Posts tagged technology

The Display and Interpretation of Technology colloquium

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Wednesday 16 May 2012, 6.30 – 8.30 p.m.
The Boardroom, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

The Smithsonian-Westminster Colloquium invites you to a discussion forum with Dr Peter Jakab, Associate Director, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC

Other contributors include: Andrew Nahum, Senior Curator in Aviation, Science Museum, London; David Hendy, Professor of Media History, University of Westminster.

Peter Jakab is Associate Director for Collections and Curatorial Affairs and curator of World War I Aviation at the National Air and Space Museum.  His publications include Visions of a Flying Machine: The Wright Brothers and the Process of Invention (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990); The Published Writings of Wilbur and Orville Wright (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000; co-edited with Rick Young); and The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age (National Geographic Society, 2003; co-authored with Tom Crouch). At NASM he has curated numerous exhibitions, including The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age, which opened in 2003.

Open and free. No booking required, but RSVP appreciated.
Further information and RSVP: Helena Scott, email

Alan Morrison Royal Society lecture, April 27

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Sir George Cayley (1773-1857), the Father of Flight

Friday 27th April, 1.00-.200 pm
The Royal Society, Carlton House Terrace, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

This Royal Society lecture discusses Cayley’s pioneering aviation work, and his roles as an inventor and as founder of the Royal Polytechnic Institution in Regent Street. Cayley’s work will be related to the scientific and intellectual milieu of the day, and to debates regarding the public engagement with science and technology. The lecture will be delivered by Alan Morrison, who is an Honorary Fellow in the IMCC at the University of Westminster, as well as a Lemelson Center Research Associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He curated the exhibition ‘Sir George Cayley: the Father of Flight’ shown at the RAF Museum Hendon.

The lecture is open and free to the public – there is no need to book, and seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Exhibiting Video – 23-25 March, University of Westminster

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The Institute’s friends and colleagues in the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) at University of Westminster are organizing a three-day international conference this coming weekend on ‘exhibiting video’, please see below for full details:

Exhibiting Video – International Conference
Date: 23, 24 and 25 March, 2012
Venue: University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW

To coincide with the new David Hall Ambika P3 commission ‘1001 TV Sets (End Piece)’ 1972-2012 the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) of the University of Westminster is convening Exhibiting Video, a three-day event considering issues central to the display of video art. Bringing together notable artists, curators and writers the event will provide a forum for a number of related questions:

· On what terms has the rise of video in contemporary arts taken place?
· How do notions of medium specificity and site specificity shape video art work made for exhibition?
· What is the legacy of analogue video technology in the digital age?
· How do our museums and galleries understand video art?

Confirmed participants include:
Mark Bartlett, Irit Batsry, Amanda Beech, Steven Ball, Steven Bode, Margarida Brito Alves, David Campany, Stuart Comer, Sean Cubitt, Shezad Dawood, Catherine Elwes, Solange Oliveira Farkas, Terry Flaxton, David Hall, Adam Kossof, Anya Lewin, Adam Lockhart, Chris Meigh-Andrews, Stuart Moore, Marquard Smith, Kayla Parker, Margherita Sprio, Minou Norouzi, Stephen Partridge, Ken Wilder and Lori Zippay

To register please go to:

Thomson & Craighead are Being Social

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Thomson & Craighead are part of the inaugural exhibition ‘Being Social’ in the new Furtherfield Gallery slap bang in the middle of Finsbury Park, North London where they are showing a version of ‘London Wall’.  The exhibition is on already and runs until 28th April. Details here.

T&C are also showing a new projected version of ‘Flipped Clock’ and the short documentary artwork, ‘Several Interruptions’ as part of the exhibition ‘Mirror Neurons’ at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland,  on until 20th May. Details here.

They’ve also completely revamped their 2001 online artwork ‘e-poltergeist’ for the Canadian journal ‘BleuOrange’, and this goes live on 20th March at 0300hrs GMT. And finally, a new artwork, ‘A live portrait of Sir Tim Berners Lee (an early warning system)’ will be part of the major new exhibition, ‘Life Online’ launching in the National Media Museum on 29th March. Further details here.

Cory Doctorow at University of Westminster, 22nd Feb at 3

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Wednesday 22 February at 3pm
2.05A School of Law, 4 Little Titchfield Street, London W1W 7UW

Cory Doctorow
‘There is a war coming: the future regulation of general purpose computation’

Organised by our friends in The Centre for Law, Society and Popular Culture
ALL WELCOME. RSVP Danilo Mandic:

Cory Doctorow ( is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing ( and the author of Tor Teens/HarperCollins UK novels like FOR THE WIN and the bestselling LITTLE BROTHER. He is the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. He is the author of Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future, (2008). Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in London. See further,


IMCC hosts London premier of An Ecology of Mind, Feb 27th

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An Ecology of Mind: A Film by Nora Bateson
Monday 27 February 2012, 18:30-22:00 pm
Old Cinema, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

Tickets: £9.50; £3.50 (student/unwaged/Westminster staff)
Book your ticket from:

The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture (IMCC) at the University of Westminster is proud to host the London premier of Nora Bateson’s An Ecology of Mind: A Daughter’s Portrait of Gregory Bateson. The screening will be followed by an interdisciplinary panel and audience discussion with Nora Bateson, and will end with a wine reception in the Regent Street foyer.

Panel with Nora Bateson; Iain Boal (Birkbeck College); Jody Boehnert (Brighton University); Ranulph Glanville (American Society for Cybernetics); Peter Reason (Action Research); and Wendy Wheeler (London Metropolitan University). Chaired by Jon Goodbun (IMCC and Architecture, Westminster)

“Tell me a story” … of life, art and science, of systems and survival. Gregory Bateson’s way of thinking – seeing the world as relationships, connections and patterns – continues to influence and provoke new thinking about human social life, about ecology, technology, art, design and health. Nora Bateson, Gregory’s youngest daughter, introduces Bateson’s ideas to new audiences in her film An Ecology of Mind, using the metaphor of a relationship between father and daughter, and footage of Bateson’s talks.

Each screening, too, hosts a discussion between Nora and a wide range of people working in depth with Bateson’s ideas: artists, architects, action researchers, ecological activists, mental health practitioners, scientists, urban designers, cyberneticians. These screenings and discussions intend to show a way of thinking that crosses fields of knowledge and experience, one that can lead out of the ecological crisis and towards a more sound way of living.
Awards for the film:
Gold for Best Documentary, Spokane International Film Festival, 2011
Audience Award Winner, Best Documentary, Santa Cruz Film Festival, 2011
Winner, Media Ecology Association, John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis, 2011 

Event organised by Jon Goodbun (Westminster), Wallace Heim, Kevin Power (Centre for Action Research, Ashridge Business School) and Eva Bakkeslett

To book a ticket go to:

Rorschach Audio talk, Wednesday 7 December 2011

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‘Rorschach Audio: Mysterious-devil-tale, Devil-bewitched-by-Death’
Wednesday 7 December 2011, 1.15pm – 2.45pm
Room 359, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW

Following on from the “Rorschach Audio” lecture demonstration presented to the IMCC in March 2011, and, in particular, that lecture’s discussions of Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali, EH Gombrich, Primo Levi and Leonardo da Vinci, visual and sound artist Joe Banks presents further explorations of the influence of “Rorschach Audio” phenomena on contemporary literature and creative art. This presentation directly extends the material discussed in the previous lecture, so any guests not familiar with the earlier talk are encouraged to read the “Rorschach Audio” research publications available here…

Non-Westminster staff and students should RSVP Joe Banks at:

Usurp + Disinformation – सूर्य किरण – [Promo]*

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Another fine video from the Institute’s AHRC Research Fellow Joe Banks (Disinformation):

Film copyright © Joe Banks & Poulomi Desai 31 Oct 2011
Headphones or external loudspeakers essential

The Canadian psychologist Albert Bregman’s theory of Auditory Scene Analysis describes how the human mind is able to identify, focus on, isolate and extract streams of actually or potentially meaningful sound information, which it recognises as emanating from discreet sources, using analysis of what amounts to the musical content of specific “melodic streams” within environmental noise. In terms of evolutionary biology, the theory suggests that our capacity for appreciating music may have evolved at least in part as a by-product of the mechanism that enables us to identify sound-streams that come from, say, a distant river, particular types of bird-song, or the call of a potentially hostile predator etc; and in human communications this faculty is most obviously in evidence as a contributory factor in enabling us to perceive individual speakers in crowded social environments (the Cocktail Party Effect). In terms of everyday experience, the isolation of such streams may seem deceptively simple, but in information theoretic and signal processing terms, the level of computational power required to extract such invariants* from the distorting influences of complex and rapidly-changing real-world sound environments still challenges engineers and computer scientists. Problems associated with extracting invariants from noisy environments are of particular relevance to air traffic control, military fighter and helicopter communications and battle management systems. Generalities aside, the soundtrack used in the Disinformation + Usurp “Sun Rays” film is a direct recording of the real sound-ambience of the film’s location, “composed” using sharp graphic-equalisation only, to reproduce the subjective experience of the melodic streams that were perceived in the extraordinarily atmospheric ambience of that underground space (and, totally coincidentally, the title of this film, which is taken from the footage itself, is also the name of the Indian Air Force military aerobatics demonstration team).

Filmed in New Delhi, Oct 2011. (J. Banks, IMCC Westminster, 1st Nov 2011).

*The term “invariant” was coined by the American psychologist JJ Gibson

First Blip Prize for Creative Technologies

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We are pleased to report that the winner of the first Blip Prize for Creative Technologies was announced last night. The prize is awarded, courtesy of Blip Creative, to the best student project design for the IMCC’s new public display screen at Wells Street. The 2011 winner was Sophie Meter for her beautiful butterfly animation. Runners up were Kristian Agustin, Eleni Tziourtzia, David Itzcovitz and Yen Ooi. The winning videos can be seen (when opened in firefox) at Or, of course, you can check them out live on the corner of Wells Street and Booths Place.

The Blip Prize is the latest stage in the IMCC’s development of exciting content for the extraordinary state-of-the-art wall-hanging LED installation that is our contribution to The International Distributed Display Initiative, and which is part of the Institute’s New Media Theory research project, coordinated by Peter Cornwell at Blip with Alison Craighead and David Cunningham at the IMCC. Using an interface that has been designed such that no prior programming skills are assumed, staff and students will be making work for this experimental new media laboratory that will allow them to explore in hands-on fashion what it means to translate, phenomenalize, or even perform media-theoretical issues as, and in, new media.


Watch this space!

UPDATE: Video of the awards ceremony courtesy of David Itzcovitz:

Early warning: Joe Banks’ next Rorschach Audio lecture, Dec 7th

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Rorschach Audio: Mysterious-devil-tale, Devil-bewitched-by-Death’
Wednesday 7 December 2011, 1.15pm – 2.45pm
Room 359, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B

Following on from the “Rorschach Audio” lecture demonstration presented to the IMCC in March 2011, and, in particular, that lecture’s discussions of Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali, EH Gombrich, Primo Levi and Leonardo da Vinci, visual and sound artist Joe Banks presents further explorations of the influence of “Rorschach Audio” phenomena on contemporary literature and creative art. This presentation directly extends the material discussed in the previous lecture, so any guests not familiar with the earlier talk are encouraged to read the “Rorschach Audio” research publications available here…

Materialities of text online conference

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Materialities of Text: Between the Codex and the Net
An Online Conference, from October 24th – November 4th 2011.

The book, in its traditional codex form, appears in transition from print media to digital media; a condition nevertheless complicated by its forms of survival, as indicated by the term ‘webpage’. Despite the epochal significance of the scroll, the codex, and the digital text, such material figures of inscription are necessarily hybrid; a hybridity that especially characterises the current historico-technical relation between print and digital media. Hybridity, of course, has been championed, for example, in postcolonial studies, as a figure of subversion, but it is also clear that hybrid text, as much as it is an object of possible democratisation within the digital public sphere, is also an object of intense capitalisation. Thus, the apparent waning of the hegemony of print is drawing questions of the politics of textual materialism into critical perception, and the need to interrogate the specificity of these materials, in their complex relations to the sensual form of paper and the ‘dispersed’ textuality of the digital medium. What, then, are the new materialities of hybrid text-media? What are the politics of digital/print hybrids, artists’ books, writing technologies, and digital publishing? How does media hybridity transform the political book, the artists’ book, or the work of literature? What effects do new materialities of text have on patterns of reading? Has media process replaced the media object? What are the sensory forms of new media materialities? How is the commodity-form of the book altered by new media platforms? What are the conditions and forms of specific media hybridities? What does new media do to the ‘perversions’ of the book – to bibliomania, to fetishism? Are we still ‘people of the book’ – what remains of the authority of the book? How has independent publishing responded to new materialities of text? What might figures of the book offer in the way of new or counter-knowledges, forms of community and communication?

Platform / Participants:
In keeping with its theme, the project will centre on an online conference, held on this website, which will allow the uploading of short texts and images, and user-generated commentary and debate. The organisers invite responses to texts and related questions from thinkers in all disciplines: literary-cultural studies, art-practice, critical theory and philosophy, book and publishing history and practice, etc.

Abstracts of included texts: Janneke Adema & Gary Hall (Coventry University): ‘(Im)materialities of Text: The Book as a Form of Political & Conceptual Resistance in Art and Academia’; Richard Burt (University of Florida): ‘Shelf-Life’; Johanna Drucker (UCLA): ‘Diagrammatic Writing’; Davin Heckman (Siena Heights University): ‘The Politics of Plasticity: Neoliberalism, Deliberation & the Digital Text’; Sas Mays (University of Westminster) ‘Mnemopolitics: Philosophy & the Archive in the Digital Public Sphere’; Daniel Selcer (Duquesne University): ‘Invisible Ink: Atomizing Textual Materialism’; Nick Thoburn (university of Manchester): ‘Materialities of Political Publishing’.

The organisers – Sas Mays (IMCC, Westminster) and Nick Thorburn (Manchester) – intend this forum to allow discussion that may be included within the second form of dissemination, and may feed into contributors’ articles within it: a special issue of the journal New Formations to be published in 2012.

Rorschach Audio On The Road

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Following the success of the ‘Rorschach Audio’ talk at The University of Westminster, and sound installation at Usurp Gallery, a quick notification of two more forthcoming events on Disinformation’s travels…

Wednesday 30th March 2011: Joe Banks is providing a ‘Rorschach Audio’ soundtrack for painter Makiko Nagaya’s drawing performance at the Superhybrid Dada event organised by curator Peter Lewis in Leeds.

Wednesday 13th April 2011: a ‘Rorschach Audio’ lecture features in the Living Room festival organised by University of Auckland, Gus Fisher Art Gallery curator Andrew Clifford in New Zealand, to accompany the National Grid sound installation that will be exhibited there.

Special Joe Banks Rorscach Audio Lecture

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Wednesday 9th March 2011, 1.15-2.45pm
Room 106, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Joe Banks (AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts)
Rorschach Audio: Art and Illusion for Sound – Lecture & demonstration

Visual and sound and artist Joe Banks, based as an AHRC Research Fellow in the Institute, discusses the Spiritualistic phenomena explored by his “Rorschach Audio” research project, exploring Jean Cocteau’s Orphée and Art and Illusion by EH Gombrich in relation to Electronic Voice Phenomena (ghost voice) recording. The presentation focuses on perceptual psychology aspects of its subject matter – including live demonstrations of audio illusions and of related psychoacoustic phenomena – with a second presentation focusing on related literary themes to follow this Autumn.

“It is the story of the signaller who misheard the urgent message ‘Send reinforcements, am going to advance’ as ‘Send three and four pence, am going to a dance’.” E.H. Gombrich

“Sometimes we see a cloud that’s dragonish; A vapour sometime like a bear or lion, A tower’d citadel, a pendant rock, A forked mountain, or blue promontory With trees upon’t, that nod unto the world, And mock our eyes with air.” Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

[Please note that this replaces the previously advertised Samuel Thomas paper on Pynchon, which has unfortunately had to be cancelled due to illness]

No defence against the H Bomb

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Wednesday 23rd February 2011, 1.15-2.30pm
Room 106, University of Westminster, 32-38 Wells Street, London W1T 3UW

Nick Barnett (Liverpool John Moores)
“No Defence against the H-bomb: Popular reactions to the Thermonuclear Era”

Further details on the English Literature and Culture research seminar series here.

The Whitechapel Salon: ‘Matter Matters’ with Adrian Forty on Thursday October 28th

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With the Whitechapel Gallery, the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture at University of Westminster is hosting at the gallery the third in this year’s ‘Matter Matters’ Salon.

Date: Thursday 28 October, 7pm
Price: £8.00

Includes free glass of wine.

Adrian Forty (Professor of Architectural History at the Bartlett) and Katie Lloyd-Thomas (editor of Material Matters) discuss why building matters, in the third instalment of the Salon series exploring the matter of ‘matter’. Hosted by David Cunningham.

Book your ticket at:

Joe Banks, AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts, joins IMCC

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Disinformation "Fire in the Eye" copyright Joe Banks 2004

We are thrilled to welcome Joe Banks to the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture at University of Westminster, London. Joe is AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts, and his current ongoing major project ‘Rorschach Audio’, studies ambiguities of acoustic perception, with particular emphasis on relationships between artistic and perceptual creativity and illusions of sound. Joe’s experimental music and installation art project Disinformation recorded 8 commercially published LPs and CDs (pioneering the use of electromagnetic noise from electric and magnetic storms, live mains electricity, industrial, domestic and IT hardware, transport infrastructure and from the sun etc., as the raw material of electronic music and sound art).

Ballardian Architecture

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David Cunningham, Deputy Director of the IMCC, is, along with John Gray and Nic Clear, one of the participants in the symposium Ballardian Architecture: Inner and Outer Space to be held at the Royal Academy of Arts on Saturday 15th May, 2-5pm. The event will trace several themes in Ballard’s literary analysis of the contemporary built environment, including the concept of spectacle and role of the media in contemporary society, and how Ballard’s fascination with so-called “invisible literatures”, such as scientific journals, technical manuals and advertising copy, can be seen as a literary counterpart to pop art and the “brutalist” aesthetic of modernity.

Tickets: £25/£16 reductions* (includes a drink)

Further details here.

Old Media/New Work: Speakers

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Old Media / New Work: Obsolete Technologies & Contemporary Art
Saturday 1st May 2010, 9am-6pm
Portland  Hall, University of Westminster, 4-16 Little Titchfield St, London W1W 7UW

Contemporary art shows renewed interest in ‘lost’, ‘obsolete’, and ‘archaic’ visual media forms and the illusion-producing processes of the past—for example: the camera obscura, the magic lantern, stereoscopy, Victorian stage illusion, shadowgraphy, optical toys, the panorama and stylised period representations such as the imagery of spiritualism, automatic writing and early photographic techniques. A platform for engagement with such ‘old media’ has been provided by the Magic Lantern Society’s popular public lecture series, Professor Pepper’s Ghost, at the University of Westminster this year. As a further development, the conference ‘Old Media / New Work’ will concentrate on art and artists working with or around such ‘lost’ practices, in order to show, discuss, and explore such work in context of contemporary relevance and future possibilities.

Madi Boyd (Independent): ‘Pepper’s Ghost for the 21st Century’
Ignaz Cassar (Leeds / Nottingham Trent): ‘The Image of, or in, Sublation’
Mark Ferelli (Independent): ‘Michael Reeves Directs’
Mark Jackson (IMT Gallery): ‘Audiobooks of the Dead: William Burroughs & Konstantīns Raudive’
Ben Judd (Independent): ‘Magic, Belief, and Immersion’
Naomi Kashiwagi (Independent): ‘Reinventing the Reel: Reclaiming the Everyday’
Wiebke Leister (LCC): ‘Towards an Iconography of the White Face’
Olivia Plender (Independent): ‘A Stellar Key to the Summerland’
Peter Ride (Westminster): ‘When Everything Old is New Again’
Aura Satz (London Consortium): ‘Sound Seam: Gramophone Grooves & Primal Sound’
Dan Smith (Chelsea): ‘October Outmoded: Utopian Failure & Technological Possibility’
Simon Warner (Independent): ‘Isolating V5: Towards a Human Zoetrope’

Entrance is free but, as places are numbered, please contact the organisers, Sas Mays (IMCC) and Mervyn Heard (Magic Lantern Society), for a place:

Apocalypse and its Discontents: Call for Papers

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Westminster English Colloquium #16: Apocalypse and its Discontents
Saturday 11th December 2010, University of Westminster, London

Keynote Speaker: Professor Adam Roberts (Royal Holloway)

Whereas visions of destruction and fantasies of the end have always haunted humankind, the modern period in particular has been increasingly characterised by a mixed sense of concern and fascination with the apocalypse, and even more so during the twentieth century.  Today we are surrounded by scenarios of imminent destruction and annihilation, by politicians, scientists, religious groups, and writers, among others.  This conference aims to explore and question the widespread appeal of the apocalypse. We are particularly interested in narratives that either challenge or offer alternative responses to apocalypse.

The organisers are seeking interdisciplinary papers exploring cultural responses to apocalypse, its discourses and counter-discourses. Topics may include (but are not restricted to): Anti-Apocalypse, Counter-Apocalypse, Ironic Apocalypse; Utopia, Redemption and Rebirth; Commodifying the Apocalypse; Death Tourism and Disaster Capitalism; Media Events theory: Disaster and the Media; Apocalypse and Everyday Life; The Age of Terror; Global Warming and Its Denial; Disaster Fiction/Movie; History as Apocalypse; Trauma theory; Viral Terrorism; Endings and Aftermaths; 2012; Technology and Mass Destruction.

Please email 500-word abstracts and brief bio to all conference organisers by 1 September 2010:
Monica Germanà:
Aris Mousoutzanis:
Christopher Daley:

Popular Matters at the Whitechapel Salon

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The Whitechapel Salon: Matter Matters I: Popular Matters
Thursday 13th May, 7pm
Study Studio, Whitechapel Gallery, London E1 7QX

The Whitechapel Salon is back! Spanning art, architecture, performance and sustainability, the forthcoming year-long series of four Salon discussions focus on the matter of ‘matter’ – its nature, substance and the productive forces that govern it. Chris Horrocks, Principal Lecturer, Kingston University and Julian Stallabrass, Reader, Courtauld Institute of Art consider Popular Matters including mass culture, vernacular photography, Web 2.0 and user-generated content.

Book now to avoid disappointment! Book your ticket here.

Tickets: £8/£6 (includes free glass of wine)