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Irit Rogoff for the 30th Annual Hilla Rebay Lecture at the Guggenheim

VisCult’s Irit Rogoff will be giving the 30th Annual Hilla Rebay Lecture at the Guggenheim in New York on 4th April 2018.

In this lecture, Irit Rogoff explores the “research turn” within art and curating—how research has moved from being a contextual activity that grounds the production and exhibition of art to a mode of inhabiting the art world in its own right. A writer, teacher, curator, and organizer, Rogoff works at the intersection of contemporary art, critical theory, and emergent political manifestations. She is Professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she heads the Curatorial/Knowledge PhD program and the Global Arts MA program. This lecture is followed by a reception.

Free, RSVP for updates.

The Hilla Rebay Lecture brings distinguished scholars to the Guggenheim Museum to examine significant issues in the theory, criticism, and history of art. This annual program is made possible through the generosity of The Hilla von Rebay Foundation.

For more information and to RSVP, visit the Guggenheim website here.

PERFORM NOW! The Potentials of a Living Archive

A full recording of last week’s event, “PERFORM NOW!“, hosted by Block Universe and Goldsmiths is now up online.

The event description is below:

To coincide with the launch of the fourth edition of Block Universe, London’s leading International Performance Art Festival; this panel discussion will bring together a number of contributors across disciplines to discuss past and current dynamics of performance art in the UK, and providing a platform to consider the historical significance of the ephemeral nature of performance art, through the lens and personal accounts of artists, critics, curators and academics.

The participants include the subversive 1980s performance group The Neo NaturistsEllen Van Schuylenburch, one of the founding members of Michael Clark Company, Jane Pritchard, curator of dance for the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Lois Keidan, director of the London-based Live Art Development Agency – LADA, as well as artists Evan Ifekoya & Victoria Sin, who are both contributing to this year’s edition of the Block Universe.

Together we will explore ideas of an active, living archive,  one that takes into account the ability of performance to sustain itself and live on through the body rather than the record, thus re-positioning the body as the centre for knowledge in place of the archive. Can we take the inherent choreographic vocabulary in dance as an example? How can performance as memory exist?

Circling Cinenova

VisCult’s Catherine Grant, in collaboration with the feminist film distributors Cinenova, has been successful in acquiring CHASE funding for a new PhD studentship to be run at Goldsmiths, now open for applications.

The project, “Circling Cinenova: A history of an evolving feminist arts organisation”, will investigate an important history of collaborative feminist organising in the arts. Tracing the early history of the organisation Cinenova alongside its current activities, this project will explore the resonances in its evolution for the present day. The partnership with Cinenova will provide access to their archives and the ethos of this feminist organisation that curates, conserves and distributes women’s film and video.

Supervised by Dr Catherine Grant, in the Art Department at Goldsmiths, University of London and Charlotte Procter from the Cinenova working group, this PhD would be particularly suited to candidates with a background in art history, film studies and/or feminism.

For more information, you can download a PDF from CHASE about the project here.

Free Knowledge!

The CITY journal special feature, “The Urban Process Under Planetary Accumulation by Dispossession”, guest-edited by VisCult’s Louis Moreno and LSE’s Hyun Bang Shin is out now.

The editor’s introduction to the issue is available to read now here for free.

Louis’s solo contribution, “Always crashing in the same city: Real estate, psychic capital and planetary desire”, is also online as a limited free download here (for the first 50 clickers). Grab it while you can!

Critical Ecologies

The Critical Ecologies research stream (as part of  Technologies, Worlds, Politics) recently held a full day of inaugural activities on Saturday, March 17th. The stream includes VisCult staff Wood Roberdeau, Lynn Turner, Nicole Wolf and Susan Schuppli.

The group is pursuing ongoing research related to questions of global warming, environmental justice, colonial dispossession, climate migration, nuclear cultures, media geology and e-waste from an arts and humanities perspective that takes scientific research and practices seriously.

The stream formalises connections between existing areas of research and practice by bringing together established environment-focused initiatives from across Anthropology, Art, English & Comparative Literature, Media & Communications, Sociology, and Visual Cultures/Research Architecture to develop collaborations, funding bids, and curricula.

Their core aspiration is to evolve new academic platforms capable of shaping public debate.

Critical Ecologies invited representatives from local communities and organisations to present their work and form a space for planning and discussion with an aim to address eco-critical theory and questions of cultivation.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli (Columbia University) delivered the keynote lecture entitled The Toxic Earth and The Collapse of Political Concepts.

Critical Ecologies will be launching their own blog in the near future. Watch this space for future activities.


Film still: Karrabing Film Collective, The Mermaids, Mirror Worlds (film still), 2018

Counter Investigations: Forensic Architecture

A new exhibition at The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) has opened, surveying the work of Forensic Architecture, the independent research agency based at Goldsmiths and featuring a number of VisCult’s staff.

The exhibition is on from March 7th to 13th May 2018 and there are also a number of seminar days during which a number of members of Forensic Architecture will explore various topics with invited guests.

Pete Witon has written a fantastic post on the university’s main blog which explores the exhibition in more detail, and you can click here to find out more about the exhibition and the seminar days on the ICA’s website.

Counter Investigations is a survey exhibition of the work of Forensic Architecture, an independent research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London.

‘Forensic Architecture’ is not only the name of the agency but a form of investigative practice that traverses architectural, journalistic, legal and political fields, and moves from theoretical examination to practical application.

In recent years Forensic Architecture has undertaken a series of investigations internationally into state crimes and human rights violations, spanning events within war zones and instances of politically and racially motivated violence and killing outside of military conflict. These investigations have led to the contestation of accounts of events given by state authorities, affecting legal and human rights processes, giving rise to citizen tribunals and truth commissions, military, parliamentary and UN inquiries.

The work of the agency has responded to the widespread increase in availability of digital recording equipment, satellite imaging and remote sensing technology, alongside platforms for data sharing. While such developments have contributed to the complexity of forms of conflict and control, they have also enabled new means of monitoring. Grounded in the use of architecture as an ‘analytic device’, Forensic Architecture’s investigations employ spatial and material analysis, mapping and reconstruction, and extend outwards to overlay elements of witness testimony and the cumulative forms of visual documentation enabled by contemporary media.

Counter Investigations presents a selection of recent and new investigations by Forensic Architecture. These address cases including the racist murder of a man in Kassel, Germany by a member of a far-right group, and instances of deferred responsibility by state agencies that have contributed to the deaths of migrants at sea in the Mediterranean. As historically contextualised interrogations of contemporary social and political processes, these investigations put forward a form of ‘counter-forensics’. They serve as sites for the pursuit of public accountability through scientific and aesthetic means, in opposition to the monopolisation of narratives around events by state agencies.

The individual investigations presented function as anchors for public events, workshops and discussions, with the exhibition as the physical infrastructure for the curriculum of a short course in forensic architecture.

Futures & Fictions / Fiction as Method

VisCult recently celebrated the dual launch of Futures & Fictions (Repeater Books) and Fiction as Method (Sternberg Press) at Res. in Deptford.

Both books bring together essays and papers orbiting around two Visual Cultures events and research projects: a 2015 public lecture programme and a 2015 conference, respectively.

Futures & Fictions has been edited by VisCult staff Ayesha Hameed, Henriette Gunkel and Simon O’Sullivan, asking the question: “In what ways could we imagine a world different from the one in which we currently live?”

This is the question addressed by the essays and conversations in Futures and Fictions, which explore possibilities for a different “political imaginary”.

With discussions around decolonization, new Afro- and other futurisms, post-capitalism, science fiction, and new kinds of social movements – and the intersections of these with contemporary art practice and visual culture – Futures and Fictions creates a space for alternate narratives and image-worlds that might be pitched against our neoliberal present.

With contributions from Mark Fisher, Ursula Le Guin, Kodwo Eshun and Oreet Ashery.

Fiction as Method has been edited by Jon K Shaw (Goldsmiths) and Theo Reeves-Evison (Birmingham City).

See the world through the eyes of a search engine, if only for a millisecond; throw the workings of power into sharper relief by any media necessary; reveal access points to other worlds within our own. In the anthology Fiction as Method, a mixture of new and established names in the fields of contemporary art, media theory, philosophy, and speculative fiction explore the diverse ways fiction manifests, and provide insights into subjects ranging from the hive mind of the art collective 0rphan Drift to the protocols of online self-presentation. With an extended introduction by the editors, the book invites reflection on how fictions proliferate, take on flesh, and are carried by a wide variety of mediums—including, but not limited to, the written word. In each case, fiction is bound up with the production and modulation of desire, the enfolding of matter and meaning, and the blending of practices that cast the existing world in a new light with those that participate in the creation of new openings of the possible.

Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture

On 19th January 2018, the Department of Visual Cultures hosted the first Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture, given by Mark’s close friend and colleague Kodwo Eshun.

This lecture marked the first anniversary of Mark’s death but it is hoped that, in the years to come, a speaker will be invited to engage with the themes and ideas written about by Mark with an eye to taking them further or, indeed, somewhere else.