The Center for the Study of Women in Society and the Committee on Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the Graduate Center are organizing a conference on Feminism, Science & Materialism, taking place at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, from Feburary 14-15, 2013.
The conference will focus on looking with feminist perspectives on the onto-epistemological questions raised by the materialist turn. Keynote speaker will be Karen Barad.
Papers from varying disciplines are invited, addressing a wide range of issues. Some possible examples to focus on might be:
The intellectual and scientific context of the new turn toward materialism
The relation of matter — including the biological body — to the social.
The relation between new materialism and previous materialisms (such as Marxism and phenomenology) and particularly their feminist elaborations. What are the continuities and discontinuities between feminist materialisms from the 1970s through the current moment?
The insights, knowledge and methodologies offered by the new materialist studies of science. What new frontiers have they opened? What can the new sciences offer for feminist theory?
Space for paper presentations is limited. To apply, please send an extended abstract of 1000 words and a short bio to feminism [dot] science [at] gmail [dot] com byNovember 1, 2012.
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21
There have been a bevvy of eco-theater conferences in recent years, but it’s great to bring it all together with Earth Matters on Stage, which took place this past May 31st-June 2 at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburg, PA. It included a collection of performances, presentations and panels covering everything from carbon footprint to eco-dramaturgy. Session titles included: “Sustainable Design,” “Ecocriticism & Contemporary American Theater,” and “The Carbon Footprint of Theatrical Production,” among many others. That last one was by CSPA’s Ian Garrett, and involved discussions of all the usual players: Arcola Theatre, Julie’s Bicycle, the Broadway Green Alliance . . . Discussions of sustainable design carried throughout the festival and bled into discussion of performance throughout the weekend. Again and again: how do we make theatrical production more sustainable? How do we incorporate or cultural dialogue with the planet into the work? How do we make work that goes beyond “being less bad” into something that actually has a positive impact on the environment?
Below are a selection of photos from the event. Keynote speaker and performer was Holly Hughes, one of the NEA four, whose most recent work (“The Dog and Pony Show: Bring your own Pony,”) examines her relationship with her pets. Ecodrama Playwright competition winners this year included Chantal Bilodeau, whose work “Sila,” explores a cultural cross-section of inuit culture, scientific researchers, and polar bears, and Mark Rigney, whose play, “Bears,” depicts a slow deterioration of civilization through the intimate stories of a group of zoo-bound bears. The work of Earth Matters founder Theresa May was ever-present in the discussion on eco-dramaturgy, and the weekend ended with a discussion of conferences past and future. The dialogue continues, as we discuss and discover more ways that our set of skills can serve the environment.
“how does data feel, taste, sound, look, smell?” Roger Malina, Leonardo, keynote speaker, Lovely Weather art and climate change conference, LetterKenny RCC, Nov 2010
I was briefly in Oxford this week and I had a little time to pass so I wandered into one of the oldest Museums of the History of Science in the world. They had a display of early Islamic scientific instruments, many were for searching and understanding the skies. They were astonishingly beautiful as well as functional and were later adopted and developed through the middle ages and renaissance in Europe. Many instruments made for understanding the heavens were made in metal, some in ivory (couldn’t help thinking they looked like antique iphones as some were a similar shape, colour and size to our recent technology). The industry and intent to know the world by all methods has long been with us. I was thinking about this in reference to a recent Lovely Weather Culture and Climate Change conference that I attended in north-west Donegal last November. An excellent 2 day event celebrated the Lovely Weather climate artists residency project; an innovative Per Cent for Art Irish Public Art programme across 5 electoral areas, co-led by the local Donegal County Arts Office and the Letterkenny Regional Culture Centre and co-curated by Roger Malina and Annick Bureaud of the long established Art & Science publication, LEONARDO/Olats. This was to my knowledge the first substantial culture and climate event in Ireland and the projects were in the main very thought-provoking and detailed (a catalogue of the projects can be obtained from the Donegal Arts Office).
Roger Malina, editor of Leonardo, was the keynote speaker. Roger is also an astronomer and Director of Astronomy Centre in Marseille, France. A point he made in his talk, while referencing his own experience in astronomy which has seen an explosion in technical instrument development, data production, now further accelerating with the sharing of online data networks, is that over the centuries, scientists no longer use their senses but their instruments to understand the world. He argued that in reference to climate change, that artists have such an important role… ‘in making science intimate….not just translating science or making science pretty.’ He spoke of many artists who were attempting to engage with science, from many diverse practices, who were taking scientific data and using it in their creative practices. He now sees that we are moving from a world of ‘data scarcity to data plenty but today, while we are data rich, we are meaning poor’. He described this as an epistemological (a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge) inversion. I was particularly interested how Roger described that we are in a ‘data flood… but artists can work successfully embedded in data, where data becomes an element (material) to use.” He concluded by asking us, “how does data feel, taste, sound, look, smell?”
There was an excellent example of data embedded centrally in one of the Lovely Weather residencies. Carbon Footprint is a multi-disciplinary work by Canadian born (now settled in Ireland) artist in residence Seema Goel. The piece uses local wool, spinning and knitting as a metaphor to explore climate change, carbon capture, and micro-economies in Inishowen, County Donegal, Ireland. This project worked on many levels – making hurricane data intimate in the creation of knitted items (see the knitted hat above that relates to hurricane weather data), bringing together local people of all ages to use local materials and forgotten skills (a working example of ’social sculpture’), making visible the loss of previous local industries to global, unsustainable supply chains (while Donegal has a rich history in wool products, this has almost entirely disappeared and local wool items are surprisingly imported from afar – this a surprise to many Irish in the audience as Donegal is famed for its fibre heritage), and creating a legacy of community craft activities in the region. It’s delightful to think of the climate data discussions, mixing with knitting patterns discussions and cups of tea (it reminded me of the global crochet coral reef project that came to Ireland’s Science gallery that I discussed last year – both show the huge upsurge in local materials and fibre craft and just a reminder: this is also the international year of craft, as well as forests). The success in this project are the climate conversations made tangible in the community and unlike many ‘climate and art and science projects that I’ve encountered, the legacy of the project continues: knitting and spinning workshops continue for every skill level, from people with an interest that want to get started to those who want to share skills. For more information please contact email@example.com
To follow is a guest post by Margaret Mc Laughlin on another of the Lovely Weather residency projects – all about dead zones (Marbh Chrios) off the coast of Ireland – a fantastic audiovisual, data come community sound project.
An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns. Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook
JB launched three reports on the carbon impact of touring – Bands, Orchestras and Theatres under the title Moving Arts: Managing the Carbon Impacts of our Touring. It was nine months work and it really felt like it. JB analysed nearly 100 international tour samples ranging from small club artists, chamber orchestras and small touring companies to stadium tours, symphony orchestras and major west end productions.
JB launched the Bands report at some of the country’s most iconic venues: the music industry came to the Royal Albert Hall with keynote speaker the awesome John Elkington, founder of SustainAbility, Theatre was launched at the National Theatre with inspired guest speakers Jonathon Porritt, and Nick Starr, CEO of the National Theatre and Orchestras launched at the Royal Festival Hall which coincided with 350th anniversary celebrations of the Royal Society & the European premiere of Icarus: At the Edge of Time by Brian Greene and Philip Glass.
Huge thanks to Jonathon and all at Forum for the Future, and to Nick and all at the National, and to Chris Cotton and his team at the Royal Albert Hall for their real support and leadership. Also to Jude Kelly and to Marshall Marcus at the Southbank Centre, Mark Pemberton and Keith Motson (ABO), Henry Little (Orchestras Live), and everyone else for their help – not least our funders Cathy Graham, Andrew Jonesand the British Council, Susanna Eastburn and the Arts Council, Rob Hallett and AEG and Simon Moran and SJM. Also all our panel members who critiqued (occasionally uncomfortable) and committed to (always inspired) the work:Jazz Summers, Chris Yorke, Bryan Grant, Rachel Tackley, Kathryn Macdowell, Sally Cowling and – specially, Catherine Bottrill (twice the average brain), Christina Tsiarta (same again). And the 500 or so people who came to the events.
Julie’s Bicycle launched its theatre programme last week for reducing carbon emissions. JB‘s chief executive Alison Tickell said the theatre sector had been ‘short on vision, long on doubt’. What needed to be done, she said, was ‘to find a few priorities’ and ‘to commit on a major scale’. It was this thinking that lay behind the publication today of a new pamphlet Moving arts: managing the carbon impacts of our touring that gives the data on the most effective steps to take.
Nick Starr, executive director of the National Theatre, announced the names of the Theatre Group that he would chair. The list was impressive:
Nicholas Allott, managing director, Cameron Mackintosh; Gus Christie, executive chairman, Glyndebourne; Paule Constable, lighting designer; Vicky Featherstone, artistic director, National Theatre of Scotland; Vikki Heywood, executive director, Royal Shakespeare Company; Kate Horton, executive director, Royal Court Theatre; Judith Knight, director, Artsadmin; John McGrath, artistic director, National Theatre Wales; Andre Ptaszynski, managing director, Really Useful Group; Rosemary Squire, joint chief executive, Ambassador Theatre Group; Ben Todd, executive director, Arcola; Steve Tompkins director, Haworth Tompkins; and Erica Whyman, chief executive, Northern Stage
As the keynote speaker at the National this morning, Jonathan Porritt, applauded the practical well-researched approach that Julie’s Bicyclehad taken. He went on to widen the discussion, warning the audience against presenting climate change in apocalyptic terms. He thought the last government’s CO2 campaign that had used a bedtime story to convey the message was ‘shockingly awful’.
There were a number of good bits of news. He gave three examples. The new report that 98% of scientists concur with the science on climate change showed ‘Jeremy Clarkson is wrong’. He also couldn’t recall a time when ‘the innovation pipeline looked so good’. And the business case for an environmental strategy was something that ‘we had hardly started to understand’. His example was the huge advances made by Wal-Mart since its chief executive ‘got the green bug’.
But these upsides, Porritt said, left one thing missing, which was particularly relevant to today’s audience. Science was not enough. The Enlightenment idea that the truth would set us free has proved illusory. What’s needed is creative talent. ‘How can we fire up the sense of empathetic connectedness between people?’ he asked, ‘It makes the creative industries absolutely pivotal.’
Finnish Society for Aesthetics
PO Box 4, FIN-0 0 0 1 4 UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI www.estetiikka.fi
“Aesthetics, Art, and Politics,” 6.5.-7.5.2010, University of Helsinki
The Finnish Society for Aesthetics together with the research project Artification and its Impact on Art (http://www.artification.fi/) will arrange a two-day seminar on the theme “Aesthetics, Art, and Politics” from the 6th of May to the 7th of May 2010 at the University of Helsinki. The keynote speaker of the seminar is Professor Aleš Erjavec (Slovenia).
Significant connections between aesthetics, art, and politics continue to exist in the new millennium. However, alongside traditional questions about art’s relationship to politics and the political aspects of aesthetic phenomena, a new set of issues has gradually arisen which are as much a
result of changes occurring in aesthetics and art as they are a result of changes that have recently shaped politics. The criticism that different traditions of contemporary aesthetics have aimed against the idea of “pure aesthetics,” i.e., an aesthetics severed from political considerations, has been widely accepted. But what is the position of aesthetic theories which emphasize the social function of art and aesthetics today? Do the main traditions of contemporary aesthetics any longer manage to account for the current forms that the relationship between aesthetics, art, and politics takes or are novel approaches required for analyzing those connections?
Many other social practices besides art are to a growing extent characterized by features which have traditionally been associated primarily with art. What sorts of aesthetic and political consequences could this process known as “artification” involve? What are the effects of this development, for
example, to the alleged autonomous nature of art or is this supposition a mere fallacy anyway? Different artistic traditions and movements embody different kinds of ideologies. How should one understand the relationship between art and politics in a world where faith in the impact of politics is
increasingly diminishing? Changes of approach in recent art research also provide a new outlook on the theme of the seminar. Do the different research approaches articulate specific views of the connection between aesthetics and politics and what sorts of political underpinnings, if any, could these approaches themselves involve?
I’m here in beautiful Eugene, Oregon attending the 2009 Earth Matters on Stage: A Symposium on Theatre & Ecology at the University of Oregon. Last night was the official beginning of the event with keynote speaker Una Chaudhuri giving a talk on what she has dubbed Zooesis, or the discourse of animals (or, rather non-humans) in the media.
As I emerged from the talk I looked at Ian Garrett of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and Moe Beitiks of the Green Museum Blog and said: “I’m not smart enough to be here.” Which is to say if the opening moment of EMOS 2009 is a reliable indicator, it will be a highly academic affair. Chaudhuri was followed by obligatory phases of mingling with strangers (not my forte) while smugly observing the corn-based disposable cups, paper plates and napkins, an engaging, often heart wrenching (though also quite academic) play by EM Lewis called Song of Extinction, and the most structured post show discussion (aka talkback) I’ve ever participated in, led by Cal State LA professor and playwright Jose Cruz Gonzalez. Part of me thought, “oh, I shouldn’t have stuck around for this.” It had the effect of stifling the power of the play, and its masterly intertwined themes. I jotted on my program during the talkback this tidbit: “Robbing the visceral through incessant deconstruction.” But that’s my own problem, right?