New Yorkers co-exist intimately with the traces of powerful geo forces. Apartments made of red sandstone from the Triassic (245-208 million years ago) both shelter us and populate our visual space. Rockefeller Center elevates and displays limestone from the Mississippian Period. The iron of the Manhattan Bridge stands as a message from Pre-Cambrian times.
Geologic City: a field guide to the GeoArchitecture of New York will visualize the reality that modern life and geologic time are deeply intertwined. With the field guide in hand, residents and visitors will be able to interact with familiar, even iconic New York architecture and infrastructure in an unexpected way: by sensing for themselves the forces of deep time that give form and materiality to the built environment of the City.
During 2010-11, we will research geologic materials of New York’s architecture and infrastructure and design the printed field guide and a supporting website. The project will illustrate several themes: geologic time is neither inert nor inaccessible; geologic time has composed—and continues to compose—the materials that make New York City; through design, humans enculturate those materials as the city’s architecture and infrastructure.
The City’s architecture and infrastructure depends upon extractions of geologic materials that took millennia to form. Yet, we have virtually no cultural awareness of this reality. Some people argue that this is because humans are cognitively incapable of imagining deep time. We disagree. With this field guide to New York’s geoarchitecture, we offer a speculative tool that humans can use to project their imaginations into deep time as they move through the City. We believe that as works made in response to geologic time become more common, human capacities to design, imagine, and live in relation to deep time will expand.
Geologic City is funded in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, Architecture Planning & Design Program, 2011.
Sustainability and Contemporary Art: Hard Realities and the New Materiality Central European University Budapest
2-6pm 26 March 2009
Janek Simon, Niszczarka
Since the last symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art held at CEU in February 2008, which took as its subject the Operaist dilemma of ‘Exit or Activism?’ and examined Paulo Virno’s idea of ‘exit’ as the ultimate form of resistance, the world has witnessed an intensifying fight for resources under the Arctic, the rocketing of food and oil prices, the Russian gas crisis, and the systemic failure of international financial institutions. These ‘hard realities’ have caused a switch from concerns of immaterial labour to recognition of the ‘new materiality’ of current circumstances.
This recent turn has been addressed by theorist Slavoj Žižek, who notes that while in the last decades it was ‘trendy to talk about the dominant role of intellectual labour in our post-industrial societies, today materiality appears in an almost vengeful way in all its aspects, from a future struggle for ever-diminishing resources (food, water, energy, minerals) to the degradation of the environment.’ The 2009 edition of Sustainability and Contemporary Art therefore brings together artists, theorists and environmental activists to investigate the implications of ‘hard realities’ and ‘new materiality’ for political action, artistic theory and practice, and sustainable living in the 21st century.
Marina Grzinić, Sustainability and Capital
Marina Grzinić is a philosopher, artist and theoretician. She is Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Institute of Fine Arts, Post Conceptual Art Practices and a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy in Ljubljana. She is a founder of Reartikulacija (Ljubljana) and recently published the book Re-Politicizing art, Theory, Representation and New Media Technology.
Tamás St.Auby, The Subsistence Level Standard Project 1984 W.
Tamás St.Auby was born in 1944 and lives in Budapest. In 1968 he founded IPUT (International Parallel Union of Telecommunications). He was censored for his artistic radicalism, promotion of art strikes and questioning of ideology and forced to leave Hungary in the mid-1970s. Since returning from Geneva in 1991, St.Auby has lectured at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.
Tadzio Müller, It’s economic growth, stupid! On climate change, mad-eyed moderates and realistic radicals
Tadzio Müller lives in Berlin, where he is active, after many years of being a counterglobalist summit-groupie, in the emerging climate action movement. Having escaped the clutches of (academic) wage labour, he is currently writing a report about ‘green capitalism’ for the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and otherwise doing odd translation jobs. He is also an editor of Turbulence – Ideas for Movement
Janek Simon, How to Make a Digital Handwatch at Home
Janek Simon was born in 1977. Studied sociology and psychology at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. His artistic activity began around 2001. He is author of interactive installations, videos, objects. Simon takes inspiration from computer games, Internet and the archive (in its multiple meanings).
Sebastjan Leban, Silent Weapon of Extermination
Sebastjan Leban is an artist and theoretician from Ljubljana. His artistic practice involves the collaboration with Stas Kleindienst, the group Trie and the group Reartikulacija. He is one of the editors of the journal Reartikulacija and has exhibited in numerous national and international exhibitions, participated in many symposiums and lectures and published texts in several different publications.
Alina Asavei, A Sustainable Aesthetics: Contextual and Ethical Beauty
Alina Asavei is from Romania and currently she is a PhD candidate in Aesthetics (Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest). She works principally in the areas of social philosophy, cultural studies, art and disability, the politics of aesthetics, forms of artistic engagement during and after totalitarian regimes. She published articles in the domain of Art History, Aesthetics and Social and Cultural History.
Alan Watt, Sustainability in the Face of Hard Reality
Alan Watt is a lecturer in environmental philosophy and the development of environmental thought at the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Central European University.
Maja and Reuben Fowkes The Environmental Impact of Contemporary Art
Maja and Reuben Fowkes are curators and art historians who deal with issues of memory, ecology and translocal exchange. They have curated and written extensively on the issue of contemporary art and sustainability.
The programme of the Symposium on Sustainability and Contemporary Art is devised by Maja and Reuben Fowkes (Translocal.org) and co-organised with the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy and the Centre for Arts and Culture at Central European University.
For further information and booking details please see the project website: