Transmission in Motion Seminar 2018-19

Experiment/Experience

“Have we forgotten experience?” wonders Scott Lash (Experience, 2018). If this is so, we are currently witnessing a comeback with a vengeance. New forms of research and communication explore and experiment with various dimensions of experience. Art and science meet in experimental approaches that foreground sensation, substance and practice. Technological developments “expand the sensible” (Mark Hansen) beyond human experience, challenging the centrality of human experience and raising the question of the relationship between human experience, technological agents and data. Critical thinkers  from a diversity of backgrounds (including media, archaeology, new materialism, post-phenomenology, radical empiricism, human geography and embodied cognition) unpack aspects of the intimate relationship between experience and knowing and point to meaning as material practice of experience.

The Transmission in Motion Seminar is a more-or-less monthly gathering of researchers and students from across disciplines. To participate, please send an email to TIM@UU.nl to receive additional information and readings. RMA Students can acquire 3 EC (awarded by NICA) if they attend all meetings and write blogposts after each meeting. Please register at TIM@UU.nl. For more information, contact Maaike Bleeker at m.a.bleeker@uu.nl.

Seminar program TiM seminar 2018-19

25 October 2018 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Derek McCormack (Oxford University) “Experience/experiment and atmospheric things.”
Place: Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

22 November 2018 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Sarah Bay Cheng (Bowdoin College) “Everybody’s Historiography: When Museums Play Digital Games.”
Place: Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201), Utrecht.

13 December 2018 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Nathalie Sinclair (Simon Fraser University): “Multiplication as Experience: Whitehead, aesthetics and gesture-based, touchscreen technology.”
Place: Grote Zaal, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht.

23 January 2019 (15-17h): Prof. dr. Tim Ingold (University of Aberdeen) title tba.
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

28 February 2019 (15-17h): Dr. Adam Nocek (Arizona State University): “Designing the Dispositif: Between the Art and Reason of Government.”
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

28 March 2019 (15-17h): Dr. Arun Saldanha (University of Minnesota): “The Stratification of Cyberspace: from Experience to Waste”
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

2 May 2019 (15-17h): Dr. Eef Masson (University of Amsterdam): “The Sensory Moving Image.”
15-17h, Parnassos Bar, Kruisstraat 201, Utrecht.

 

 

6 June 2019, TBA

Transmission in Motion is a hybrid research community that brings researchers from across disciplines together with artists and other partners from outside the academy. Transmission in Motion provides a platform for seminars, meetings and presentations, and mediates the development of partnerships and research projects. https://transmissioninmotion.sites.uu.nl/

Urban Crisis-Scapes: On Walks and Ruins

Workshop organized by Eva Fotiadi and Maria Boletsi, in collaboration with Ipek Celik (Koç University), Amsterdam, Belle van Zuylenzaal, 16-17 May 2019

The workshop will focus on city-scapes that have recently been radically reconfigured through pervasive frameworks of crisis – financial, political, humanitarian etc. We want to explore alternative experiences of urban space, new artistic imaginaries, and innovative cultural initiatives emerging from such urban crisis-scapes by centering on two distinct but interrelated thematic lines:

Walks (day one)
Initiatives that use walking as a medium – springing from art projects to architectural research and crisis-tourism – have become increasingly popular. Some walks aim to observe and reflect upon the transformed urban space: vacant housing and commercial spaces, the new homeless, waves of migrants and refugees or the graffiti on derelict buildings. Others show interest in forgotten layers of a city’s turbulent history, which re-emerge through such initiatives and assume new meanings and affective functions in a turbulent present. In other cases – as for example in Athens – guided tours are organized by homeless people or by theatre makers, who set up performative walks aiming to reconcile citizens with the new poor and with districts considered dangerous or ‘migrant ghettos.’ Many of these walks and tours could be considered as crisis voyeurism or as unsolicited quasi-anthropological inquiries that produce (new) social and cultural alterities. However, some of them can also be seen as attempts by locals to make sense of their own situation beyond dominant and over-mediatized crisis narratives. When artists adapt ethnographic methodologies in such initiatives, are they inescapably trapped in a “realist assumption” about the “Other” or in their own “presumptions of ethnographic authority” (Hal Foster)? Can such initiatives contribute to opening up alternative futures for cities in crisis and their inhabitants?

Walking initiatives often focus on sites and spaces ‘in ruin,’ which form the workshop’s second subtheme:

Ruins (day two)
Recent crisis-frameworks have produced new material ruins and transformed the functions of past ruins. The workshop will explore the new meanings and the sociopolitical and affective functions of ruins in crisis-scapes, as well as figurations of such ruins in cinema and art: ruins that range from monuments or antiquities to vestiges of disaffected zones such as derelict factories, deserted buildings, and abandoned construction sites. Images of ruins often exemplify the material consequences of crisis. But ruins are not only markers of decay and desolation. They often become the ‘canvas’ for creative projects and artistic interventions (e.g., through street art) that mobilize ruins to articulate alternative modes of being in a present of crisis and of envisioning the future. Ruins may thus be involved in subaltern narratives, suppressed histories or radical imaginaries that challenge crisis as “judgment of failure.” But they can also become commercialized and fetishized (e.g., in crisis-tourism or ‘ruin porn’) or revamped as fashionable objects. In cities with a dominant presence of ancient and historical ruins – such as Athens or Istanbul – new ruins interact with ruins of the past, reconfiguring the traditional functions of the latter. New artistic and cinematic languages seek innovative ways to explore the relation of material ruins and precarious subjects afflicted by crisis. What new meanings and operations do ancient and modern ruins assume against the backdrop of pervasive crises? Can ruins and their cinematic, literary or artistic figurations contribute to alternative narratives of modernity, the nation, crisis and futurity?

By thinking walks and ruins together, the workshop will address the following topics, among others:

  • Walking as methodology in artistic, architectural, urbanist and other research
  • Revisiting “the artist as ethnographer” discourse
  • Tours around ancient, modern and contemporary historic sites and ruins and spaces of daily life; graffiti tours; “torture and freedom tours” (Documenta14 in collaboration with ASKI, Athens)
  • New significations and functions of ancient and modern ruins against the backdrop of crises
  • Literary, photographic, cinematic and other representations of ruins and narratives of walking within crisis-scapes
  • Alternative uses of ruined, derelict, empty spaces and their relation to subjects who squat, reside and interact with such spaces.
  • New collectivities and social practices emerging from walking and engaging with ruins
  • The role of ruins in shaping alternative narratives of modernity, the nation, crisis and futurity.
  • The (ir)relevance of established theoretical approaches to walking as a cultural practice, from Benjamin’s flâneur to Michel de Certeau’s tactical consumer

To Apply:

RMA and PhD students who wish to attend the workshop may apply by sending an email to NICA (nica-fgw @ uva.nl) by February 1, 2019, with the subject line: Urban Crisis-Scapes: On Walks and Ruins. The workshop will be limited to 25 participants.

Credits:

RMA students and PhD candidates can earn 1 ECT for their participation in the workshop.

Credit requirements: Participation in a preparatory session of the ASCA research group Crisis, Critique and Futurity (15:00-17:00 Friday afternoon, date and room t.b.a.) and preparation of key readings common for preparatory research group session and workshop by selected workshop speakers (confirmed: Prof. Dimitris Papanikolaou, Oxford; Prof. Dimitris Plantzos, Athens; Prof. Kathrin Wildner, Hamburg); attendance of both workshop days.

ASCA Workshop 2019: Realities and Fantasies: Relations, Transformations, Discontinuities

ASCA Workshop 2019:

Realities and Fantasies: Relations, Transformations, Discontinuities

10-12 April 2019, University of Amsterdam

Organized by Divya Nadkarni, Alex Thinius, and Nadia de Vries

Keynote speakers: Jonathan Culler (Cornell University), Annabelle Dufourcq (RU Nijmegen), Nkiru Nzegwu (SUNY Binghamton), Susanna Paasonen (University of Turku).

“Fantasy is precisely what reality can be confused with. It is through fantasy that our conviction of the worth of reality is established; to forgo our fantasies would be to forgo our touch with the world.” (Stanley Cavell)

The world of fantasy often serves as an escape from reality, its limitations, and its many social, economic, and corporeal restrictions. Reality, in turn, is often desired amidst the delusions of the fantastic. However, the two are not always separate. For instance, while social (trans)formations increasingly look like fantasy in more than one sense, a serious turn towards fantasy seems to be ambivalent. A central notion in earlier psycho-analytical culture critique, after being hyped in Fantastic, Futurist and Utopist literature, today, fantasy as a political means of critique seems to have become a delusionary distraction. Yet, fantasy also seems to remain a booming aspect of reality. Creative forms of protest, ideas of aesthetic resistances and critiques are proliferating, and fantasies fomented by magical-realist literatures, blockbusters, serials, pornography, and gaming in the creative industries and digital media seem to be increasingly intertwined with reality.

Some of the conceptual sites where reality and fantasy meet are idealizations, utopias, phantasms, self-deceptions, anxieties, self-fulfilling prophecies, and implicit biases realizing or enacting themselves in reality; fantasies made real and realities made fantasy. The boundaries between what is desired or feared and what is lived, what is oneiric and what is substantial, what is true, and what is realistic and unreachable are often blurred.

In critical and cultural theory, a continuous ambivalent desire for reality appears, for example, in the discussions of New and Speculative Realisms (Gabriel, Meillassoux), Agential Realism (Barad), political and metaphysical Non-Ideal Theory, Critical Race Realism, or Gender Neo-Realism (Mills, Alcoff, Haslanger, Mikkola), in the Ontological Turn in anthropology (Viveiros de Castro, Venkatesan et al., Holbraad et al.), and in the turn towards Authenticity and New Sincerity in contemporary literary theory (Rutten, Vaessens and Van Dijk, Trilling).

In this workshop, we take on the continuous and renewed interest in the real in its relation to fantasy, illusion, and imagination. Whereas typically, debates on realism are focused on its contrast to idealism or nominalism, we ask: What are the contemporary relations between realities and fantasies? How do reality and fantasy speak to intellectual imaginings and possible futures? What role can or should fictions, fantasies, and idealizations play in addressing change from a social, political, individual, and metaphysical perspective? We are interested in presentations that take on the ways in which reality and fantasy relate, how they may contrast, and how, and under what conditions, the one may transform into the other.

The workshop addresses the kinship between realities and fantasies in the following three respects: relations, transformations, and discontinuities.

Relations

How do realities and fantasies relate, and how are their relations structured? Does one shape the other, or are they shaped by each other? Is one more valuable than the other? What kinds of relations do they enable? What are the relations between fantasies and the realities they shape, affect, create, envision, or hide? The way we seek to influence, manipulate, change or defy our present pertains to what kinds of relations we envision between both ourselves, as humans, as well as non-human beings. This, in turn, asks for the conditions that make relations possible or impossible, satisfactory or unsatisfactory, utilitarian or utopian, and for the hierarchies, power structures, intentions and capacities that enable and delimit ways of relating.

Moreover, we are interested in examining conceptual, normative, empirical, literary and artistic ways to address the relations between and within fantasies and realities: how are social bonds and interpersonal relations constructed and what are the interrelationships between power, fantasy, actors, action, and forms of socio-political embodiment?

Transformations

We are interested in how transformations work, in socio-cultural, political, theoretical and philosophical terms, and in the role that realities and fantasies play in them. What are the transformations within and between realities and fantasies? How does (or can) the one transform into the other? What are the characteristics of the real and the fantastical, and what concrete entanglements, interactions, and interdependencies exist between them?

Transformations are happening everywhere, all the time. We can, for example, see the transformative effects of gentrification, of modernity, of reproduction, of colonialism, of aging, of war, of violence, of translation, and of censorship. We can also see how resistance movements and certain social practices actively transform the ways in which we embody and experience. However, insofar as processes and acts of transformation are about changing and giving rise to new forms, they also seem to imply moments of direction and division, exclusion, or rejection in order to define, group, or associate what can be meaningful. We welcome presentations that analyze (both descriptively and normatively) such transformations, or think about how to approach transformative action, and confront the in-between spaces, possible exclusions and hierarchies wrought by envisioned social, political, and cultural transformations.

Dis/continuities

What continuities and discontinuities are there between realities and fantasies? How would rupturing the patterns of dominance (or the sundering of continuity) become a means of effective transformation? How can (un)productive collisions between reality and fantasy foster socio-political, artistic, and/or cultural change? How do fantasies of change and discontinuity hide or produce real continuities? And how can existing continuities between reality and fantasy be rethought?

We are interested in presentations that (re)consider the role of existing structures, practices, traditions, and forms in likely, potential, or imagined transformations. From the perspective of dis/continuity, we are particularly interested in the question of what constitutes a continuum (for example, in a given tradition) and how such continuums can be either broken or sustained.

We welcome papers from the fields of literary studies, media studies, philosophy, arts, anthropology, sociology, and political theory that speak to, but are not limited to:

  • The conceptual, normative, de facto, and/or imagined interrelations of fantasies with realities
  • Idealist, non-idealist, materialist, or realist theories in their pragmatic or socio-cultural environments
  • The role of realities and fantasies in socio-cultural critique, social construction, and enactment
  • The dynamics of translation, e.g. in literature, media, material culture, or theory
  • relations, transformations, and dis/continuities in artistic, literary, poetic, theoretical, or musical forms
  • The body in the field of reality and fantasy
  • Interrelationships between power, fantasy, actors, action, forms, and reality
  • How political fantasies (e.g. nationalisms) influence social/interpersonal relations
  • How cultural fantasies give shape to new modes of expression, understanding, institutionalizing, bonding, and resisting.
  • Fantasy as a political vehicle of real, unwanted, feared, or desired social transformation

Practical details

We welcome proposals for academic and artistic contributions that speak to the concerns of the workshop as outlined above. Abstracts (max. 300 words) and a short biographical note (max. 100 words) should be submitted to realitiesfantasies2019@gmail.com before 15 November 2018 (the October 15 deadline has been extended). Submissions will be responded to before 1st December.

Written versions of all papers will be circulated to all participants before the workshop. All accepted speakers are required to submit a 3000-word paper before 1st March 2019 (extended from February 15), so every participant get’s the chance to have a look at the other papers in their panel. We kindly ask prospective participants to bear this in mind before submitting an abstract.

Thanks to the generous support by the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, participation is free and lunches will be provided. All questions about the workshop can be directed at the email address mentioned above. More information will soon be announced on: http://realitiesfantasies.wordpress.com.

The Annual ASCA Workshop is organized in collaboration with NICA. RMA students are invited to contribute and may obtain 3 EC for active participation (i.e. presenting a paper).

 

The Academy and the Idea of Decolonisation

Masterclass and Lecture by Toyin Falola (University of Texas)

The aim of this workshop is to revisit the state of the art on theories of decolonisation of mind and knowledge. More information to be announced soon.

Date: 10 December 2018
Time: 10:00-12:30 (masterclass) & 14:00-17:00 (keynote lecture and discussion)
Venue: Amsterdam, Bushuis (VOC-zaal) & University Library (Doelenzaal)
Open to: scholars, PhD students, (R)MA students
Credits: 1 ECTS (for PhD and RMa students only)
Coordination: Larissa Schulte Nordholt (Leiden University) and Marleen Reichgelt (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Maximum participants in this event: 20
Registration (before 1 November 2018)

NOTE: separate registration for masterclass and keynote
(A list of required readings and information about the assignment will be sent to the admitted participants in the course of November.)

One day masterclass: The Academy and the Idea of Decolonisation

It has been argued that the academic system of knowledge production—as we have known it since the Age of Imperialism/the Enlightenment—is fundamentally Western, wherein the west assumes the status of the “universal”. Although many former colonies around the world (Asia, Africa and Latin America) received political freedom in the second half of the twentieth century, the dominant mode of knowledge production and critical thinking within the academy was, and still is, largely determined by a western white male perception. Although universities worldwide are able to flourish to some extent, it remains difficult to truly escape from a normative western hegemony on the system of knowledge production and academic research.

The dominance of these thought-patterns originating in the west was never completely unchallenged and gained momentum from the second half of the twentieth century onwards through anticolonial and postcolonial critique, feminist discourse and the emergence of global intellectual history. The new tide of such critical thinking questioned Eurocentric approaches in history, philosophy and anthropology, among others, and argued in favour of a decolonisation of (academic) knowledge production. As a result the humanities have been enriched by crucial debates regarding the place of ‘Europe’ within Academic research as a whole.

To apply the insights from these debates to one’s research, however, can be a challenging feat – both on a theoretical and a practical level. The Huizinga masterclass ‘The Academy and the idea of Decolonisation’ aims to revisit the state of the art on theories of decolonisation of academic research. The plenary keynote lecture  will reflect on the state of the (historical) academy regarding the ‘Idea of Decolonisation’ and raise the question what it means to attempt a ‘Decolonisation of Knowledge’. Is there one Decolonisation or multiple Decolonisations? Is Decolonisation within the academy a monolithic concept or are there multiple layers within this broader academic issue? Most importantly, has knowledge been decolonised at all or is a culture of recolonisation replacing older thought patterns? Through the lecture and the input by local respondents we hope to be able to create an atmosphere in which there will be space for both conceptual in-depth questions and more practical concerns regarding the ‘Idea of Decolonisation’.

The workshop  is dedicated to critically engaging with the above-mentioned questions on a more practical level. Junior researchers will be given the chance to engage with questions concerning mental decolonization as they pertain to their own research projects. The goal is to inform students and researchers of cultural history about ongoing debates on Decolonisation and knowledge production from a global intellectual perspective.

Both the masterclass and the keynote lecture are given by Toyin Falola (1953). Prof. Dr. Falola is a Nigerian historian of Africa who currently holds the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair Professor in the Humanities and a Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Falola, who took his PhD-degree at the university of Ile-Ife in Nigeria, is a prolific scholar on African history from the 19th century onwards. He has written both local histories, focusing on Yoruba history in Nigeria, and more globally oriented accounts on the histories of Africa as a whole. Moreover, he has taught and written extensively on African intellectual history and the emergence of the field of African and Black studies, focusing on its pedagogies, methodologies and epistemologies.

Artistic Research: Sharing Methods and Practices

After a very successful first edition in 2017-2018, this academic year the ASCA Research Group on Artistic Research (ARRG), coordinated by Paula Albuquerque, is organizing a new series of five seminars on 16 October, 11 December, 5 February, 9 April, 4 June, from 15:00-17:30.

The Artistic Research Research Group focuses on Artistic Research as a new approach to tackling research questions and it aims at promoting the exchange of ideas between artists and scholars from a wide range of fields and disciplines. As a discipline itself, Artistic Research develops a discursive form of communicating research results in parallel with a non-discursive, artistic practice. This enables researchers/makers coming from fine arts, design, dance, film, performance art, theatre and music to share and compare processes of production, methodologies and results with the scientific community, while working as practicing autonomous artists. It allows autonomous artists to delve deeper into scientific disciplines their work is already concerned with. Furthermore, Artistic Research contributes to existing scientific disciplines by its double character of discursive/non-discursive processes and outputs, while at the same time presenting work within the context of existing art institutions. The outcomes of artistic research actively contribute to bridging the gap between science and art, and strive to make its body of knowledge visible in a societal context. By bringing academia and the art world together, artistic forms of research change the social status of both and introduce a potential array of practice-oriented methodologies that challenge institutionalized forms of knowledge production.

A series of five seminars will be organized between October 2018 and June 2019 to promote the exchange of ideas and experiences among artistic researchers and others interested in the field, and during which members of the group will present their research and receive feedback from their peers. One or two artistic researchers who have recently completed their PhD’s will be invited to share their process with the participants of the seminars. The participants include PhD Candidates but also those who have already completed their PhD’s but would like to keep discussing their artistic research within a community of like-minded artists/scholars. Those interested in maybe pursuing such an academic study are also welcome to join as well as Research Master students who wish to attain first-hand knowledge about the discipline.

ARRG works in collaboration with ARIAS (Amsterdam Research Institute for Arts and Sciences in order to bring together all education institutes involved in further developing and supporting artistic researchers projects and degrees.

The meetings will take place on Tuesday afternoons from 15:00 to 17:30 at VOX-POP Creative Space of the Humanities in the city centre of Amsterdam.  The presentations can take the form the researchers find most suitable and productive: a film screening, a performance or a standard keynote or any other.

The preliminary program of artistic research presentations is as follows:

  • October 16th 15:00-17:30 – Tânia Cardoso + Mariana Lanari
  • December 11th 15:00-17:30 – Gijsje Heemskerk + Ilse van Rijn
  • February 5th  15:00-17:30 – Rosanne Jonkhout + Clare Butcher
  • April 9th 15:00-17:30 – Isabel Cordeiro + Ruchama Noorda
  • June 4th 15:00-17:30 – Brenda Tempelaar + one researcher to be confirmed

Complete information will be timely sent to those interested in participating in the seminars (presenting is not mandatory). If you would like to attend our sessions, please contact the student assistant Sara-Lot van Uum: saralotvanuum@gmail.com; and the coordinator of the Research Group Dr Paula Albuquerque: P.Albuquerque@uva.nl. If you’re a Research Master student, please contact NICA directly at nica-fgw@uva.nl and mention your affiliation. Once registered as a participant you are expected to attend all or most of the five sessions.