Balayer — A Map of Sweeping

Imogen Stidworthy

In 2008 the Belgian architect Wim Cuyvers was running a research project at JVE called Traces of Autism, which has probably have left strong impressions with all the ad/researchers at JVE during the two years that he worked on it. During the opening week of 2008 he showed the films Le Moindre Geste (1971) and Ce Gamin La (1975), which struck me with great force, especially in terms of how a form of relation between people – between subject and camera/viewer, and between subjects within the frame, was evoked. In ‘Ce Gamin La’ the camera focuses on daily life in the experimental network for ‘living with’ developed by French educationalist Fernand Deligny, which existed from 1967 to the mid-‘80s in the area around the village of Monoblet, in the Cevennes (FR). We see ‘close presences’ – adults – and the autistic children they live with. The children find a place in the landscape; they may stay there for a while, close to a tree or a rock, perhaps aware of the countryside around them, the sounds and smells; adults and children engage closely with the environment and carry out tasks, more and less readable. What I understood from these images (lacking enough French to grasp the voice-over) was a form of being-in-relation outside language, a form of relation perhaps based on proximity, and certain forms of attention, to others and to things – not on any form of direct address, or attempts at communication.

One of the regular practices carried out by the adults in this network was tracing the movements of the children as they moved around the countryside and in their daily household tasks. The films and maps have remained a very singular reference for my work; the maps I showed in context of two exhibitions I curated, considering the borders of language, at MuKHA, Antwerp and Fundacio Tapies, Barcelona. In carrying out the research and arranging the loans, I met Sandra Alvarez de Toldedo who runs the publishing company L’Arachnéen, and for the past fifteen years has been working to publish several books of the writings of Deligny, lectured extensively on his work and acted as a guardian and go-between for the loaning of the maps. Through Sandra I was able to meet Jacques Lin and Gisèle Durand, two of the first and most key members of the network. Today they live with two of the children who grew up with them and Deligny, in Monoblet, now in their fifties — Christo and Gilou. Into this concrete and contemporary situation, the last traces if you like of the network at Monoblet, I have been working with Gisèle in sessions of ‘tracing’ which she initiates with Christo and Gilou and other autistic adults. These are not related to the tracing of Deligny’s mapping – except perhaps in the sense of whole activity being a ‘tool for concentration’, as Wim Cuyvers once described the maps: a medium for developing a mutual yet independent attention between people and things. In the sessions the spaces between bodies, the space of the surface to be marked, the duration of time and directing of energy, are manifest in the syncopated rythms of bodily movement and sounds. We hear a landscape of different forms of language and are aware of a spectrum of positions in and outside language: discursive, narrative, non-linguistic vocalisations, and the ‘object-voice’ – sounds of things or materials manipulated by the autistic beings.

These are aspects I am focusing on during filming and recording of the sessions, as I develop a new work for Sao Paolo Bienal (Sept 2014), Balayer – A Map of Sweeping (Varrendo – A Map of Sweeping). This material is brought together with recordings of direct translations of extracts from Deligny’s writings, through the voices of Dominique Hurth and Suely Roelnik, and in sequences from the video archive of Jacques Lin shot between 2000 and 2008. During the talk in Berlin I will show and discuss material from this work in progress.

Money and trade considered

Cathleen Schuster and Marcel Dickhage

In a screening and discussion we’ll show “Money and trade considered”. The film is in the form of a loop that depicts a (re)enactment of a detail in the history of Finance. It was made during our time at the JVE 2013/14, with actors and self-built stage elements made of wood and printed paper. Based on the person and writings by John Law and on historical representations of one of the earliest speculation bubbles, some sequences of the Mississippi Bubble were (re)enacted and filmed, while keeping them attached to current affairs.

Doing nothing: voidance and intensification

Bruno Besana

This paper gravitates around the idea that, in 20th century’s thought and art practice, ‘destruction’ changes of sign: being no longer perceived in mere negative terms, something emerges like a positive or constructive side of it. Matta-Clark’s collapsing structures or Ulay’s disappearing photos, Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin or Malevitch’s demand to let all painting of Russia burn suggest that the contemplation of ashes might be a fertile ground for new ideas and forms to appear. The necessity also appears in theoretical and political thought of the century to overcome by destructive means the deadlock of the negative: if by opposing something one affirms the very terrain that supports the division between the two opposite sides – thus confirming the legitimacy of that which one allegedly opposes or attempts at negating – the idea of destruction is set to break this reproductive circle, and to bring about novelty in merely positive terms.

Still, the attempt to construct by destructive means seems to constantly fall back either into determinate negation or into sheer annihilation, thus opening the question of which modes or strategies can construct the very field where destruction is identical to the construction of the new.

My attempt will be to delineate the outsets of this field by naming two different modes: voidance and intensification. From Diether Roth’s accumulation of objects and symbols combined with a constant process of rotting to Cage’s use of silence as a Kampfplatz where conflicting noises come to reconfigure the space of music, art appears to echo the question of the double attempt of politics to intensify contradictions up to an explosive point and to produce the new by suspending or erasing any relation with the modes of representation, organization and hierarchisation of society.

Institute for Political Hypocrisy

Andrea Liu

The Institute for Political Hypocrisy is an organization that helps hegemons fabricate the rhetoric, the image and the aura necessary to maintain the illusion that they are democratic societies while they act in ways that are antithetical to democracy. If you are a fledging nation or polity who wants to develop into a full blown “democratic” hegemon, we will help you create a shimmering democratic “creation myth” with any parts of your nation’s history that contradict this myth (slavery, genocide, colonialism) expunged.

We have “democratic creation myths” of all shapes and sizes:

For $27.99 you can purchase the “colorful tale of revolutionary heroes overthrowing an autocratic regime and starting a republic”

For $19.99 we will help you construct a national anthem in 4/4 time that tells the narrative of how your republic was born and reaches a climactic denouement

For $7.99 we can help you choose your national colors and design a flag that involves a convoluted esoteric story about how those colors are related to the birth of your republic

Every democratic hegemon-to-be goes through four stages of training at the Institute for Political Hypocrisy:

1.) ERASURE (erasure of history of indigenous people exterminated or other factors that don’t fit your democratic “creation myth”)

2.) HISTORICAL AMNESIA (convenient “forgetfulness” of various assassinations of foreign leaders, invasions, and overthrows of democratic regimes all over the world)

3.) MYSTIFICATION (create a smokescreen or fog that obfuscates your colonialist and imperialist intentions)

4.) DEMONIZATION OF THE “OTHER” (demonize world leaders of countries who threaten the logic of Western hegemony: Khomeni, Gadaffi, Noriega, Castro, Arafat, Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Osama, and Putin)

5.) The final goal and most sublime level of the Institute for Political
Hypocrisy training program is to achieve “mythology.” Barthes “mythologies” are ways of thinking and doing that masquerade as “nature” emptied of their historical specificity, imbued with a patina of inevitability and timelessness. Myth is an airless vacuum, that which needs no justification, things that seem to appear already fully formed, assumptions so internalized they don’t need to assert themselves as something distinct from what would already be taken for granted as true.

“Myth” is a special rarefied status that not every hegemon can hope to achieve. After achieving the level of “myth” you will be able to use your status as a “democracy” as a blank check exoneration to do all sorts of things that are antithetical to democracy.


Summer sale!!! FOR $79.99 YOU CAN BUY YOURSELF a United Nations Cash Register Coalition!!! (bribe various European and Eastern Bloc nations to support your invasion of Iraq by offering them financial aid!)

User Comments:

“The Institute for Political Hypocrisy was a great training program! I was just a small nation with a previously toppled regime, struggling to gain acceptance on the world stage of the Big Boys of Democratic Hegemons. But in less than 6 months, I learned how to foster an irreconcilable gap between the benevolent rhetoric and belligerent reality of my foreign policy and use my democratic creation myth to get away with the military invasion of a “rogue state,” which in less than 18 months was transformed into a Democratic McEmpire client state!”

-Secret Service agent of unidentified country

“Not only were the people at the Institute for Political Hypocrisy terrific, but I love these little perks you get, such as unlimited access to the Cold War Rhetoric Cabinet, the Frosty Scud Missile Fresh Makeover spa, and the disposable packets of Kurdish independence used to destabilize a Middle Eastern antagonist country. The Institute for Political Hypocrisy is a MUST for any nation thinking of using democracy to exploit resources all over the globe!”
-Developing 2nd World Countries

The quality of mercy is not strained

Mladen Dolar

The Merchant of Venice pits against each other two kinds of logic: on the one hand Shylock, the merciless usurer, the miser, the Jew, extorting a pound of flesh to collect his debt; on the other hand Portia, the harbinger of Christian charity and mercy. Shylock, a figure announcing capitalist modernity, would thus stand for the cruel and ruthless part of the budding capitalism, accumulation and exploitation, based on interests and extracting the pound of flesh — Marx often referred to him in this light. He is inscribed in the long line of misers, stretching back to Plautus and forth to Molière’s Harpagon, Balzac’s Gobsec and finally Dickens’s Scrooge, the last miser who miraculously converted to charity and mercy. Portia seems to stand for a pre-modern logic of mercy, a magnanimous free gift not expecting anything in return, yet a gift which opens up a debt that cannot be repaid. In a historical reversal Portia could be seen as the figure announcing the new stage of capitalism, the economy of endless debt, of being at the mercy of an unfathomable Other, constantly falling short, unable to acquit one’s debt, grateful for one’s means of survival. Maybe one could read Shakespeare’s parable as a two stage-scenario: first the economy of avarice conditioning accumulation and extortion, then the economy of mercy and infinite debt.

Une Propagation Du Nouvel Alphabet Lettrique / A Propagation Of The New Lettrist Alphabet

Marc Matter & Robert M Ochshorn

Marc Matter will present a Web-Application of a project that he worked out during his time as Researcher at JVE in 2012 together with Robert M Ochshorn. Voice-Recordings using the sound letters of the `New Lettrist Alphabet´ (as proposed by Isidore Isou in 1947) are manipulated with experimental audio-processing (incl. turntables & mixing desks) and composed to soundpieces detourning a drawing by mathematician and amateurs artist Francois Norguet (as published in OU review 40/41 in 1972) into a graphic score as interpreted by a graph-theoretic computer program.
Programming and Software Engineering by Robert M Ochshorn; Concept, Voice, Turntables, Mixing and Editing by Marc Matter.

Leveling Negativity: On Received Views of Spinozist and Hegelian Theories of Institutions

Olivier Surel

For anyone who wants to explore the tension that persists between the two major figures of political thought that are Spinoza and Hegel, there is an easy albeit misleading way: characterizing the former’s philosophy as one of affirmation, and the latter’s, as one of negativity. In my presentation, I will first attempt to characterize such a gesture as the inflation of the content of historical conceptual schemes to “tropes” defining sets of contemporary political attitudes. In a second moment, I will isolate the latter gesture in the framework of contemporary social ontology, in order to give hints at a fine deployment of the theories of institutions emanating respectively from the Political Treatise and the “Ethicity” chapter of the Philosophy of Right.

Writing Together

Alan Smart and Jack Henrie Fisher

On the evening of 24 July the design collective Other Forms will stage a writing workshop to test the limits of the production of sense in disjunction, recombination and assemblage.

In Writing Together literal and material operations of excerpting, printing, and reassembling will be collectively executed in conversation with the audience, in an environment of hospitality (i.e. party). We will write together a short text on the theme of catastrophe, a text which could potentially become the preface for a book to come — a first collective iteration of the discourse of the week of Justifiable Versions of Events.
Writing Together will employ a process of composition by which sheets of printed paper are arranged on a physical framework, in a way that makes explicit the material substrate upon which the performance of writing depends, and thereby frames an investigation of relations between the materiality of texts, the manual labor of reading, and the construction of concepts in language. Interventions will be made in real time through a process of feedback between performer/operators, participants, and output texts.

The workshop will be organized in an open-format event structure in which participants are invited to move through the space, watch and take part as they wish. Turkish Gözlemepancakes and beer will be served.

‘Spinoza Lector: On What Reading The Ethics Out Loud Brings To and Takes From the Text’, §16, The Swerve of Freedom After Spinoza

Jonathan Lahey Dronsfield

“One dreams of Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’ read by Alain Cuny.” Why? Because the voice dramatizes the concept thus giving up new affects and perceptions of it. So Deleuze. He is speaking of the actor’s voice, or rather of the voice that acts the text. Well let’s see. We propose to read Spinoza’s ‘Ethics’ out loud. Over a period of 24 hours. Inviting comment question intervention. Let us de-abstract and actualise Spinoza’s concepts under what Lyotard calls “the responsibility of mouths and eyes of the flesh”. For Deleuze the ‘Ethics’ is a composition – of speeds and slownesses and differential rhythm. And an affective reading would begin anywhere within it without an idea of the whole. In other words, it does not matter at what point over the 24 hours you enter the text. “Anyone can read the ‘Ethics'” – if that is they are prepared to be “swept up in its wind, its fire”.

Our reading will be recorded, and the transcript of every word we say published unedited.


My Painting is a Field

Simone van Dijken

I will perform a short poem, titled ‘My Painting is a Field’, as well as present selected paintings and/or works on paper. The poem is an attempt to cut, slice and distort the established order found in literature and oppose it to an action of rupture, which painting is to me. In my exhibited works I explore the personal and its periphery, which includes visceral trigger zones, such as ugliness and undermining virtuosity. The act of painting and drawing is about undoing habits and assumptions that are set in a system of (social, gender-) constructs. Therefore, the finished works are not only an attempt to juxtapose but also proposals for an undoing.

After Catastrophe. From Beckett to Žižek

Gregor Moder

For Aristotle, the term catastrophe simply denotes the final resolution of the plot, whether it is merry or sad. Beckett’s plays can be called “catastrophic” in the precise sense of taking place at the end or even, in some sense, after the end. I argue that this is the reason why Waiting for Godot (among other plays) should only be read as a comedy – and not as tragicomedy as the author himself suggested. Waiting for Godot takes place when the disaster has already occurred and therefore cannot serve as a basis for the tragic hero’s desperate attempt to prevent it. There is nothing more liberating and nothing more comic than the realization that catastrophe already happened.

Moving Clouds

Helmut Voelter

The Movements of Clouds around Mount Fuji, Photographed and Filmed by Masanao Abe

Starting from August 4, 1926, the Japanese physicist Masanao Abe (1891-1966) observed the movements of clouds around Mt. Fuji for over 15 years, until 1941. His belief was that by recording photographically all visible forms and behaviours of clouds, one would finally be able to deduce and understand the invisible air currents around the mountain. Abe’s now forgotten and yet unpublished work was part of my research at the JVE. His hypothesis turned out to be not wrong, but not right either: The clouds’ movements are indeed a result of the invisible air currents, but they are far too complex to be categorized or used as indicators. So, how should his assets, consisting of hundreds of photographs and films, be called today? A scientific dead end, a personal failure, a proof that something cannot be proven, a systematic collection of still and moving images without an external reference point? My book on Abe tries to keep his documents in their state of uncertainty: they are scientific evidences for a lost or yet unknown purpose, the results of an personal fascination in photography and film, and they are, intended or unintended, visual studies of form, movement, light, weather and landscape.

Derrida’s Adieu to Levinas: The Catastrophe of Onto-theology

Michael Weinman

Derrida ends “Adieu,” with the mere, “Adieu, Emmanuel.” In this way, he says goodbye to his friend, in public, in the simplest, least adorned way possible. At the same time, and for the very same reason—given that it will be necessary to think again what we mean when we say a-Dieu—he is citing his own responsibility to his friend, his friend who has now disclosed to him the catastrophe of (each and every, single) death. A responsibility to bear witness to that which Levinas’s given name itself bears witness, and which is so hard to say for those who have received testimony about that which Levinas and so many others experienced in the cataclysmic center of the twentieth century. That “God is with us.”

So. “Adieu, Emmanuel.” At once a statement of benediction addressed to the “without response” and a statement of benediction addressed to those who gathered—and still gather—to mourn, to commemorate, to celebrate the life and work of Emmanuel Levinas. And, I can say, this holds for those (like us here today?) who gather to commemorate the work of Jacques Derrida. To those, Derrida says (and he says he can say so only because of Levinas, because of the man whose name is a sign of this “emanatory” truth), “God is with us.”

And to these, I say, he’s right. If there is something that could answer to the name “Dieu” it is not to be sought—as onto-theology would have it—in the question of Being. Rather it is that which remains a haunting presence for us who practice the “politics of mourning,” in publicly acknowledging our responsibility to those we [have] love[d], and who understand ourselves as constituted from the radical otherness of the other who precedes me and in whose wake alone my existence is possible.

For a theory of non-catastrophic politics

Katja Diefenbach

The disjunction of thematical and interventionist critique in cultural and academic production has been for decades the favorite topic of situationism and its inheritors. From Debord’s society of the spectacle through Baudrillard’s total autonomisation of exchange value to the critique of cybernetic management by Tiqqun and the Invisible Committee, time has been presented in the figure of its catastrophic exhaustion from which a single counter mechanism shall make us subtract – inoperativity, gift, the commune of friendship and arms, etc.etc. By turning to Spinoza’s anarchic metaphysics, I will present several hypotheses for a theory of non-catastrophic politics that reject the eschatological extremism that seems to be so much en vogue again in divergent fractions of the Left, in communisation theory, accelerationism or in post-situationist positions. Though Spinoza did not manage to relate consistently the physical idea of the self-formation of matter to the metaphysical idea of the self-generation of Being, in attempting to do so, he designed a couple of exceptional limit-concepts that helped him to sketch an anomalous theory of politics. In a realist tradition, he neither ridiculed nor excluded negative, decreased or depotentialised affects but conceived them as expression of the social conditions, in which, not against which, politics has to be made. Centuries before Nietzsche and Foucault he thought that the forces that pass through the individuals are catalysers both of liberation and oppression alike. A theory of politics had thus to grasp the critical points where processes of liberation turn into oppression. Presupposition was to abandon the idea of politics being a radical act of liberation and replacing it by the idea that politics is a transindividual experiment in interrupting, in the process of liberation, the reemergence of destructive and reactionary forces.

LUNA & Wandering Through the Future

Marjolijn Dijkman

I would like to bring in two works as a starting point.

One could be used as a potential meetingtable that host some discussions on effects of issues relating to catastrophy and the industrial revolution:
LUNÄ is a facsimile of the original table around which an influential group of industrialists, poets, inventors, doctors, writers, physicists, chemists and thinkers known as the Lunar Society met each month in Birmingham between 1765 and 1813. Members included James Watt, Josiah Wedgewood, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestley and Erasmus Darwin and they forged strong links with Bristol based contemporaries including Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Thomas Beddoes. Since January 2011 the table is used in different locations including England, Austria and the Netherlands for an ongoing series of critical discussions updating topics that occupied the Lunar Men as new scientific and industrial developments, but also art, education and social rights. LUNÄ collapses the optimistically progressive value systems that were enthusiastically promoted during the Enlightenment into the mass production and globalised retail environment that can be seen as their legacy today. LUNÄ is a replica of the Lunar table in the Soho house combined with a set of eight IKEA chairs.

And the other is a work I made while I was at the Jan van Eyck in 2007 and relates to the catastrophy imagined by science fiction movies:
Wandering through the Future consists of clips from seventy movies compiled into a sixty minute video. The compilation takes viewers on a journey through popular cinema’s reservoir of scenarios for the future, ordered chronologically according to the date in which they are set, from 2008 until 802.701 AD.
An accompanying graphic timeline charts how far into the future the various films take us. The timeline made apparent that only very few science fiction films, produced in the optimism of the late 1960s and 70s, project their visions into a very distant future, and imagine a future reality that is desirable. But recent films all present apocalyptic scenarios, set in times that are increasingly near. They envision ecological and biological catastrophes, alien invasions, but most of all technological meltdown.

Lovers in Time – (Post)Colonial Trauma and Theatre in Zimbabwe

Agnieszka Piotrowska

The presentation will consist of a paper as well as audio visual material in the form of clips and/or a gallery installation. This is work in progress so debate would be most welcome.

The heart of the presentation is the catastrophe which for Southern Africans was the arrival of the white settler. In today’s Zimbabwe at the end of 19th century the white settlers were originally welcomed by a female she warrior and a spirit medium called Mbuya Nehanda, accompanied by her (male) friend, collaborator and possibly lover, Kaguvi. When all the promises were betrayed, Mbuya Nehanda led an uprising against the white settlers and was captured and then executed, alongside Kaguvi. This catastrophic event has been used throughout the struggles for independence to inspire resistance and was a call to arms. Kaguvi and Nehanda are national icons.

Recently a contemporary Zimbabwean black writer Blessing Hungwe and myself joined forces in order to interrogate whether the trauma of that disaster can be re-told and re-narrated in a way which would open a space for a dialogue. The play, which was a surreal comedy, premiered for the first time at the Harare International Festival of the Arts in May 2014. It was the most controversial production of the festival. We we were accused of mocking national icons – mocking history of the liberation itself.

Academically, I am interested in interrogating both the notion of embodiment and also the version of events which is unchangeable, fixed, patriarchal instead of fluid, meandering and subject to re-interpretation. Can the catastrophe of the event itself, the trauma of its memory be subverted through humour?

lovers in time

Remote Sensor

Haseeb Ahmed

I would like to make a presentation which is both a talk and has a small exhibition component about my recent work that sits at the intersection of art and fluid Dynamics. I am trying to make art with the wind.

remote sensor

In particular I am creating vortexes inside of wind tunnels. Wind tunnels are scaling machines. My talk and work also scales. My work on the Von Karman Street Double Vortex is also a study of why the flag of every nation flies in the wind as well as a look at global weather patterns in as it is the same vortex that forms over the island of Madiera in the Grand Canaries.

I will connect this with no longer functioning wind tunnels outside of Berlin in which I am currently working as well.

The Great Encounter, The End

Anna-Luise Lorenz

‘The Great Encounter, The Ending’ is the story of the rise and fall of belief systems, the emergence of new realities and their fragile state of permanent transition:

Imagine yourself in a dark space. Without any point of visual reference or sensory clues, how do you know if you are either floating, or forever falling? And now imagine: without any notion of change, how do you know the duration of the moment you are living in?

Welcome to the Island of Eternal Life, orbiting around the vast empty ocean of planet Earth. With no notion of passage of time its inhabitants are adapting to their belief system of stasis: moments of no-change, stringed together to infinity. History is nullified by a permanent loop of amnesia. Its inhabitants are in a happy state of pre-birth. The illusion of eternity turns into reality. One day, the Island of Eternal Life meets the Island of Ultimate Beauty. This occurrence introduces ‘The Different’, and begins what some called ‘The Great Encounter’, others ‘The Ending’.

Is the terrorist the new avant-garde artist?

Artur Beifuss

We look at some possible considerations taken into account when designing visual propaganda, PR and branding strategies or terrorist groups.

To begin we look at al-Qaeda from a corporate communications perspective. Then we compare al-Qaeda to other terrorist groups how their strategies are similar to the strategies of iconic brands.

In the second part we will look at the use of the body in terrorist propaganda. What does it really mean when we see a beheading of a hostage? Do the terrorists really lack a moral compass? And what about the photos of naked and abused Arab men in the US run prison Abu Ghraib in Iraq that made the headlines in 2003?

tag: branding, logotypes, terrorists, body in propaganda, iconic brands, Marcel Mauss, Baudrillard

With/out a reason to play

J. Krohn

“Before you play two notes learn how to play one note — and don’t play one note unless you’ve got a reason to play it.” — Mark Hollis (1998)

With/out a reason to play —- Three 10 minute electronic compositions -— A, B, and C —- will develop sequentially containing only 1, 2, and 3 notes, respectively. A basis for a catastrophe of production and reception may be momentarily opened in the conjunction of necessity and improvisation.

After the 30 min performance, the compositions will be immediately published as a either a series of unbound pages or a one-to-one scale real-time audio reproduction, or both.

More info: Stave.


Jayme Yen and Kristin Posehn

Working backwards and sideways, Jayme Yen and Kristin Posehn propose a series of experimental signs provisionally titled “Mutually Assured Catastrophe”.

We suggest that two heads are better than one at screwing things up.

Our collaboration will take the form of an extended game of poster tennis. We will volley our work back and forth in a process of actively engaged catastrophe. Renouncing typical communication, we will instead invite each other to inflict abstract, slow moving disasters upon each other’s efforts. Inspired by Archigram, Spanish Civil War posters, and pinterest searches under the heading “catastrophe”, we will work with abundant agitation, non-specific futurism, and a sense of inertia as impending doom.

The resulting series of 3-4 posters would be mailed to Jan Van Eyck Alumni Association Headquarters in due time for the Berlin Conference, and jpegs would be made available for JVEAA dissemination online.

Ama Saru, Hsiao Chen, Peggy Tan, Antonio Serna, ChiChi

We have been watching a disaster movie that never seems to end. While we are anticipating something catastrophic, we are compelled to just roll the credits instead.

We would like to document everyone’s participation in this film. We will collect each person’s name, age and nationality alone with the roles they played. Asking each person to name one thing that he or she thinks will no longer exist once the film ends.

All the information collected will be compiled into a video work.
Free the spectators, everyone can now go home.

Catastrophe – Catharsis

Mary Ikoniadou

Pyrsos (Torch), was a bimonthly Greek language lifestyle magazine published in the German Democratic Republic by Greek political refugees who resided in the socialist states after the end of the Greek civil war. The Greek Civil War was amongst the bloodiest in Greek history. Its catastrophic results transformed Greece beyond the battlefields in every aspect of the social life for decades and its resonance is still evident today. The visual presentation will explore the political role of the magazine’s design and image production and identify the ways in which different, sociopolitical dynamics, infiltrate and entangle forms of visualisation with process of subjectification.

Stiegler after Derrida: On a Return of History

Michael Lewis

The hypothesis we wish to test is that, to correctly understand the present, we have to be able to show that it is the outcome of a single history and amounts to the lowest point of that history. This might be taken to be one of the preconditions for thinking of the present as a ‘catastrophe’.

And yet, if Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger, provide models of this kind of history, two of the most crucial post-Hegelian, post-Nietzschean, post-Heideggerian thinkers in contemporary philosophy, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, seem unwilling to provide us with such an understanding of history. Derrida’s deconstruction is for the most part critical of the notion of history as such, as if history could only be understood as a single history, with a single beginning and a single end (‘archae-teleology’), so that often it seems as if the very concept of history is irredeemably ‘metaphysical’, while Foucault’s thought attempts to present a new vision of history opposed to Hegel and Heidegger (while indebted to the latter), that would multiply a supposedly unified and uni-directional history, and produce, in contrast to Derrida, a positive theory of history that would be utterly non-metaphysical.

Are we then able to discover, between deconstruction’s near-elision of history and Foucault’s post-metaphysical history, a form of history that would allow us to speak of a single uni-directional history in the sense that Hegel and Heidegger intended, but without ignoring Derrida and Foucault’s intervention? This is to say, rather than simply taking the usual, frequently doctrinaire dialectical materialist, Marxist theory of history and bypassing these thinkers altogether, we aim to take them absolutely seriously and to test the hypothesis that French philosopher, Bernard Stiegler’s work, produced from out of a confrontation with Derrida’s, offers us one possible way to do this.

We are in general interested in a set of discourses (of which we pick just one here) which allow certain concepts that have long been presumed deconstructed to return to philosophy, but without simply regressing to a point prior to this deconstruction. In particular, these are the oppositions between nature and culture (or, as Stiegler has it, ‘technics’), nature and humanity, the animal and the human.

Scenes of instruction, scenes of insurrection, or, From aura to xerox — the case of A FIERY FLYING ROULE

Eirik Steinhoff

What can you fit on one sheet of paper? & how do you get the copy machine to do it double-sided?

This confessional discussion will describe how tactics of mechanical reproduction developed for the classroom found their way into the streets in the Bay Area during the episode history calls “Occupy Oakland” (a.k.a. “the Oakland Commune”), with further reflections on how that praxis continues, inflected and in exile, back in school.

The English word “catastrophe” comes from the Greek kata (down) + strophe (turn). In other words, be sure to place originals face down.

A Fiery Flying Roule

Analytical Chronology of Three Dimensions

Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry

We propose to show our short film Analytical Chronology of Three Dimensions. The systems of grammatical language bring order to our relationship with space and time; one particular type of order. Might there be other orders?

Analytical Chronology of Three Dimensions is an experiment in developing a cinematic grammar based on the spatial-temporal properties of lingual grammar. Grammatical tenses become camera movements as a series of tenses applied to simple verbs are expressed in relation to various types of space: the abstract mathematical space expressed in a geometry textbook, the physical space of a building, its architectural maquette, and the projected space of the video itself.

Analytical Chronology of Three Dimensions
HD Video
Duration 3.50min
Produced with Wysing Arts Centre

On The Metapolygonal Condition (Render Farm Apocalypse II)

A. Negrelli

Today, all fields of spatial representation seem to melt down to one major tool: CGI, Computer Generated Imagery, which basically signifies the digital interpretation of physical laws, represented in polygonal graphics. The research is trying to explore the struggle between unbound mimetic efforts and dry reality, related to the technological quake of the moment.
Chosen examples may reveal an approach on the metapolygonal condition.

slideshow-lecture / discussion
about 60 min.

© pict: Activision

Works In Egress

Miranda Mellis

I propose to read from speculative, formally experimental, and brief non-fictions in progress, which adopt, for now, the grid as a model for essaying. The numerical bases of the essays – their visual and mathematical forms – are imbricated with their content, which is focused on experimental literary and artistic works that shed new light on a range of proximal disciplinary projects and questions. For example, one grid micro-essay, “Dog, Cloud, Cosmos” (just out from PictureBox press), explores how the cult painter Xylor Jane uses painting to explore (and revel in) pure math. “Magic IS A Culture: Defixiones to Interior Scroll,” constellates works by a poets, theorists, artists and musicians to explore the “curse” as a justice-seeking lyric form. My preoccupations have included, over the years, thinking about how prefiguration, the imaginary, and the proleptic seem to function psychologically, politically, and narratively. I have written many stories exploring how people, particularly young people, use magical thinking and placebo effects – arguably forms of prefiguration and prolepsis – to cope with and outwit trauma. The imaginary and the fantastical become aspirational heuristics in otherwise opaque, unknowable, uncertain situations. The characters in many of my stories lack access to “common knowledge”, and it is by means of the imaginary, and fantasy, that they gain a semblance of agency, however dream-like. The grid essays explore similar terrain less fictively.

JVE(A): Justifiable Versions of the End (Apocalypse)

Oxana Timofeeva

The talk presents an analysis of such themes as the end of the world, the end of history, and apocalypse. In opposition to a futurist imaginary of various forthcoming disasters, it proposes an original idea of catastrophic time, which breaks the screen of the time of historical reality and relate our experience to the past, and develops a political interpretation of post-apocalyptic situation. Catastrophe is a central term of this analysis, as what defines the borders of a collective and the true sense of what we call history. As opposed to what is usually said, the time of catastrophe is not the future, but the present, which we can only grasp as the past: the time itself is catastrophic.

Adaptive Irritation

Jonathan Lukens

While it may be easier – and more cathartic – to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism, it is even easier for (either) the laziest (or most ambitious among us–I’m still thinking it over) to imagine the continuation of the present. In a world which is alleged to be changing, in which __________ may soon be a thing of the past, I propose a scenario planning workshop to address the possibility that everything may stay the same. This supposes a sort of adaptive present in which the fragility and contingent nature of infrastructure and other substrates of modernity fail to be disrupted. Inspired by the theme of catastrophe, I wish to facilitate speculation into its absence: the boring possibility of modernity continuing on unmolested.
To that end, I borrow a distinction from the study of ecosystem management: the difference between engineering resilience, which defines resilience as the ability to withstand the disturbance of, and return to, a single point of equilibrium; and ecosystem resilience, in which a system may have multiple points of equilibrium, and disruptions force the system from one state into another. This involves inverse relationships between optimization and resilience, and adaptive management and hierarchical, command and control systems.
I wish to employ these concepts to assist participants in imagining a sort of resilient and adaptive modernity in which everything exploitive, annoying, and alienating fails to be destroyed and simply changes shape. Like watching a video loop of a man failing to slip on a banana peel, only then can things truly become mildly amusing.

The Designer-Agent: Jan van Toorn at Van Abbemuseum, 1964-1973

Anusia Grennell

In this dissertation, the work of designer Jan van Toorn at Van Abbemuseum is examined in terms of its relation to a field of practice called institutional critique. It is argued that in collaboration with museum director Jean Leering the graphic designer succeeded in producing a body of work that, upon reflection, affirms the designer’s role within the field of the museum, particularly in terms of this critical practice.

For the purposes of this dissertation, I investigate examples of institutional critique and identify 5 key features with which to build a framework to analyse a selection of the graphic design products of the museological collaboration between van Toorn and Leering. This analysis finds that the designer’s work for the museum embodied these features of institutional critique. It is reasoned that van Toorn identified with this critical practice and employed a similar critique in his designs for Van Abbemuseum in an effort to widen the self-reflexive capacity of institutional graphic design, and ultimately, to help form a more culturally and socially responsible institution and public.

Après le Déluge

Art Rimbaud

As soon as the idea of the Flood was finished, a hare halted in the clover and the trembling flower bells, and said its prayer to the rainbow through the spider’s web.
Oh! The precious stones that hid, – the flowers that gazed around them.
In the soiled main street stalls were set, they hauled the boats down to the sea rising in layers as in the old prints.
Blood flowed, at Blue-beard’s house – in the abattoirs in the circuses where God’s promise whitened the windows. Blood and milk flowed.
The beavers built. The coffee cups steamed in the bars.
In the big greenhouse that was still streaming, the children in mourning looked at the marvellous pictures.
A door banged, and, on the village-green, the child waved his arms, understood by the cocks and weathervanes of bell-towers everywhere, under the bursting shower.
Madame *** installed a piano in the Alps. The Mass and first communions were celebrated at the hundred thousand altars of the cathedral.
Caravans departed. And the Hotel Splendide was built in the chaos of ice and polar night.
Since then, the Moon’s heard jackals howling among the deserts of thyme – and pastoral poems in wooden shoes grumbling in the orchard. Then, in the burgeoning violet forest, Eucharis told me it was spring.

Rise, pond: – Foam, roll over the bridge and under the trees: – black drapes and organs – thunder and lightning rise and roll: – Waters and sadness rise and raise the Floods again.
Because since they abated – oh, the precious stones burying themselves and the opened flowers! – It’s wearisome! And the Queen, the Sorceress who lights her fire in the pot of earth, will never tell us what she knows, and what we are ignorant of.