Contemporary Poetry and Politics

Dr Jasper Bernes, Stanford University 
Belle van Zuylenzaal, University Library Singel 
Saturday, Sept. 30th: 2-3pm 

The ASCA is pleased to announce a special event this Saturday, September 30th: “Contemporary Poetry and Politics” with Dr. Jasper Bernes from Stanford University. Join us for a one-hour poetry reading and Q&A discussion from 2-3pm in the Belle van Zuylenzaal, University Library.

Jasper Bernes is author of a scholarly book, The Work of Art in the Age of Deindustrialization (Stanford University Press, 2017), and two volumes of poetry: Starsdown (2007), and We Are Nothing and So Can You (2015). Excerpts from We Are Nothing and So Can You have appeared in Lana Turner, The American Reader, the Capilano Review, Hi Zero, Prelude, and elsewhere. His writing on contemporary politics and political economy can be found in venues such as The New Inquiry, Los Angeles Review of Books, Endnotes, and Viewpoint.

He is presently at work on a book about revolution in the 21st century. Together with Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr, he edits Commune Editions.



Oct 13 | Performing Robots

Transmission in Motion presents: Performing Robots

13 October, 16.30-18.00h at Het Huis (Boorstraat 107, Utrecht)

“All the world’s a stage”, Shakespeare famously claimed, “and all the men and women merely players”. Today, we witness new species of players entering the world-stage as social robots are becoming increasingly part of the performance of everyday life and work. Social robots are robots that perform in situations with humans and often in interaction with them. They present challenges to their developers that are not only technical but also about what might be called the dramaturgy and design of the robot as social agent: how do social robots address their human co-performers and afford interaction with them, what scripts do they follow, how to design and choreograph their appearance and movements? Several international robot developers and researchers point to the performing arts as inspiration, model, and test-case for the development of robots and human-robot interaction. The research group Transmission in Motion (Utrecht University) investigates what the performing arts might have to offer to the development of social robots and has invited four international guests to present their projects and ideas. These are: Ruairi Glynn (Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London), Elizabeth Jochum (Aalborg University), Petra Gemeinboeck (University of New South Wales) and Rob Saunders (Falmouth University/University of Sydney).

Join us on October 13 (16.30-18.00h) in Het Huis, Boorstraat 107, Utrecht (

Entrance is free. Please send an email to Dennis Vermeulen:

For more information, contact Maaike Bleeker []

Ruairi Glynn, installation artist and director of the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He has exhibited internationally with recent shows at the Centre Pompidou Paris, the National Art Museum of China Beijing, and the Tate Modern, London. His interactive installations reflect on rapid developments in robotics, material science and computational technologies exploring the emerging aesthetics of behavior permeating across art, architecture and design.

Elizabeth Jochum, Assistant Professor of Art and Technology at Aalborg University. Her research focuses on the intersection of robotics, art and performance. She is the co-founder of the Robot Culture and Aesthetics (ROCA) and a member of Aalborg U Robotics. She has worked as an actor, director, dramaturge and puppeteer. Dr Jochum has directed experimental Kabuki dance dramas and designed choreography for robotic marionettes. Her forthcoming book Robots on Stage proposes an aesthetics for autonomous and semi-autonomous machines.

Dr. Petra Gemeinboeck, Senior Lecturer in Interactive Media Arts at UNSW | Art & Design, Sydney. Her creative robotics practice explores our entanglements with machines and makes tangible the vulnerabilities and politics involved. She currently leads an ARC Discovery Project, which investigates the potential of movement, and dance in particular, for reimagining how machines look, learn and affect us. Petra publishes widely on nonhuman agency, machine creativity, and issues of embodiment. Her artworks have been exhibited internationally, including at Ars Electronica, International Triennial of New Media Art at NAMOC, Beijing, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT), Liverpool, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, ICC Tokyo, and MCA Chicago.

Dr. Rob Saunders, Associate Professor in Computational Creativity at The Games Academy in Falmouth University and Senior Research Fellow at the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney. Rob’s research centres around creative application of computing and the computational modelling of creativity. Using techniques from machine learning, robotics and surveillance he has explored the role of curiosity in creative processes and developed models of creative systems at individual, social and cultural levels. Rob works with artists and designers across a range of disciplines to support and engage in the creative application of computing and has applied his research in the development of design customisation systems, smart environments, interactive installations and robotic artworks.


Oct 5 and 7 | Comics and Psychoanalysis

Het Dolhuys, Haarlem, October 5th and 7th

On October 5th and 7th Museum Het Dolhuys (Haarlem) and the Dutch Psychoanalytic Association will host a two-day event on the relation between psychoanalysis and comics. Comic book artists Joost Swarte, Aimee de Jongh, Peter de Wit and Marcel Ruijters will exchange ideas about dreams, memories and childhood with psychoanalysts Hetty Rotoll, Simone Logtenberg and Elke Teeuwen, journalist Joost Pollmann (de Volkskrant) and academics Rik Sanders (UvA), Erin La Cour (VU) and Yasco Horsman (Leiden University).

On the evening of October 5th Yasco Horsman (Film and Literary Studies, Leiden University) will speak about comic families and children, infantile comic pleasures and comic nostalgia; psychoanalytic Sacha Marlisa will speak about the role of childhood in psychoanalysis, and comic artist Joost Swarte will discuss his first comic loves and disclose his unconscious comic memories to Yasco, Sacha and the audience.

October 7th a full day of activities are organized in Het Dolhuys, ranging from workshops on psychoanalytic drawing to mini-lectures on psychoanalysis and two roundtable discussions in which artists Marcel Ruijters (Jerhorinus, het 9de Eiland) and Aimee de Jongh (Snippers, Terugkeer van de Wespendief) speak with analysts Teuwen & Rotoll and comic scholars Erin La Cour and Rik Sanders. The day will conclude with a conversation between psychoanalyst Simone Logtenberg and comic artist Peter de Wit (Sigmund) on humor and psychoanalysis.

All are welcome. For more information & tickets, check:  en

Nuclear Waste and Deep Time

Screening and Study Group
+CLUE and the Environmental Humanities Center
VU Amsterdam

Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou (CRAL, EHESS):
Anna Volkmar (LUCAS, Leiden University):

Short film screening
Friday 3 November 2017, 15:00-16:00hrs
Main Building, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Julian Charrière, 2014, 15 minutes

The film documents large planes of wilderness in Kazakhstan, where the Soviet Union undertook their first nuclear tests (1949-1989). Known as the Semipalatinsk-21 Polygon, the area is heavily radioactive and is linked to continuous health issues in the neighbouring populations. ‘Both politically and aesthetically, Semipalatinsk appears as a post-apocalyptic and violently melancholic site: a shrine for a ruined future’. (Text by Amelia Barikin)

Nuclear Waste (Yaderni wydhody)
Myroslav Slaboshpitskyy, 2012, 23 minutes

Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, Nuclear Waste, Drama, 23’, 2012: Sergiy and Sveta live in Chernobyl. Sergey is a truck-driver at a radioactive wastes utilization plant. Sveta works at a radioactive decontamination laundry. Their work and their life are dictated by one unchangeable rhythm with clockwork precision. But what sets this mechanism in motion – day by day. (Text by Kristof Hoornaert)

Study Group
Friday 3 November 2017, 16:00-17:00hrs
Main Building, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

This workshop comes as part of the Nuclear Waste Week s at the EHC in Amsterdam and aims to bring together PhD students from various disciplines who share an interest in deep time and/or
nuclear waste. While the term ‘deep time’ has been introduced by John McPhee as recently as 1981, the concept was developed more than two centuries ago in early modern British and Scottish scholarship and has undergone several transformations since (see for example Paolo Rossi 1984 and Martin J.S. Rudwick 1995, 2002). Back in the 18th century, the discovery that the earth must be much older than previously thought challenged religious conceptions of time. In the last couple of years, the concept of deep time has gained unprecedented momentum with the Anthropocene debate that was kicked loose in the year 2000 by nobel laureate Paul Crutzen and his colleague Eugene Stoermer. The Anthropocene is the most recent proposed geological time period superseding the Holocene. With it, terms like the Anthropozoic (Antonio Stoppani, 1873), Psychozoic (Joseph Le Conte, 1879), and the Noosphere (Édouard Le Roy, 1927) that seeked to denote the far reaching impact of collective human activity on Earth, finally seemed to resonate with the vastness of geologic time, adding, moreover, a distinctly ecological edge to the debate.

Keeping in mind the many problems this term raises (and which have been addressed in previous sessions at the EHC ), the Anthropocene urges us to think beyond human timescales without losing sight of the human legacy within them. One of the practices to which this kind of understanding is pertinent is the long-term storage of radioactive waste. Thus, high level radioactive waste and its inconceivable aftermath brings us into proximity with deep time and urges us to find long-term storage solutions for the countless generations to come. In this regard, not only it points to a deep past (the Uranium Oxide that is used to fuel reactors is mined from deposits as old as the Earth) but importantly poses the challenge of engaging with a deep future , that is, the millennia to come in which waste elements like plutonium pose a threat to the living environment. It is a tricky challenge, not least because, leaving the practicalities aside for a moment, it is paradoxically much easier to imagine eternity than the ‘very large finitudes’ (Timothy Morton) of ten or even a hundred thousand years that these elements entail.

In this workshop, we want to engage with the practical challenges these vast timeframes pose and speculate on nuclear waste’s aesthetico-political dimensions through a corpus scientific and cultural accounts. As this is a rather specialised subject, we find it immensely important to connect to those who work in the field and share ideas, case studies, experiences and cookies. Our aim is thus to establish a small, but international community of peers to strengthen, widen, and deepen each other’s work. We, the organisers of this workshop, both come from the Humanities and work on contemporary art and philosophy, but we are open to other disciplines as this is a fairly interdisciplinary subject matter. If you want to be part please consider joining us in Amsterdam :

We scheduled a kick-off meeting for November 3, 2017, to close our event series, the Nuclear Waste Weeks, at the Environmental Humanities Center in Amsterdam. It will consist of two parts:
the screening of two short films at 15:00 and a 1+ hour discussion of selected reading material will take place starting at 16:00 (texts that will be distributed beforehand). The readings are supposed to stimulate discussion and offer an entry point into our respective research projects. The meeting will be informal and, if there is a shared interest, the first in a series to discuss not only texts, but also offer a platform to present one’s own research.

The workshop is primarily geared towards PhD students, but ResMA students and (early career) researchers are welcome as well. If you wish to participate, please drop us a line to and .