Posts from February 2013

Publishing Futures for the Arts and Humanities: Read it, Disseminate it, Post it

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This is Project 5 of the International Association for Visual Culture (IAVC). This project is constituted as a collaborative and Open Access forum on the possible futures of publishing. The project is published on-line and simultaneously across a number of distinct scholarly, creative, and critical research platforms: the College Art Association’s Art Journal website, the open-access journal Culture Machine, The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture (IMCC, University of Westminster), the IAVC, the journal of visual culture’s satellite website, Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular, and the Modern Language Association Commons.
Project 5’s origins are in a panel we organised in New York City in June 2012 for Nicholas Mirzoeff’s ‘Now! Visual Culture’ event, the Association’s second biennial conference. In this event’s network of relations and expectations – in the places between NYC, this non-conference, and Occupy – we watched the fermentation of something that felt new and offered new ways forward in our understanding of visual culture, and also in the ways in which it is distributed, accessed, engaged with and acted upon.
The ‘future publishing’ that we discussed coalesces around the emerging moment in the history of technologies and the adaptive strategies deployed by the disseminators of information to accommodate them. The opportunities and challenges that they seed have extraordinary implications for the distribution and consumption of information; perhaps the most radical since the development of moveable type and its consequent market in reading.
The release of easy to utilise, freely available publishing software presents both challenges and possibilities for publishing as a practice and an industry. The ability to develop and distribute multi-touch interactive ‘text books’ at no cost through iTunes, for example, at once supports and restricts ‘open source’ publishing projects and is symptomatic of developments across the sector. The development of new technologies and new platforms for dissemination like the Kindle/tablets means that both traditional formats and networks require rethinking.
Some of the questions we consider include:
• How will changes in format impact on content – the medium is the message?
• What are the challenges for the publishing industry in generating sustainable business models that support author activity?
• How will these new market conditions impact and inflect ‘open source’ publishing models?
• What are the consequences for the distribution of research and how will it maintain or re-imagine its integrity across and through less formalised, deregulated networks?
• How will authors generate income?
The panellist’s engagement with these and other questions are appended here, and we extend a huge debt of gratitude to Katherine Behar, Gary Hall, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and Tara McPherson for their insights, as well as their willingness to formulate and realise Project 5 as a model of a paradigm for future publishing.
On 11th January 2013, Aaron Swartz was found dead in his New York apartment, having apparently taken his own life. He was 26. A web programmer, co-founder of Reddit, and advocate of free-data, Swartz had been arrested in July 2011, and was being sued for downloading and attempting to release 4.8 million academic articles from the digital library JSTOR. He was arrested in July 2011, charged with data theft-related crimes, and was due to stand trail in April 2013. If convicted he faced over 30 years in prison. On January 9th 2013, JSTOR announced that the archives of more than 1,200 journals were now available for, as Library Journal puts it, ‘limited free reading by the public’. Such free reading amounts to three articles every two weeks. We have a long way to go.

Mark Little and Marquard Smith

Future Publishing

Cunningham on Bifo

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David Cunningham’s reviews of Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi’s latest book, The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance, is currently up as a freebie on the Radical Philosophy website here.

Exhibiting Performance Conference – 1st – 3rd March, London

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Exhibiting Performance Conference

Date: 1-3 March 2013
University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW

The Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) of the University of Westminster is pleased to announce Exhibiting Performance, a three-day event considering contemporary issues central to the display of performance art. Following on from the Exhibiting Photography (2011) and Exhibiting Video (2012) International Conferences, this event will bring together notable artists, curators and writers, and provide a forum for a number of inter-related questions:

• On what terms has the rise of Performance in contemporary arts taken place?
• How do our museums and galleries disseminate and exhibit Performance?
• How does the live act of Performance inform questions around the body and the audience?
• How is Performance documented, archived and transacted?
• How does technology contribute to the development of Performance?

The conference will be framed by Indeterminacy, a John Cage performance by Stewart Lee, Tania Chen and Steve Beresford in the Old Lumiere Cinema, Regent Street and the exhibition of work by artists and writers responding to a live performance by Philip Lee and Cally Trench Do you remember it – or weren’t you there? at London Gallery West.

There will be four half-day themes:

With Tate Modern opening the Tanks for performance events and Marina Abramovic’s major exhibition at New York’s MoMA in 2010, is performance art now mainstream, and on what terms? How do museums and galleries understand performance art?

Dissemination and Documentation:
How is performance documented ? If you missed the performance is that it? What value does an art work in a different medium which gives a memory of a performance have?

The Body and Audiences:
What is the role of the body in performance today ? Why do so many performance artists perform naked ? Is the naked body a sign of authenticity or does the taboo distract from meaning ? How is the relationship between artist and audience different from or similar to other areas of art?

Performance and Media:
How does technology mediate performance ? What are the ontologies of networked, mediated and recorded performance practices ? How is videoperformance ‘live’? How do different technologies of camera (webcam, surveillance, etc) and screens (CRT, flat, projection, mobile phone, computer, etc) change our concept of performance?

Confirmed Participants:
Franko B, artist; Steve Beresford, Performer and Musician, University of Westminster; Rocio Boliver, artist, Mel Brimfield, artist; Dr Gavin Butt, Goldsmith College; Jon Cairns, Central St Martins; Dr Maria Chatzichristodoulou, curator and performer, University of Hull; Tania Chen, Musician; Dr Rob la Frenais, Curator The Arts Catalyst; Professor Joram ten Brink, University of Westminster, Lois Keidan, founder, director Live Art Development Agency; Richard Layzell, artist, Middlesex University; Stewart Lee, writer and performer; Kira O’Reilly, artist University of Hull; Dr Lucy Reynolds, University of the Arts; Dr Marquard Smith, University of Westminster; Dr Margherita Sprio, University of Westminster; Gary Stevens, artist; Dr Tracey Warr, writer and curator, Oxford Brookes University; Catherine Wood, Curator, Contemporary Art & Performance at Tate; Silvia Ziranek, artist.


This conference will take place from 4.00pm on Friday 1 March to Sunday 3 March 2013. The fee for registration will be:
Full conference: Standard rate £85. One day rate £50
Full conference: Student rate £40. One day rate £30.
Performance only: £10 – Student Rate £5

Indeterminacy, a John Cage performance
Sunday 3 March 2013, 6.30pm
Stewart Lee, Tania Chen and Steve Beresford
Regent Street Cinema
University of Westminster
309 Regent Street
London W1R 8AL

Do you remember it – or weren’t you there?
Philip Lee and Cally Trench
31 January 2013 – 3 March 2013
London Gallery West, School of Media, Art and Design
University of Westminster, Watford Road, Harrow
Middlesex HA1 3TP

British Male-authored Abortion Narratives research seminar, Weds 20 February

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Wednesday 20th February, 4pm – 5.15pm
Wells Street, room 106

Fran Bigman (University of Cambridge)
‘A Bit of Himself: British Male-authored Abortion Narratives from Waste (1907) to Alfie (1966)’

Cultures of Capitalism: Growth

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Thursday 7 March, 7pm
Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1
Price: £7.00 / £5.00 concessions (includes free glass of wine).

Does progress always have to mean expansion? Is culture dependent on increasing space, numbers and activity? The final Salon in the IMCC series on Cultures of Capitalism at the Whitechapel debates our cultural and political obsessions with growth. Speakers include Sarah Chaplin, Stephen Escritt and Allan Stoekl.

Sarah Chaplin is an architect, academic and urbanist. Formerly head of architecture at Kingston University and a professor specialising in Japan working in the field of visual and spatial culture, she now divides her time between writing and consultancy, and is currently working on the placemaking strategy for Battersea Power Station.

Stephen Escritt is a Director at Counterculture Partners. He has worked at the British Museum and the Whitechapel Gallery, where he was Director of Strategic Development. He is the author of two books on late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century architecture and design, published by Phaidon Press. He has recently worked with Art on the Underground and Kent Architecture Centre.

Allan Stoekl is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University. Allan’s many publications include the books Politics, Writing, Mutilation: The Cases of Bataille, Blanchot, Roussel, Leiris and Ponge (University of Minnesota Press, 1985); Agonies of the Intellectual: Commitment, Subjectivity, and the Performative in the Twentieth-Century French Tradition (University of Nebraska Press, 1992); and Bataille’s Peak: Energy, Religion, and Postsustainability (University of Minnesota Press, 2007). Allan is currently working on a new book provisionally entitled Avatars of the Postsustainable City.

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The Political Unconscious of Architecture book launch

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The Political Unconscious of Architecture
February 28 2013, 6.30pm

UCL Urban Laboratory @ Bartlett School of Architecture
UCL Royal Ear Hospital, Ground Floor, Capper Street, London WC1E 6AP

An evening of presentation and discussion to celebrate the publication of a new paperback edition of The Political Unconscious of Architecture, edited by Nadir Lahiji. Contributors David Cunningham (IMCC, Westminster), Donald Kunze (Penn State), Nadir Lahiji (Pennsylvania), Jane Rendell (Bartlett), and Robin Wilson (Bartlett), along with respondents Camillo Boalo (DPU, UCL) and Douglas Spencer (AA), take up Fredric Jameson’s radical critique at the juncture of aesthetics and politics. All welcome!

Cybernetic Revolutionaries review

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Jon Goodbun’s review of Eden Medina’s fascinating Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile is currently up as a freebie on the Radical Philosophy website here.

Call for Proposals: Conference on Law and the Senses

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Law and the Senses
School of Law, University of Westminster, April 18-19, 2013

What is Law’s relationship to senses? In a sense, Law, the anaesthetic par excellence, is constantly engaged in numbing the senses into commonsense; manipulating, channelling and controlling the sensible; inserting properties and forbidding contacts; dissimulating violence, regulating sounds and defining taste. However, senses are not static. Rather, they are shifting and elusive qualities, constantly reshuffled by socio-cultural and technological changes, always dislocating Law’s normativity towards new potentialities. In this other sense, Law emerges from the senses, and whereas senses are a constant arena of legal machinations, they are also Law’s constant blind spot and inescapable excess.

The conference ‘Law and the Senses’ proposes to reflect critically on how law deals with senses, how law senses, how law makes sense. We invite contributors to think, discuss and question the sound of law, the tactile encounter with its forms, its bitter/sweet taste, its pungent smell, its perspectival gaze. We encourage investigations of the sensing of law, the capacity for law to (make) sense, and the possibility for Law to sense differently. We welcome trans-disciplinary contributions, from legal, geographical, sociological, psychological, philosophical, political and cultural areas, as well as from the arts (exhibition and performance space is provided).

This conference seeks to interfere with the standard conference format. We wish to shake such an often taken-for-granted scaffolding, not to propose ‘better’ models, but rather to produce interferences, noise and turbulence, out of which we hope creative encounters would emerge. This does not mean getting rid of the rules and internal regulations of conferencing altogether, but instead opening a fuzzier space for the conference to unfold, by making such constraints less rigid. There will be given no time for presentations, though the duty to prevent them from becoming infinite will remain with the moderator. We invite presentations conceived as a tool for stimulating a debate, rather than unilateral talks addressed to a passive audience. Therefore we kindly ask to refrain from merely reading out papers and rather trying to perform them through your voice and body, handing out material, using powerpoint, notes, other sensory stimulations and any other format you prefer.

Please send your abstracts by the 15th of March 2013 to:

The conference inaugurates Non Liquet [The Westminster Online Working Papers], a new series of papers on law and the senses, aiming to critically reflect on law and the senses. The series encompasses five issues dedicated to each sense: taste, smell, hearing, touch and vision.

Organising team: Danilo Mandic, Caterina Nirta and Andrea Pavoni with The Westminster International Law & Theory Centre

IMCC Welcomes John Beck

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The IMCC is delighted to welcome John Beck who is joining us this month from Newcastle as Professor in Modern Literature based within the Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies at Westminster. John’s main research interests lie in American literature and culture as well as photographic theory and visual culture. He is on the editorial board of the journal Cultural Politics, and his most recent book, Dirty Wars: Landscape, Power, and Waste in Western American Literature, was winner of the Western Literature Association’s Thomas J. Lyon Prize in 2010.

Room Change: Legitimacy and Globalised Law in Doctor Who seminar

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As we have had a very impressive response from staff and students across the two departments, Wednesday’s joint seminar with the School of Law has been moved over the road to Little Titchfield Street. There’s plenty of space now so please feel free to come along. Full details below:

Wednesday 6th February, 4pm – 5.15pm
Danny Nicol (Westminster School of Law)
Legitimacy and Globalised Law in Doctor Who

Ground Zero: the socio-political minefield of symbolic architecture

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A quick notice that Vol 2, no. 2 of ARCHITECTURE_MEDIA_POLITICS_SOCIETY is now available on-line.

Ten years ago this month Daniel Libeskind won the competition for Ground Zero. It was a story of politics, economics and media manipulation. In this month’s edition of the journal, he looks back on the most emotive and polemic architectural project of recent times and discusses the relationship between politics and architecture in the context of trauma.

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