art historical collections: the Photographic Collection of the Warburg Library and the Conway Library at the Courtauld Institute of Art. It questions the idea that particular ways of ordering an archive are necessarily tied to specific media or forms of materiality.
Gary Hall: The Unbound Book: Academic Publishing in the Age of the Infinite Archive
Thanks to open access and the likes of Blurb, Issuu, Scribd, Kindle Direct Publishing, iBooks Author and AAAAARG.org, publishing a book is something nearly everyone can do today in a matter of minutes. Yet what is most interesting about electronic publishing is not so much that bringing out a book is becoming more like blogging or vanity publication, with authority and certification provided as much by an author’s reputation or readership, or the number of times a text is visited, downloaded, cited, referenced, linked to, blogged about, tagged, bookmarked, ranked, rated or ‘liked’, as it is by conventional peer-review or the prestige of the press. All of those criteria still rest upon and retain fairly conventional notions of the book, the author, publication and so on. Far more interesting is the way certain developments in electronic publishing contain at least the potential for us to perceive the book as something that is not completely fixed, stable and unified, with definite limits and clear material edges, but as liquid and living, open to being continually and collaboratively written, edited, annotated, critiqued, updated, shared, supplemented, revised, re-ordered, reiterated and reimagined. So much so that, as some have indeed suggested, perhaps soon we will no longer call such things books at all, e- or otherwise. On the other hand, perhaps ‘book’ is as good a name as any since – as examples as apparently different as the Bible and Shakespeare’s First Folio show – books, historically, have always been liquid and living: electronic publishing has simply helped make us more aware of the fact.
Trevor Paglen: The Last Pictures