New Mobilities

(Looks very interesting. Note that it includes a set of readings. I have RSVP’d for this already.)

Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics

The Centre for Contemporary Art and Politics, CoFA, UNSW is inviting applications from potential participants in

New Mobilities

The workshop will be organised around a series of separate platforms spread across the three-day period. Facilitators will prepare sets of reading materials for participants, which will be circulated at least one month prior to the workshop. Readings are intended to provide the basis for discussion for each of the platforms but participants will not be expected to be experts in all material. The emphasis in workshop sessions will be upon open, rigorous and inclusive discussion rather then paper performance and presentation.

Sessions will also be organised around film, video and sonic material with special screening times set aside. There will also be opportunities to contribute to an open VJ remix of participant-generated audiovisual material. All facilitators will participate across the entire workshop but will be responsible for particular platforms.The different platforms reflect a range of practices and disciplinary perspectives but are designed to interconnect and to promote cross-disciplinary engagement. Invited participants may have particular interest or expertise in one platform but are encouraged to attend all sessions.

Platform 1: perceptual mobilities: facilitated by Brian Massumi andErin Manning

How does perception become mobile; how do subjects and brains that are always shifting perceive mobility?

Perception is no longer a matter of a stable subject grasping hold of a world of reliable objects, or even of that subject bringing order to a shifting world.The increased mobility of the social world, new technologies and aesthetics of mobility, and new dynamic concepts of perception, memory and thinking processes have changed everything. It is as if, as Deleuze and Guattari write,”I thought I had reached port; but I seemed to be cast back again into the open sea”. If cultural practices based on older concepts of perception are dramatically challenged today, the call is to respond with new concepts, and new transdisciplinary cultural practices that take the mobility of perception into account.

Platform 2: social movements: facilitated by Sandro Mezzadra, BrettNielson and Niamh Stephenson

How does movement acquire a sense of the political?

Social movements are attributed a political character in ways that seem obvious, but are also delimited. Such mobilisations occur within public spaces of negotiation or conflict. The ascendancy of social movements within a certain space and time of the political is registered by the recent prominence of the figure of the activist, who might be distinguished from the revolutionary, the partisan, the militant or any other figure that has come to occupy the space of politics, or radical politics, in other times. Yet the activist is essentially an empty figure, ready to be filled by whatever content or set of aims, apparently neutral. One can be an environmental activist, student activist, animal rights activist, and so on. In this, the activist remains caught in the oscillation of citizen and subject that is the hallmark of modern politics in its formally constituted senses.

This platform will explore practical and theoretical strategies for moving beyond this sense of activism, which cannot but help define what is properly political by determining in advance that which does not count as politics. Taking its cue from the crisis of representation and the processes of depoliticisation to which activism is conceived as a response, the platform turns its attention to another sense of movement: the play of potential and actuality that unfolds as kinesis. Most immediately this involves a focus on cross-border migration. What is at stake in understanding such movement as politically constitutive? How does this question both the sovereign politics of border control and the juridical conceit of bare life? How are such movements to be read in the context of historic capitalism as well as the material transformations that borders are presently undergoing? How does the sense of potentiality as labour power impinge on these movements at a time when market rights radically challenge territorially-based principles of citizenship? What are the consequences for politics of flight or the refusal of subjectivities that are to be governed or recognised as subjects of the political?

Platform 3: aesthetic movements: facilitated by Jill Bennett andJennifer Biddle

How does a process-based aesthetics work, and how is the mobility of affect central to political art and ethnographic film practice?

Concepts such as relational aesthetics, dialogic aesthetics and migratory aesthetics configure aesthetics as inherently process-based and politicalengaged with an outside world and with people. This has radicalised thinking about intercultural and collective dynamics in art/exhibition practice, while also raising empirical questions about the way such resonance and connectedness actually operate. How is affect mobilized within an exhibition, so that it avoids individuation of work and becomes minoritarian; at what points or by which processes are distinct events discerned and connected; how does the migration of form (an expressed principle of the Documenta 12 exhibitions, for example) constitute a material substrate of political aesthetics?

In addition to being absorbed as a constitutive part of the contemporary art exhibition, documentary and ethnographic film has itself developedminoritarian, relational and intercultural political styles that complicate testimonial and representational endeavours. Mimesis, reenactment, affect, and theatricality are now primary modalities of political art/film, and of visual anthropologies, constituting the basis of collective enunciation. This platform will focus on the material and empirical basis of aesthetic operations, affect mobility and connectivity in political/ethnographic video/art/exhibition practice.

Platform 4: media mobilities: facilitated by Michele Barker, AnnaMunster and Andrew Murphie

How can the relation between new technologies, new media and mobility be so constitutive and at the same time indeterminate?

New and old technologies and media have often been conceived as determinants of social and cultural change. In particular, the mobile, wireless and locative ‘nature’ of current computational technologies seems to be a force of and for contemporary mobilisation. But equally the questions that need to be asked are: To what extent do the new technics of mobility challenge classical understandings of mediation, technology and the social? What new (mobile) terrain arises when dealing with both the virtual and actual dimensions of media ecologies and the new, shifting ensembles of the socio-technical?How do we diagram or map the new technologies and techniques of mobility?

What kinds of ecologies do these produce and what ecological frameworks might both assist us and further mobilise media? Can we also map the social processes, individuation of collectivities or subjectivities new technologies and techniques of mobility make possible? What modes of living, what relations of work and loving come into being in a mobile world?We will raise these as practico-aesthetic questions during the workshop by both looking at, and participating in, a range of new media practices such as contributing to wikis, online mapping and mashing and VJing. Elements of thisaspect of the workshop will involve opportunities to contribute rich media material online digital video, sound and text – and to remix this material using VJing and DJing software. No prior experience will be expected.

Where: College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales workshops will be held in large and small rooms allowing for small and large group work and discussion

When: December 6-8, 2007 from 10am6pm each day and also including a special evening session around movement-art-cinema on December 7, followed by supper and discussion

Cost: $375 full price/$150 postgraduate students. This includes 3 lunches and morning and afternoon tea each day.

2 replies on “New Mobilities”

  1. yeah, that circulated on the old Spoons Lyotard (now Badiou, Event) list soon after it was first published.

    It reminds me of what D&G wrote about drug addicts wildly de-stratifying and being on a “line of abolition”.

    I am paranoid about the ‘culture industry’ reading and maybe understanding my dissertation. It will give them awesome conceptual tools for understanding and then better exploiting enthusiasms.

    The mobility paradigm of the above is a bit problematic. I prefer to think of consistencies of organisation (ie assemblages) within which there are openings and blockages of flow. For most of the generation I belong to there has been nothing but mobility…

    I am very curious about the first day. My second chapter of the diss is on ‘know how’ which I define in terms of the shifting capacity of the enthusiast body to translate the contingency of a ‘problem’ into the of a ‘challenge’ (the discourse of ‘meeting the challenege’ is very prominant in modified-car culture). I draw on Deleuze’s early work on Hume and Massumi and others. It is one of the ways I define the culture as ‘masculine’, because it is determined by what enthusiasts ‘do’ and not their ‘identity’. I get really funky in the diss when I shift from socio-technical contingencies (‘errors of the black box’) to more straightforward social contingencies that belong to a scene.

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