Tag Archives: border

Border Infection

Education without Frontiers: Workshop, Music Food, at Goldsmiths 18 March 5pm 2010;

Education without Frontiers: Has the UK Border Agency Overstayed its Welcome?

Speakers, Workshops, Music, Food
Date: 18 March, 5pm – late
Location: Goldsmiths, University of London

We stand united, as students and staff, in opposition to the new
points-based immigration rules. They frame students as suspects and turn
staff into border agents. Join us, meet others, and help spread the
campaign!

With Les Back (Sociology Department, Goldsmiths)  Phil Booth (NO2ID),
Valerie Hartwich (Manifesto Club), Sandy Nicoll (SOAS Living Wage
Campaign/Justice for Cleaners), Frances Webber (Human Rights Lawyer),
speakers from the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, No Borders,
and more.
Organised by the Students Not Suspects campaign and hosted by Goldsmiths
Students’ Union and Goldsmiths UCU.

Speakers and workshops in RHB 142 (Main Building) from 5PM to 8:15PM;
food/social in the Stretch 8:15-10PM, music 10pm-late.

Location: Main building, Goldsmiths, Lewisham Way, New Cross, SE14 6NW
Closest train stations: New Cross, New Cross Gate
Buses: 21, 36, 53, 136, 171, 172, 177, 225, 321, 343, 436, 453.

The event is free; register at studentsnotsuspects@gmail.com

More details about the Students Not Suspects campaign at:
http://studentsnotsuspects.blogspot.com/
Facebook: Students Not Suspects
Download a poster:
http://homepages.gold.ac.uk/ucu/flyers/Students_Not_Suspects_flyer.pdf

Border Infection Poster and Program Flyers

programme_final

programme_poster_final

Click the above to download poster and program.

Border Infection – Goldsmiths 22-24 March 2010

Border Infection…Border Infestation… Border Indigestion! … We want to give the Border Authority the bug.

Each of the workshops in the series so far have been around themes where have been heavily invested in the ironies of these terms – Sonic Border was an earache, chaotic, noisy, cacophonia inserted into the ear-hole of postcolonial Britain. ‘Theatre border’ performed and misbehaved, clowning around with pantomime, and staging cross border apparitions of other worlds; Cinema Border-documentary tried to film ways across the border, looping reels and cut and splice to re-forge the documents of immigration control. So, this next “Border Infection” workshop takes the virus and infection metaphor a bit more seriously, critically and its obviously more on the edge, but its not the only governing metaphor of our event(s).

ALL WEEK:

EXHIBITION - Monday through Friday || 22–26 March

An ongoing collaboration between Beyond Borders and LDN/ BRU which originated from a shared enthusiasm for questioning and transgressing creative, cultural and geographical boundaries. The exhibition brings together a group of international artists who share similar concerns and interests. Exploring issues and limitations surrounding urban and city narratives, ownership and dislocation, the show includes multimedia installations, videos and performances.

Work by: Raul Gschrey, Nicolas Sauret & Ashley Wong, Moustache Collectif and Helen Turner
The Gallery
Goldsmiths Students’ Union
Dixon Road, New Cross
London SE14 6NW
T 020 8692 1406
.
Day Workshop sessions:

Monday 22nd March 2010 12 noon–3pm and 6-8

Introduction: John Hutnyk

KEYNOTE: Vivek Bald – “Bengali Harlem: Histories of Indian Maritime Desertion in New York City, 1914-1946″

Jennifer Otter – “The infection of America Record Companies”

Leila Whitley “Producing the Migrant as Laborer”

Followed by the film “Hidden HERstories” (6PM RHB Cinema)

.

Tuesday 23rd March 12 noon-4pm and 6-7pm

Raul Gshrey – “Migration and Border Regimes in Europe: Systematic Invasion or Suppressed Movement”

Enis Oktay– “What’s the border bordering on, infection or fundament? Three interrelated anecdotes concerning the border’s economies of distinction.

Alix Brodie “‘God Bless the Village Green’: Protecting Fortress Britain in Fashion and Music”

Lindsay Crisp “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it: Swine flu and the paraphernalia of sterility.”

Sarah Ralfs “Transgressing borders: staging disease – infecting everbody. A talk about Christoph Schlingensief’s latest works”

KEYNOTE: Eyal Wizeman – “Political Plastic” (6pm)

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Wenesday 24th March 11am– 6pm

Edda Manga – Weapons, Idealism and the Construction of Western Security

KEYNOTE: Angela Mitropolous “Borders, Contagion, Contracts” (2pm)

Guided Walk Neil Transpontine – “New Cross: borders and crossings”(3pm)

[note: at 6PM – Gurinder Chadha is the 7th Olive Till Memorial guest – separate ticket from Media and Comms dept]

8pm – PARTY

_________________________

Plus also, THIS LINKED EVENT ON THURSDAY 25th march 2010:

Workshop – THE NEW IMAGINATION IN POST-COLONIAL THOUGHT.

GOLDSMITHS AND L’ORIENTALE WORKSHOP

Department of Media and Communications, Centre for Cultural Studies, L’Orientale University of Naples.

10 .00  Introduction Angela McRobbie

10.15- 10.45 Tiziana Terranova ‘Post Coloniality and Neo-Liberalism;Foucault in Iran’. 10.45- 11.15  Marie-Helene La Forest ‘Postcolonial Feminism and Transnational Claims’. 11 15- 12.00 discussion.

LUNCH IN LOAFERS

14.00- 18.00 DREAD CITY SECTION.

14.00- 14.30 Emanuela Maltese ‘Metaphors of Contagion Surrounding Haitian Vodou in NY . The Other Side of the Water’ (2009).

14.30- 15.00 Beatrice Ferrara ‘Dread City; Bass Culture and Postcolonial Urban Spatialities’

15.00- 15.30 Michaela Quadrano ‘Afro-Cyborg Visions; Affect and memory in Isaac Julien’s Encore 11 Radioactive (2005)

15.30- 16.00 Julian Henriques ‘Bass Culture, Rhythm and Representation’

16.00-16.30  John Hutnyk ‘keep Calm and Carry On; Low Level Anxiety in wartime London Today’

16.30- 17.00 Goldsmiths Post-Grad Contributions TBA

17.00-18.00 OPEN DISCUSSION OF ALL AFTERNOON PAPERS.

______________________

Exact venue and scheduling  information will be available next week, please email me to be on the invite list.

offenders are using public transport

Criminals on our buses. So we better check their tickets cos we want them to pay full fare right! (Far Right – from the lovely people who brought you points based immigration, endless queuing, lost passports, deportations to Iraq, and the generalized cretinization that is the UK Border Agency). Worse than Homeland Security I think.

The sharp-as-a-tack-smart Emma informs me of the Home Office’s boneheaded formulation:

“‘Intelligence has shown that failed asylum seekers and other immigration offenders are using public transport on a regular basis. Previous operations on public transport routes have resulted in identifying and arresting failed asylum seekers and also removing them.’

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/freedom-of-information/released-information/foi-archive-immigration/929-immigration-checksa8cf.html?view=Html

See also here, here and here.

CPH:Dox Border Documents

I need to find some time to write something up about our CPH:DOX Border Documents event (AHRC Beyond Text: Creativity Beyond Borders Network event #3)… It was great fun, though we were decimated by various illnesses (Mette, Frederik, Mary Claire – be well). I have to say first, it was really cold in Copenhagen, and the DOX event was wildly dispersed, so we shivered a lot. Actually, we did not meet any of the CPH.DOX organisers as they were really busy, though our link through the tent bar-staff meant I got a poster and a booklet. They were plagued by power cuts and floods, but the room at the Akademie that we used was perfect. Of course our very own Mathias Danbolt was the hero of it all – starting us off with some context about the protests against the absurd deportations of Iraqi asylum seekers from Denmark to Iraq, and then on Queer activism. Hito Steyerl showed some really really interesting clips, and Maria Finn’s presentation was fabulous and moving. Khushwant Singh’s film in diasporic Sikhism generated a really great discussion, as did Ananya Chatterjee’s film on sex workers in South Asia the next night. By no means were these received uncritically, and I think its a good thing that were were able to have a ‘full and frank debate’, as they say. On the first day the Akademie students and some festival guests joined us, on the second and third days it was just us lot and some people from the festival – so on average we were mostly 20-25 persons. Very good group, very high level of debate – I think it works well like this. Abhijit Roy’s presentation was masterful on frontality address in cinema, while Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay gave a very detailed introduction to the cinema of Ritwik Ghatak, which has to do with the border between Bengal (ie, btw West Bengal and East Pakistan, later Bangladesh). the Goldsmiths students work was all very insightful, and sometimes incredibly lyrical – Elena Papadaki with some difficult video art, Heidi Hasbrouk provoking intense discussion of ethics of family video, Jennifer Otter stealing the show with her just complete Joy Division tribute band doc, and Ray Ganz tempting ears and minds. On the last day, we started with info-sessions from Ruth Hogarth of the Beyond Text scheme and Mary Claire Halvorson From Goldsmiths. Then Renata Woehrer, Dietmar Kammerer and Raul Gschrey engaged us with high level political issues from Germany – really adding something, and we lost count of the number of bits of film work or images people wanted to take home, linger over, replay. Of course we ate some fine food (Cafe Sebastapol, and Pate Pate), and had a few beers (so far as we could afford) and everyone seemed to have a grand time. The final discussion of what to do next I thought was especially useful – let’s see.

This is a partial account (as in, not the opposite of impartial, though it is that, but rather incomplete. hopefully more to come. If you were there, please supplement…)

Beyond Borders: London and Gothenburg… (to come)

Hi all

I mean ‘all’ on the Beyond Text: Creativity Beyond Borders network (plus anyone who wants to chip in):

After a very successful meeting in Copenhagen (write ups pending here) we’ve been thinking a little in advance of our next meetings – in London (March 2010) and Gothenburg (June 2010):
In each case there will be the usual workshop (20-30 people) with some bigger public lectures and a link up with another event.
-
Dates:
London – March 22-24 2010 (confirmed)
Gothenburg – June 9, 10 & 11th (dates tbc, but followed by Clandestino Festival 11-13th June 2010)
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The theme for the meeting in London (March 2010) is “Border Infections” – we think it important to address new constituencies and audiences/areas of work. The metaphor of infection, virus and health in relation to the myths and politics of Borders will be our organizing guide/prognosis. We hope to join up with LDN-BRU at the Institute of Contemporary Arts).
_
Confirmed speakers: Vivek Bald, filmmaker; Eyal Wiezman, Goldsmiths; Angela Mitropoulos, writer – plus artists, activists, reprobates, border dodgers.
_
Border Infection…Border Infestation…  Border indigestion! … Each of the workshops in the series so far have been around themes where have been heavily invested in the ironies of these terms – Sonic Border was an earache, chaotic, noisy, cacophonia inserted into the ear-hole of postcolonial Britain. ‘Theatre border’ performed and misbehaved, clowning around with pantomime, and staging cross border apparitions of other worlds; Cinema Border-documentary tried to film ways across the border, looping reels and cut and splice to re-forge the documents of immigration control. So, this next “Border infestation” workshop takes the virus and infection metaphor a bit more seriously, critically and its obviously more on the edge, but its not the only governing metaphor of our event. The usual cross border excursions will apply. leave your suggestions below.
****
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We are not sure of the theme for the Gothenburg June meeting as yet. One suggestion is to call it Border Reverb. This does engage with the end of our Beyond Text series theme (this will be the last meeting in the Beyond Text series), but it does not and cannot just be a return to text (back to school!). We need to provoke and challenge the idea of the border as an end.
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So, having so far engaged with a variety of ideas around the themes of Sonic Border, Theatre Border and Border Documents, suggestions open for March and for June. Your views are very welcome on either the Border Infections theme for London, and/or the possible theme of Border Reverb for Gothenburg (which is in association with the great Clandestino music festival).
-
all best
John

Border Documents – final program, with venues

PROGRAM

Monday 9th November 2009
Venue: Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi
Kongens Nytorv 1, 1050 København K (The seminar is free)

11.30-12.00 (Room: Den gule resilit)
Prof Frederik Tystrup & Prof John Hutnyk:
‘Introduction’ to “Border Documents”

12.00-13.30 (Room: Den gule resilit)

Lecture by Mathias Danbolt:
‘Queers Without Borders: Activist Travels in Elliat Graney-Saucke’s Travel Queeries’.

Presentation and screening by Maria Finn: ‘A Technical Problem’ (DVD, 16. min).

13.30-15.00 Lunch break

15.00-16.30 (Room: Den gule resilit)

Lecture by Dr Hito Steyerl: ‘Border performed’
On 3 recent video art works, parts of which will be screened (Amar Kanwar’s “A season outside”, plus work by von Wedemeyer and Mik) and discussed in relation to their relation to border and performance.

17.00-19.00 (CPH:DOX Tent)

European Premiere screening of Musafer: Sikhi is Travelling with Q@A with one of the directors Kushwant Singh (the other director is Michael Nijhawan)

Musafer is an independent documentary film that has been shot in Frankfurt, Paris, London, Delhi and San Francisco between 2003 and 2009. The film portrays the interconnected lives of a younger generation of diasporic Sikhs by giving emphasis to their artistic expressions and in-depth conversations about the meaning of Sikhi in times of political upheaval and social uncertainty. Musafer does not attempt to portray the Sikh tradition (Sikhi) in its multifaceted forms, but instead sheds a light on the inner and outer journeys of particular individuals, their homing desires, as well as their boundary crossing endeavours.

 

Tuesday 10th November
Venue: Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi
Kongens Nytorv 1, 1050 København K (The seminar is free)

11.00–13.00 (Room: Den gule resilit)
‘Borders and Selves’

Heidi Hasbrouck:
‘Personal Borders: The Filmmaker’s Family through the Lens’

Elena Papadaki:
‘Even better than the real thing: when fiction becomes more convincing than the truth – Stefanos Tsivopoulos’ documentaries’

13.00 Lunch break

15.00-16.30 (Room: Den gule resilit)
‘Verité Border’

Ray Ganz:
‘Radio Verité and Acoustic Osmosis’

Jennifer Otter:
‘[Dancing In] Isolation: Joy Division Tribute Bands Transmission of 2.0’s Melancholy’

17.00-19.00 (Room: Den gule resilit)

Lecture by Dr Bhaskar Mukhophadhyay:
‘Ritwik Ghatak Documentarist’

Lecture by Abhijit Roy:
‘Documentary Diversions? Factual Popular and the Reality Debates’

19.00 Dinner break

20.00 (Festsalen)
European Premiere screening of Understanding Trafficking plus Q&A with the director Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti

Legend goes, there is a magical line that Laxman drew around Sita, which no woman is supposed to cross. If any woman dared to cross the magical line, she would risk being kidnapped by Ravan the demon.
Women have for centuries been discouraged to cross the line, to remain indoors, and within limits. The lines and limits of their existence have always been defined by patriarchy.
So what happens if a woman does cross the line? By circumstances, through need, or just by a desire to dare the magical line?
Camera Joydeep Bose, Sound Sukanta Majumdar, Editing Saikat Sekhareswar Ray, Direction Ananya C. Chakraborti
Reviews here: http://www.cinemawoman.in/review.html

 

Wednesday 11 November
Venue: Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi
Kongens Nytorv 1, 1050 København K (The seminar is free)

11.00–11.30 (Room: Den gule resilit)

Ruth Hogarth (Beyond Text Program Co-Ordinator): ‘The Wider Program’

Mary Claire Halvorson (Goldsmiths Director of Professional Development): ‘Alterity, mobility and rhizomatic model of learning’

11.30–13.30 (Room: Den gule resilit)

Dr Dietmar Kammerer:
‘Official, unofficial, invisible – the role of the filmic document in “Operation Spring”’

Renate Wöhrer:
‘How (Not) to Be Seen. Contemporary Attempts in Social Documentary to Contradict Hegemonic Discourses on Labour’

13.30 Lunch break

15.00-17.30 (Room: Den gule resilit)

Raul Gschrey: ‘Between Fact and Fiction. Artistic Works on Visual Surveillance’

All: Discussion of the Future of Beyond Borders.

Border Documents 9-11 Nov 2009 Copenhagen

Border Documents @ CPH:DOX

Border Documents: A scholarly/activist workshop on the crossings of borders and documentary films.

Border Documents is the third in a series of events run as part of the international research network Beyond Borders.

Preamble: In “Sonic Border” (London Nov 2008) we explored the way sound crosses the border differently, provoking a rethink of the border’s location – not just in ports, but between us all, in conversations, in ideas – an oppressive structure of language, meaning, representation, and a cry of protest and the music of solidarity across divides. Sound problematized the geographic and visual location of the border regime.

In “Theatre Border” (Berlin April 2009) the performative, tactile and ritualistic force of the border as staged power suggests we rethink connection, touch, proximity and co-responsibility. The theatrical exclusion of others manufactures a charade populated by demons, caricatures and monstrosity. We don’t want to be cast in such dramas.

In “Border Documents” (Copenhagen Nov 2009) we will join the CPH.DOX documentary film festival to consider the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media – what does thinking about border activism and the telematic offer us? Possible topics include the border in television news, the in-focus out of focus role of CCTV in detention centres, the scanning screens of the immigration check, the civilian phone-cam exposé of deportation and ‘Torture Taxi’ (special rendition) flights, and more.

We are interested in new perspectives on the status and function of the documentary forms today, as they cross the ontological divide between fiction and truth, art and reality (objective/subjective, social, political, ethical etc) and frame alternative ways of seeing, witnessing, representing, archiving and experiencing ‘the elements of truth’ (Steyerl, 2003). Can we understand documentation not as paper passports or mere representation but as docketing the (re)construction of (new) social and political realities – we are interested in time and screen formats that offer access to critical recontextualization of the reproduction of borders, and of unfolding new agents of social and political (ex)change. On a more formalistic note, how does the documentary form carry a politic, an ethics or epistemology and how can the documentary film help us see and act differently? Does the time of the border transform its place, or its performative character? Does border activism lend itself to the cinematic? Can we film another way across?

Beyond Borders is a collaborative venture between the Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies, the Friei University Berlin InterArts, Jadavpur University (India) Film Studies and the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths University of London, and with guest participation from Clandestino Festival (Sweden) and Migrant Media (UK), among others. Beyond Borders is funded by the AHRC UK Beyond Text program.

PROGRAM

9th November 2009

11.30-12.00 (Seminar room)
Prof Frederik Tystrup & Prof John Hutnyk:
‘Introduction’ to “Border Documents”

12.00-13.30 (Seminar room)
Lecture by Mathias Danbolt:
‘Queers Without Borders: Activist Travels in Elliat Graney-Saucke’s Travel Queeries’
ravel Queeries (2009) by Elliat Graney-Saucke is the first feature length documentary film portraying radical queer culture in Europe. Produced by queer filmmakers from the U.S., Travel Queeries takes us on an extensive tour of queer communities in ten major European cities – from London to Warsaw to Belgrade and Copenhagen. The travels alluded to in the film’s title do not only refer to the U.S. filmmakers’ travel with a camera to and through Europe, as it also points to the travels of activists within Europe, where people circulate between squats, festivals, and other social and political gatherings. In this paper I will focus on the way in which Travel Queeries queries activist travels. By looking into the way the film represent – as well as take part in – the circulation of concepts, repertoires, esthetics, and politics, I will discuss how travels and translation have been central to the development of the transnational (Euroamerican) queer activist community. Informed by the activist group Queers Without Borders fight for free movement for all in relation to crossings of gender, sexuality, and national borders, I will focus especially on the border issues raised by and evident in Travel Queeries, touching upon question of racism and activist tourism.

Presentation and screening by Maria Finn: ‘A Technical Problem’ (DVD, 16. min).
After having studied the films of Michelangelo Antonioni I grew interested in his writing and found Unfinished Business, a collection of his never realized screenplays, where Technically Sweet was mentioned as one. I have used this screenplay as a starting point for a video where I travel to the sites in Sardinia that should have appeared in the film. The video from that trip, A Technical Problem, can be seen as a reflection over how fiction is constructed by including excerpts from the screenplay, and through the documentation of these places that itself produces a fiction. Film locations become virtual archaeological sites, which Laura Mulvey describes in Roberto Rossellini’s Journey to Italy/Viaggio in Italia (1953) from her collection of essays, Death 24x a Second (1996). Rossellini used the archaeological sites in Naples for his film to reflect over how the present is fossilized on film. I will use Mulvey’s essay to investigate how movies functions as an archive over places, some ruined and some still existing, and how visiting these places affects us.

13.30-15.00 Lunch

15.00-16.30 (Seminar room)
‘Border performed’ – Workshop, led by Filmmaker Dr Hito Steyerl
3 recent video art works will be screened (Amar Kanwar’s “ A season outside”, plus work by von Wedemeyer and Mik) and discussed in relation to their relation to border and performance.

17.00-19.00 (Tent)
European Premiere screening of “Musafer: Sikhi is Travelling” with Q@A with one of the directors Kushwant Singh (the other director is Michael Nijhawan)
Musafer is an independent documentary film that has been shot in Frankfurt, Paris, London, Delhi and San Francisco between 2003 and 2009. The film portrays the interconnected lives of a younger generation of diasporic Sikhs by giving emphasis to their artistic expressions and in-depth conversations about the meaning of Sikhi in times of political upheaval and social uncertainty. Musafer does not attempt to portray the Sikh tradition (Sikhi) in its multifaceted forms, but instead sheds a light on the inner and outer journeys of particular individuals, their homing desires, as well as their boundary crossing endeavours.

20.00 (venue to be decided) dinner

10th November

11.00–13.00 (Seminar room)
Round table discussion on ‘Borders and Selves’

Heidi Hasbrouck:
‘Personal Borders: The Filmmaker’s Family through the Lens’
This paper aims to explore the re-formation of boundaries when the filmmaker turns the camera to her personal life. Historian and film critic, Paul Arthur, writes of the relationship between the filmmaker and the subject as a negotiation where borders are shaped. “An ethical compact of sorts, an explicit or tacit ‘transaction’ between observer and participant, is negotiated; its terms regulate what can be recorded, what form the recording will ultimately take, and how the filmmaker intends to portray social actors who agree to appear (Arthur, 876).” What then happens when those borders must be re-shaped from a previously formulated relationship? Between the filmmaker and her film? Between the filmmaker and the audience when the story is a personal one? Furthermore, how does turning the camera on one’s own family change the ethics or politics of the documentary itself? Through the exploration of multiple personal documentaries, including Hara Kazuo’s “Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974”, John Maringouin’s “Running Stumbled”, recently released Kurt Kuenne’s “Dear Zachary”, and new filmmaker Marianne Hougen-Moraga’s “My Mother’s Promise”, I aim to resolve my own qualms as a documentary filmmaker torn between the boundaries of my family and a potential documentary about our ‘darker side’.

Elena Papadaki:
‘Even better than the real thing: when fiction becomes more convincing than the truth – Stefanos Tsivopoulos’ documentaries’
Stefanos Tsivopoulos is a visual artist engaged with the documentary format. He uses archival material, historical footage and real-time events in order to create his own -often pseudo- narratives. Among others, his work challenge journalistic conventions and the meaning of an “objective” historical narrative (Gray 2008) (Interview, 2007. He commissioned a BBC reporter to interview a war veteran from Serbia; then asked a Serb filmmaker to take the transcript and create a fictional version of the same interview, shot at the same location. Both interviews were projected at the same time in adjacent rooms, with the fictional one looking more convincing than the real documentary) as well as the power of mediated news and propaganda (The Remake, 2007. He uses archival material from the Greek national television and from events that took place during the dictatorship in Greece [1967-1974] with his own shooting of recreated scenes from the television studios at the time). According to Tsivopoulos, the “visualisation of history and reality can be interpreted and misinterpreted at the same time” (Tsivopoulos 2008). His interest lies in the way in which we, the spectators, consume the information that exists within the visual imagery and accept the validity of the “archive”. Where do we draw the line between fiction and reality? How does his work (re-)create a new social and historical imagery? A selection of clips from Tsivopoulos’ work will be shown during the presentation.

13.00 Lunch

15.00-16.30 (Seminar room)
Round table discussion on ‘Framing Border’

Ray Ganz:
‘Radio Verité and Acoustic Osmosis’
Field recordings and found sounds are still one of the major sources of radio artworks, in spite of Raymond Schafer having introduced the concept of soundscape and developed the World Soundscape Project more than 30 years ago. The present article examines the different contemporary artistic uses of field recordings and found sounds within the Radia network during the last three years, according to Schafer’s concept of schizophonia and Feld’s notion of schismogenesis. It argues that although radio occupies a privileged position in the current media landscape to broadcast acoustic decisive moments and documents, it is during the aural osmosis of different soundscapes (diegetic and non-diegetic in relation to the listener’s existence) allowed by the radiophonic experience that field recordings and found sounds become radio artworks.

Jennifer Otter:
‘[Dancing In] Isolation: Joy Division Tribute Bands Transmission of 2.0’s Melancholy’
Manchester’s iconic Joy Division officially disbanded almost thirty years ago, after the untimely suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis. Yet many people point to this seminal group as one, if not the, forefather of modern rock in its present incarnation. Bands such as The Killers, Fall Out Boy and Interpol blatantly rip off the Mancunians’ riffs, style and sentiments through out their own manipulations of musicality. However, some people feel that just paying accolades to the fallen heroes through interpretations of their own new music is not enough. They believe that only the original music of Joy Division truly expresses the spirit of the troubling times we are living in, a world reflective of Ian Curtis’s own bleak Manchester of the late 1970s. For this tribe of people, solely by creating their own group to play exclusively and inclusively the music of Joy Division can they express their own situational oppression, of a world that is simultaneously connected via the world wide web and instant messenger, yet more alienated, with people staying inside their homes more, hidden behind a computer screen and “mediated reality.” Tribute bands and interviewees from a variety of geographic and socioeconomic groups have been included in the project, spanning Mexico City, London, Macclesfield, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Iraq, Australia, and Bosnia, illustrating a true breaking of borders and staying power of the foursome from the North not often illustrated by artists of today.

17.00-19.00 (Seminar room)

Lecture by DR Bhaskar Mukhophadhyay:
‘Ritwik Ghatak Documentarist’
Largely unknown and unacknowledged in the West and misunderstood in India, one of the masters of twentieth century cinema, the Communist director Ritwik Kumar Ghatak’s cinematic oeuvre revolves largely around the after effects of the Partition of Bengal which displaced thousand and left deep wounds that never healed. Ritwik’s cinema is about the monumentality of this catastrophe though as a theorist of postcolonial culture and a Communist cultural worker, he never allowed nostalgia to take over his sense of engagement with the present. As a cultural theorist, Ritiwik rejected the Soviet model of Social Realism and the European radical avant-garde aesthetic politics of high Modernism. His uniquely postcolonial vision of culture entailed a renewed engagement with the epic and the vernacular and a re-enchantment of the machine through a renewal of the ‘primitive.’ In cinema, his renewal of melodrama fused majestically with his revival of the epic, leading to an aesthetic of vernacular modernism that has no precedent or parallel anywhere in world cinema.
As political film-maker, Ritwik’s treatment of Partition is multi-layered which interrogates and confronts borders at many levels. Himself a refugee, he had little illusion about culture’s holism. He depicted with compassion the class-logic of the inevitable but historic disintegration of the colonial Bengali bhadralok in the aftermath of the Partition and the continued presence of the sealed-off border in the affective landscape of the subcontinent. In Ajantric, a film about the animistic beliefs of tribals and an old automobile that takes on human attributes through the affective engagement of its owner, Ritwik plays on the cognitive-affective borders between fetishism and disenchantment, between the human and the non-human, between the sensible and the intelligible. My presentation will focus on two of his major films, Ajantrik (1957-58) and Subarnarekha (1962) through the optic of ‘border’ in order to situate Ghatak in the wider cultural politics of our times.

Lecture by Abhijit Roy
‘Documentary Diversions? Factual Popular and the Reality Debates’
This presentation talks about how the televisual genre of the ‘factual popular’ and the debates around reality shows can help us revisit the ‘documentary’ form and its legacies. It would like to engage with recent theorizations as evident in John Corner’s coinage ‘documentary diversions’ and Keath Betty’s ‘documentary display’, and also the classical/Griersonian school of documentary practice, to pose the age-old, somewhat hackneyed, debates around the ‘border’ between fact and faction in a new light. While the factual popular, in its form, and in its mode of address (posing as the neo-progressivist messiah of the late-capital, citizenising agent etc.) enters into interesting dialogue with the documentary tradition, particularly with its ‘classical’ mode, the current trends in documentary filming and dissemination, in turn, get highly interjected by the factual popular. Contextual, in this regard, could be a recent practice in documentary diversion: that of creating incessant audiovisual archives (foregrounding therefore a certain idea of ‘beyond text’) and circulating across the de-territorializing space of internet. The ‘publics/users’ of both of these trajectories intersect in various ways. Tickling the network, generating circuits of fandom and activism defying national borders, have become major trends in both of these.

19.00 dinner (1 hour)

20.00 (Tent)
European Premiere screening of “Understanding Trafficking” plus Q&A with the director Ananya Chatterjee Chakraborti
Legend goes, there is a magical line that Laxman drew around Sita, which no woman is supposed to cross. If any woman dared to cross the magical line, she would risk being kidnapped by Ravan the demon.
Women have for centuries been discouraged to cross the line, to remain indoors, and within limits. The lines and limits of their existence have always been defined by patriarchy.
So what happens if a woman does cross the line? By circumstances, through need, or just by a desire to dare the magical line?
Camera Joydeep Bose, Sound Sukanta Majumdar, Editing Saikat Sekhareswar Ray, Direction Ananya C. Chakraborti
Reviews here: http://www.cinemawoman.in/review.html

11 November

11.00–11.30 (Seminar room)

Ruth Hogarth: Beyond Text Program Co-Ordinator. ‘The Wider Program’

Mary Claire Halvorson (Goldsmiths Director of Professional Development): ‘Alterity, mobility and rhizomatic model of learning’

11.30–13.30 (Seminar room)

Dr Dietmar Kammerer:
‘Official, unofficial, invisible – the role of the filmic document in “Operation Spring”’
“Operation Spring” was the name of the first (and later widely publicized) undercover police operation in 1999 that made use of covert surveillance technologies in order to collect evidence against an (allegedly) international ring of drug dealers. “Operation Spring” is also the name of a documentary film that years later put in question the police operation and the subsequent trials and convictions of more than in ehundred people, mostly immigrants form Nigeria. The documentary became one of the rare cases, where a film actually sparks a political debate and was discussed in the national parliament. In my presentation I want to argue, that the political and persuasive power of this film can – among other factors – be explained by its use of the filmic document. Three types of images can be made out in this film: official, unofficial and invisible images. What counts as a document or as evidence, is always to be seen within a strategy of power.”

Renate Wöhrer:
‘How (Not) to Be Seen. Contemporary Attempts in Social Documentary to Contradict Hegemonic Discourses on Labour’
In my contribution to the workshop I would like to discuss the documentary art project ‘Chat(t)er Gardens: Stories by and about Filipina Workers’ (2002-2008) by the Austrian artist Moira Zoitl. It is not a film but an installation, in which video plays a major part. It consists of videos, photography, text, embroidery, sculptures and/or spatial constructions. The project documents the working and living conditions of Filipina domestic workers in Hong Kong and London as well as their political and social activities. It is conceived as a platform, where different kinds of expressions – also by different authors – are possible. In this documentary the border is at issue in three different ways: First of all the depicted migrant workers are confronted with borders between nation states. In their “host country” they also have to deal with social borders. Due to their special working and living situation migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong make this social border visible. Since they mostly live at their working places, which are the private homes of their employers, most of them don’t have a private space of their own. Therefore they spend their rare free time in public places, which they use differently than the majority society. They create a public visibility, which contradicts their hidden existence in everyday life. In Hong Kong as well as in other industrialized – or better: post-industrial – countries the economic systems relies on the exploitation of domestic workers. But neither the exploitation nor the domestic workers should be a public issue. The system is based on the concealment of these facts. On the one hand the workers counteract this kind of suppression (in taking public space as well as in political demonstrations, celebrations, etc.) on the other hand Moira Zoitl brings up the issue (and the efforts of the workers) in the public of the art world via her documentary. So the third kind of border, which is at issue within this documentary project, is the border drawn by hegemonic practices to demarcate what can be said, shown, discussed, etc. within a society and what’s excluded from public discourse. In my paper I will examine Moira Zoitl’s methods and artistic strategies to undermine dominant regimes of visibility. In analyzing this project as an example I will discuss the problems and possibilities of documentary to produce and initiate counter-hegemonic discourses.

13.30 (Lunch)

15.00-17.30 (lecture room)

Raul Gschrey

Between Fact and Fiction. Artistic Works on Visual Surveillance.

Documentary approaches play a major role in artistic works on visual surveillance. This becomes most obvious in the mockumentary ?Citizen Cam? (France/Iceland, 1999), a satire on a fictional TV-channel in Reykjavik. Artistic projects which focus on the topic often include phases of research on the extend and possibilities of CCTV systems and their utilisation. Some artists use the original pictures produced by surveillance systems, but through the process of editing the material becomes fictionalised. During performances and interventions in spaces under surveillance, usually there is not only the CCTV camera present but also further cameras, which document the action and form a means of counter- and self-observation. In these situations, the presence of the camera also changes the reaction of the audience and the authorities. The borders between the documentary and the fictional become porous.

All: Discussion of the Future of Beyond Borders.

18.00 Beyond Borders Workshop after-party

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Stop Deportations

2174762-3-get-smart-kaos-logoFrom the makers of INSANE government policy inc, a new and vastly more stupid strategy of deportation. They should give prizes for this sort of thing. Deportations to Iraq x!k”zx%^j%^*! You have got to be joking. Not even the hired killers (Sandline International etc) really want to be there. The Ministry of Defence surely wants out. So why does UKBA (the UK Border Assholes) seem to think its a happy time?

The following call is from the Stop Deportation Network:

* Please forward widely *
URGENT: Stop the first mass deportation flight to Baghdad

Demonstration at Communications House, London, on Wednesday 14th
October, 5pm.

The Stop Deportation network and other groups and organisations are demanding that the first deportation charter flight to southern Iraq, expected to leave on Wednesday, is suspended and the detainees threatened with forcible removal are released immediately. Over the last week, detainees in various immigration detention centres have been given ‘removal directions’ clearly stating they will be removed to Iraq, as opposed to the Kurdistan Regional Government-controlled area, which was stated in previous removals.

Deporting people to a war zone like Iraq would put the lives of many deportees at risk. As recently as the 11th October, three car bombs exploded in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, killing at least 19 people. Violence and bloodshed continue throughout the country, which saw 1,891 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year alone. There are also widespread food shortages, lack of access to clean drinking water and other grave humanitarian crises in many areas.

The British government, through its participation in the war on and occupation of Iraq since 2003, is responsible for these crises and the consequent displacement of millions of Iraqis. Instead of helping accommodate refugees fleeing war and violence, it is now is planning to send them back en masse to face their possible death.

Deportation charter flights limit refugees’ access to due legal process. The UK Border Agency states that “charter flights may be subject to different arrangements where it is considered appropriate because of the complexities, practicalities and costs of arranging an operation.” Charter flight deportees are told that “removal will not necessarily be deferred in the event that a Judicial Review is lodged.” The emphasis, thus, is on filling the flight rather than ensuring the appropriate legal avenues have been exhausted. Detainees have also lost the right to know the date and time of their removal, making it more difficult for their legal representatives to act properly and leaving deportees in fear and uncertainty for days or weeks.

Iraqi refugees have been forcibly deported to Iraqi Kurdistan (northern Iraq) since November 2005. Mass deportation flights to Kurdistan have been removing 50-60 men almost once a month since June 2008, with the Home Office arguing that, unlike the rest of the country, the Kurdistan area is ‘safe’. The International Federation of Iraqi Refugees estimate 1,000 people have been deported to Kurdistan from the UK since 2005. Despite these claims of safety, however, several people have died or disappeared following their forcible return, including Hussein Ali who killed himself two days after his arrival in 2008. Many others have been forced into hiding.

The Stop Deportation network calls upon all groups, organisations and individuals opposed to this brutal action by the UK government to stand with us in calling for all deportations to Iraq to be stopped. Join us on the first public demonstration against mass deportations to Iraq this Wednesday, at 5pm, at the local immigration reporting centre, where many deportees are first arrested without prior warning whilst signing on (Communications House, Old Street, London, EC1).

If you would like to add your or your organisation’s name to this statement, or for any further information, please email stopdeportation@riseup.net.

Other things you can do to help stop this flight:

Contact your local MP and ask them to put pressure on the UK Border Agency to cancel the deportation. You can find your local MP at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk

Contact the UKBA directly to demand the deportation be cancelled:
Privateoffice.external@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
UKBApublicenquiries@UKBA.gsi.gov.uk
CITTO@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Contact the minister for borders and immigration Phil Woolas:
House of Commons phone number: 020 7219 1149
House of Commons fax number: 020 7219 0992
Constituency phone number: 0161 624 4248
Constituency fax number: 0161 626 8572

Please copy stopdeportation@riseup.net in your email correspondence.

Responses on -empyre- list

CATThe reasons I am writing this might not make perfect sense without the full responses, which are on the empyre list and comments on the previous post here, but my return post was an attempt to clarify where questioned and engage where challenged. Was useful for me if no-one else:

Hi All, Apologies for being slow at responding, some family difficulties have taken precedence, and the never ending routines of.. well, no need to whine on about it.

Many many thanks for the responses and comments. I was planning a post that would take us elsewhere, but time already achieved that. Let’s say I am happy to stick with the productivity of going ‘off topic’ in good directions, of even being out of sync – and of later attempting difficult crossings and even slightly impatient and breathless connection making (which I really liked, thanks Micha).

The thing about audio in cinema/movies is that while lip-service is paid to the ‘silence … action on set’ its exactly that priority – silence because the action will start that has sound continually relegated to the status of a second class citizen. Sound recording is fraught, often forgotten – and we have become very much accustomed to images, they seem easy (sure, they are not, but…), well, sound is not of equal import in the discourse on film, and that’s just the problem. When I was teaching documentary film (in my first ten years at Goldsmiths) there was one clear consequence of the limited resources we had. Picture image was pretty good on the various cheap-ish cameras available, such as TVR 900 and so on, but the sound was terrible. And when it came to editing, if the sound was terrible, that was about as good as things got. Great images, crap sound, often meant disaster. Some great films were made (you can see them on Daily Motion) but oftentimes they could have been a whole lot better.

“Except in music videos and cartoons, the soundtrack seems always to exist in function of the image” – Menotti

But even in music videos the sound seemed to be relegated – as Andrew Goodwin long ago argued in “Dancing in the Distraction Factory”, critics had become deaf. I don’t think he was just bemoaning the fact that New Romantic music was dominated by rubbish fashion. That he includes factory in the title of his book did not align him with Adorno or the autonomists, but it would have been nice if it had – I think there is something to be explored in the way the visual – surveillance, coding, presence – belongs to the realm of production under capital. The grooves of the record industry riff on this over and over, a culture industry, a distraction factory, a machine for value extraction. In the cinema no-one lets you scream.

I am happy to hear talk of mediation (Menotti), as without mediation, or rather without theorising mediation, I think we remain unable to comprehend what is going on. To the extent the cinema escapes its older factory conditions, it escapes via a mediation into new conditions, new circuits of occupying the city-space/our lives. Without mediation between the image and the production apparatus, there are only reified fixations – on the image, on the auteur, on the screen mechanics, even on the circuit. I like to call this trinketization – a limiting fascination with abstracted and isolated components of a system that cannot be grasped without a theory of mediation. The trinketization syndrome is very strong in cultural studies (objects, things, the fetish of commodities) and also in cinema (close ups, Kane’s Rosebud). Here Adorno chastised Benjamin writing his Arcades project wanting to have the things (all those bits and pieces of Paris etc he collected for so long, snowdomes and the like) communicate with each other in some kind of auto-dialectical arrangement. Adorno insisted this could not stand without a theory of relation, of mediation. I’ve long been a fan of juxtaposition, but agree that mere montage, revolutionary once, has so readily been co-opted by the culture industry that its no longer even raising eyebrows. The famous picture of Sergei Eisenstien shaking hands with Mickey Mouse is a trinket to ironize exactly this.

I’ve a slowly gestating piece on Citizen Kane (oh no, not again) along these lines, developed slowly as the opening to my lecture course on Marx’s “Capital” (lecture one – ‘The wealth of societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails presents itself as an immense collection of commodities’ – Kane collects… Without Kane, without the mediation that is Kane as capital, Kane in Xanadu, Kane and politics, newspapers, media (without Kane as William Randolph Hearst…) there are only trinkets, only Rosebuds. For the record, the gist is in these posts:

http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2007/10/05/welles-hearst-capital/
http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2006/09/03/quoting-marx-for-the-slums-–-zizek’s-parallax-viewpoint/
http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2007/10/02/kanes-snow-globe/
http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2005/10/13/why-film-students-babble-on-about-orsen-welles/

What I meant when I suggested – just threw it out there really – that “the city, and the border, is an audio-visual enclosure” is that the border is not just at the airport or the seaport, or the passport control check. The border extends, like sound, into every register of our lives. I have to refer to the back catalogue again here. A post on trinketization from the anniversary of Sputnik, in honour of Leika:

The border is not only geography and vision – though a line on the map and the sign at immigration control are our most immediate experiences of control – the border is also a process, an order, an iteration, uneven, performative and aural. The border is not just at the edge or boundary, it is also in the street, in the post, in the pub. The border operates between people. The hand raised to silence the offer of the migrant DVD salesperson who interrupts your quiet enjoyment of a beer – that too is a brutal moment of border control. Although of course we can insist that state boundaries are also porous, continually bypassed, more and less easily, in so many different ways; immigration control still stands as a block to movement and mediation.

The resonance of the war and power is strong here – echoing with the sounds of silence, dispossession and death to which our eyes become deaf, our ears have become blind.

Is our boundary prejudice built into the structure of the border control? A logic of presence, geography and vision govern the strong sense of truth that belongs to knowledge. We say knowledge is divided into fields (geography) and seem most often to designate knowing through a confident designation. We indicate truths by pointing (vision), there is presence in understanding. Now perhaps there is an alternative in the metaphoric code with which we name movement and sound. It may be possible to hear a more critical tone, to raise questions about the assertions of certitude – when critical we say we are not sure we agree, we doubt, we say we do not like the tone. Can thinking through travel and sound suggest new ways of linking across the borders between us all – as sound crosses the border in ways that tamper with visual and geographic blocks (pirate radio, music, language, the sound of falling bombs…). But we also say, when critical, that we cannot see the point. Ahh, with this last the too easy divide of metaphor into those that point and assert knowledge through vision and those that question and challenge through sound does finally break down. But perhaps there is something in sound that can suggest more, that allows us at least to listen to another possibility, temporarily opening up ears and minds.

It is often thought, but we could be more precise – that movement across borders of all kinds is a good thing, breaking taboos and genre rules is an unmitigated good. Of course, cross disciplinarity is claimed as a boon (in cultural studies for sure), but clearly other crossings – of capital, of weapons, of imperial power – are not so welcome. Capital moves one way, surplus value extraction another. Cross-border global movement (music distribution, television news, democracy) might not always be a boon. No doubt pirate radio enjoys much approval, but communications media also have a less favourable heritage (radio as used, say, by the National Socialists in Germany) and present (the contemporary normative narrations of ‘democracy’ by the Voice of America, the BBC, or with the televisual uniformity of CNN). A more careful thinking that notes the metaphors of critique, distinguishes movement and sonic registers that affirm or disavow, works to undo that which destroys and divides, fosters that which unites, organises capacity to live otherwise with others…

Crossing the border, a great achievement, pushing the boundaries, also sometimes caught and fraught in contradictions. For cross-disciplinarity and border transgression, against control by Capital – we need to sublate movement out of, under and around control. No simple task. The sound of a dog barking in space might caution against uncritical celebrations. Lest we forget Laika, dead on  Sputnik 2 these 51 years ago today.

And earlier, an attempt to suggest we could start working against a geographical model of the Border or the Boundary. If we recognize the border is not just the port, but the entire city, as in “everywhere, in everything we do”, in each interaction between people related, somehow somewhere to belonging – how violent this is – if we recognize the border as a wall between us all, then we might see reason to have to reconfigure the very idea of nation, boundary and movement that so distracts us. Secondly, the border is not just at the edge, but at any port, at the immigration office, in the postal service that delivers the visa, in the police checks, the detention procedure – in the everyday reactions of people to each other even as they stand and stare. Thirdly, if we think of the way sound and meaning travels across the border, might we start to develop ways of thinking critically against this geographic boundary – and the old models of nation, culture, race that the border secures? What would it be to ask critically about, and so reject, the way we have fixed the border through property, maps, geography – and so leave that space that has been deaf to other movements, transmissions, resonances. Would this work things differently, otherwise?

Which might be what I might – maybe – could – possibly have meant by “filming your way across”? The ‘second life’ of theoretical language (thanks Johannes, I like that) is pretty useless if it does not provoke suggestions that might lead us to actions more effective, more capable, more able to win (against Capital, which has tanks and theory… there is so much more to do here… but I must run elsewhere).

Thanks so much for the time, if you read this far. I will lurk on…

John

Empyre – extensions of the city discussion (border reprise)

kipnistheaterI’ve been invited to participate in the Emyre mailing list discussion this week, so will cross post here. Already gone off piste I guess, but hey:

Empyre is here.

Thanks for the invitation to guest here. I wanted to start with two quotes from the rubric for this discussion:

“From the Depth of Projection to the Extension of the City The performances with projection rescue the tri-dimensionality of the place and set the image back to human proportions. This allows us to jump from closed to open spaces, from private to public domain. The city is not only a setting: every wall can be a screen; every window, a projection booth”

“The borders between public and private spaces are essential for the existence of cinema as such”

Thinking about this, I went back and looked up the early comment that: “cinema is a collection of techniques to make the light lay on a surface” – my trouble with this definition, perhaps, is mainly that it leaves out the audio – the surround sound of the cinema space. In so many ways the city, and the border, is an audio-visual enclosure. The audio cannot be ignored in cinema, even when it moves away from the proscenium screen. I think it is productive to think of the city as cinema (this is not new) but also to think the border this way. Audio-visual passports? Even our dialogue on the border is scripted. Sure, the border begins as a line in the sand, and cinema too has a silent pre-history, but even this spatiality was never totally mute.

So, ‘media as architecture’ sure, but this includes sound, and we need a way to talk of this without relegating the metaphors to secondary status behind the screen (where the speakers are?) – I am deeply dissatisfied with the term soundscape and all this talk of distance. The way metaphors of vision and geography dominate the audio-visual. The whole thing about writing on the screen gets stuck here too – though that would take an excursus into Derrida (and perhaps Stiegler) to unpack, and cost us years and lives.

So, to cut to the main theme – all this comes up in our [Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, AHRC Beyond Text] project on Borders, which I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce here. This may seem opportunistic, but my habit is to think in reverse, or against my first expectation. See what I did above – started thinking about the screen only to insist on talking about audio. The idea behind the borders project stems from this kind of wayward/dissonant process.

So, I want to think in the opposite direction from film studies, not with a view to understanding film, or screens or media, though of course film studies helps us understand what we see (and hear), but to suggest that we ask what can our understanding of film (I’d rather say, the telematic) can bring to our understanding of other pressing questions.

For me, the ‘pressing’ questions have to do with issues such as migration, racism (profiling, the war of terror, security hysteria) and capital (economic restructuring, cultural economy etc). Also perhaps climate/environment, and of course resistance to capital (what is required to ‘win’?).

One part of this – backwards thinking process – is to ask how an understanding from one field – eg., cinema/telematics, screens, the audio-visual etc., – might offer ways of rethinking things in another – such as terror, or racism, or migration/borders – and reconfigure the activities and activisms that stem therefrom. A series of our Border workshops have explored this, following a trajectory from the audio, through performativity and now, next, to cinema. How do these areas of interest provoke new modes, sites, registers of activism and action? I hope you can read between the lines here and we can set up a relay between this project and the current one on “Extension of the City” (my next post on cities I promise, though here I am already engaging with the suggestion that ‘This division [of cinema space] reflects not only the organizational logic of the cinematographic industry, but that of society as well’ ).

Anyway, here is the Border Documentary call, recently sent out, for the workshop to be held in Copenhagen in November (mentioning the earlier workshops too):

In “Sonic Border” (London Nov 2008) we explored the way sound crosses the border differently, provoking a rethink of the border’s location – not just in ports, and the authoritarian boot boys of the nation state, but between us all, in conversations, in ideas – an oppressive structure of language, meaning, representation, and in the cry of protest and in the music of solidarity across divides. The border echoes everywhere, it resonates and shouts from every station location, wherever you listen look. Sound problematized the geographic and visual location of the border regime.

In “Theatre Border” (Berlin April 2009) the performative, tactile and ritualistic force of the border as staged power suggests we rethink connection, touch, proximity and co-responsibility. The theatrical exclusion of others manufactures a charade populated by demons, caricatures and monstrosity. We don’t want to be cast in such dramas.

In “Border Documents” (Copenhagen Nov 2009) we will join the CPH.DOX documentary film festival to consider the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media – what does thinking about border activism and the telematic offer us? Possible topics include the border in television news, the in-focus out of focus role of CCTV in detention centres, the scanning screens of the immigration check, the civilian phone-cam exposé of deportation and ‘Torture Taxi’ (special rendition) flights, and more.

We are interested in new perspectives on the status and function of the documentary forms today, as they cross the ontological divide between fiction and truth, art and reality (objective/subjective, social, political, ethical etc) and frame alternative ways of seeing, witnessing, representing, archiving and experiencing ‘the elements of truth’ (Steyerl, 2003). Can we understand documentation not as paper passports or mere representation but as docketing the (re)construction of (new) social and political realities – we are interested in time and screen formats that offer access to critical recontextualization of the reproduction of borders, and of unfolding new agents of social and political (ex)change. On a more formalistic note, how does the documentary form carry a politic, an ethics or epistemology and how can the documentary film help us see and act differently? Does the time of the border transform its place, or its performative character? Does border activism lend itself to the cinematic? Can we film another way across?

Border Documents (here)

CPH.DOX: http://www.cphdox.dk/d1/front.lasso

fragment on machines

cockroachwriterA note to keep for later: our argument evaluates the idea that machines for generating meaning can be examined as rendering text or as points of access to a world beyond or before rendering. Placing a hand on the cave wall at Lascaux before spittting/spraying paint to make a silloette is a machine; the hair line qusdrant grid of the rensisssance/quattro centro landscape artists is a machine; Raymond Roussel writing parentheses is a machine. Perception is often understood as co-constitutive mechanics, the question to explore here has always been about the relationship between what there is and how it is known. Machines vibrate with the world to draw our attention.

Border Documents

IMG_2590In “Sonic Border” (London Nov 2008) we explored the way sound crosses the border differently, provoking a rethink of the border’s location – not just in ports, and the authoritarian boot boys of the nation state, but between us all, in conversations, in ideas – an oppressive structure of language, meaning, representation, and in the cry of protest and in the music of solidarity across divides. The border echoes everywhere, it resonates and shouts from every station location, wherever you listen look. Sound problematized the geographic and visual location of the border regime.

In “Theatre Border” (Berlin April 2009) the performative, tactile and ritualistic force of the border as staged power suggests we rethink connection, touch, proximity and co-responsibility. The theatrical exclusion of others manufactures a charade populated by demons, caricatures and monstrosity. We don’t want to be cast in such dramas.

In “Border Documents” (Copenhagen Nov 2009) we will join the CPH.DOX documentary film festival to consider the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media – what does thinking about border activism and the telematic offer us? Possible topics include the border in television news, the in-focus out of focus role of CCTV in detention centres, the scanning screens of the immigration check, the civilian phone-cam exposé of deportation and ‘Torture Taxi’ (special rendition) flights, and more.

We are interested in new perspectives on the status and function of the documentary forms today, as they cross the ontological divide between fiction and truth, art and reality (objective/subjective, social, political, ethical etc) and frame alternative ways of seeing, witnessing, representing, archiving and experiencing ‘the elements of truth’ (Steyerl, 2003). Can we understand documentation not as paper passports or mere representation but as docketing the (re)construction of (new) social and political realities – we are interested in time and screen formats that offer access to critical recontextualization of the reproduction of borders, and of unfolding new agents of social and political (ex)change. On a more formalistic note, how does the documentary form carry a politic, an ethics or epistemology and how can the documentary film help us see and act differently? Does the time of the border transform its place, or its performative character? Does border activism lend itself to the cinematic? Can we film another way across?

We will meet over three days in mid November (9th-11th here) in the Arts Academy of Copenhagen, as part of the wider CPH.DOX festival (which runs 6th-16th – see here). More details soon.

“Border Documents” will be the third Network meeting of the Beyond Text Beyond Borders group, funded by the AHRC Beyond Text Program) and with the participation of University of Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies, Friei University Berlin InterArts, Jadavpur University (India) Film Studies and Goldsmiths College, Centre for Cultural Studies, as well as with Clandestino Festival (Sweden), Migrant Media (UK) and, of course, now CPH.DOX (Denmark).

 

UPDATE: http://wp.me/PcKI3-hW

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CCS STATEMENT OF OPPOSITION TO THE NEW REGULATIONS IMPOSED AS A RESULT OF POINTS-BASED MONITORING

frompda%2B010To:  Goldsmiths, University of London

We are strongly opposed to the implementation of the new attendance monitoring policy and related policies that have been imposed on our university by the Home Office under the new points based immigration system recently introduced in the UK. We invite our colleagues in at Goldsmiths and across the University of London to join us in voicing their opposition to these policies and in fighting their implementation
The new regulations make us do a policing job in our classrooms, turning both academic and administrative staff into agents of the UK Border Agency. We object to this for reasons both political and professional. We are concerned that the regulations represent possible breaches of European human rights conventions and seriously threaten our students’ rights to mobility, privacy and education. Although recent changes to implementation of the law have expanded the scope of student monitoring and reporting–with the result that policies explicitly targeting the monitoring and reporting of information about non-EU students have been expanded to include the monitoring and reporting of information about all students–this does not disguise the fact that these policies are discriminatory in intent and will very likely be discriminatory in practice. International students are an integral and valued part of our community, and we do not accept any measures that will lead to the unequal treatment of non-EU students as a result of their enrollment on our degree programmes.

As will be evident to anyone involved in teaching and learning in a university environment, the new regulations are ill adapted to that environment and out of touch with the lived realities of our work. They detract from academic freedom and will have profoundly negative impacts on the relationship between staff and students, which should be one of trust, not of spying and control. The turnaround time stipulated for the reporting of student absences is unrealistic, and the new regulations will lead to increases in workload for both academic and administrative staff. In the case of our own academic unit, the very premises of attendance monitoring fundamentally misconstrue our mission as a postgrad teaching and research centre. Finally, the regulations raise questions as to the security of staff, placing them in a position where they are probing into and ultimately violating students’ rights. Because staff will be unwilling to inform on students in a way that results in their expulsion from the UK, the regulations may also have the effect of discouraging staff from enquiring after students’ well-being, interfering in our ability to carry out pastoral duties and threatening students’ security as well.

In raising these concerns, we join colleagues at Goldsmiths and at other higher education institutions in the UK, who have publicly stated their opposition on related grounds (Goldsmiths UCU; UCU Black Members’ Standing Committee; UCU Black Members, University of Kent; Manchester Metropolitan University; a coalition of institutions in Liverpool; as well as the Institute of Race Relations and the National Critical Lawyers Group). We also join, significantly to our mind, Goldsmiths Student Union, which in November 2008 passed a motion asking staff not to comply with the new rules.

Finally, the new immigration policies are of urgent concern to all at a time when our university communities are facing unprecedented economic pressure. Due to new (and excessively stringent) financial requirements of students applying for visas to study in the UK, the new policies will have negative impacts on recruitment. These will hit us immediately, at a time when we are under pressure to increase international student enrollments college-wide. The difficulties recently reported by postgraduate research students who have applied for visa renewals in the final months of their degree work are also worrisome and stand as further evidence that the new immigration rules will detract from the quality of teaching and learning and are ill-adapted to our mission as a university.

We sincerely hope that Goldsmiths will insist on being a teaching and research institution, and that it will maintain its commitments to its educational mission by opposing the implementation of the new Home Office regulations both on our campus and in the context of the growing national campaigns.

Scott Lash, Director, Goldsmiths Centre for Cultural Studies

Centre for Cultural Studies Staff
Jennifer Bajorek
Josephine Berry-Slater
Matthew Fuller
Graham Harwood
John Hutnyk
Breda McAleer
Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay
Luciana Parisi
Lisa Rabanal
Adela Santana

Scouting Shame NYT.

14explorers_span

“‘There is no document of civilization that is not simultaneously a document of barbarism‘” (Benjamin p. vii)

A photograph of five young Americans in combat gear beside a ‘Homeland Security’ bus graces the front page of the New York Times on May 13 2009. This image catches my eye on a day when newly discovered atrocity photos from CIA ‘facilities’ in Afghanistan and Iraq should be published, but are not so as to avoid undermining the war effort and the troops at the front. Anxious excuses are conjured for spin and impression management… we get this unbelievable shot of Explorer scouts tooled up for the kill.

The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

I am taken by the photograph because it appears on the day the Obama administration plays the ‘don’t look’ card on terror (after a word from Pentagon chiefs, Obama backtracked and announced he would fight any release of the new set of detention images – this is reported on the same front page). But I am also curious about a quirky little detail in the bus picture. Look at the line of tooled-up scouts in the shot. The very last one doesn’t seem to think the situation is all that serious. A big grin on his face, forgetting the seriousness of the security role-play, has he tapped his colleague on the shoulder to say he likes his combat trousers? ‘Dude, I got these on special at ‘Old Navy” says his colleague. ‘Awesome’. I wonder if there is perhaps-possibly-maybe a little chink of critique, on the part of the NYTs photographer, in this edge-of-the-image smile? Such good terror-fighting teeth too. I would ‘hope’ we read this scene against the grain. Yes we can.

The article offers a great many other howlers – including strange juxtapositions: one such follows on from the news that neophyte Explorer Cathy is ‘attracted by the guns’ and says: “I like shooting them … I like the sound they make. It gets me excited.” We then get the observation that the police who supervise this ‘training’ have been exploring in their own perversions: “There have been numerous cases over the last three decades in which police officers supervising Explorers have been charged, in civil and criminal cases, with sexually abusing them”.

It seems though we are safe. This is after all only a role-playing game (with Arab dress-ups and other harmless panto fun). We are assured that ‘the training … is not intended to be applied outside the simulated Explorer setting’. OK.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the same paper, another photograph of another line of troops catches my eye – a dead soldier is being returned to the US. RIP Michael P Yates, killed by one of his own in the counselling tent (image not online, but article here). The televisual reporting of the return of troop bodies was suppressed by a former President, but the correspondence between the line of Explorer scouts and the solemn line of the troops in the second picture is poignant. (Troops dead so far in Iraq and Afghanistan nearing 5000). This picture too appears a few pages before a full page ad taken out by a right wing group, suitably named the ‘Torture Truth Project’ that condemns those who would embarrass the US internationally by mentioning the ‘only three’ detainees that endured water boarding. The text of which is a special rhetoric all on its own when it tortures the truth by warning that ‘we are losing the goodwill of people across the world’. Welcome to the USA Today, in the NYTimes.

The Scouts, you may recall, are the spawn of Sir Colin Baden-Powell, also famous for having developed the detention camp at Mafeking over a century ago. Be Prepared. I remember this slogan from my own youthful disciplining as a scout (was mostly fun of course, smoking behind the troop hall) and I know my grandfather in the UK and father in Ukraine were also enthusiastic adventurers. Energy and curiosity turned into memoir.

Struggle for Justice is necessary. Free Gaza by whatever means. This time by donation.

dignity9

[Readers will know I do not endorse charity giving - see Rumour - but note the distinction between buying a boat for the Free Gaza movement and other good causes. This one must float. Lets buy a boat, ahoy].

AN URGENT APPEAL TO HELP BREAK THE SIEGE OF GAZA

Monday, 04 May 2009 15:47 Last Updated on Monday, 04 May 2009 19:20 Written by Free Gaza Movement

“From the groundbreaking work of Gandhi and King to the ongoing example of the Free Gaza Movement, we can discern the transforming power of nonviolence at a crossroads in our history.”
-H.E. Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the UN General Assembly

Dear Friends,

we desperately need your help. It’s with heavy hearts that we have to inform you that the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, has been lost outside Larnaca port in Cyprus. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident.

On 30 December 2008 the DIGNITY was rammed by the Israeli navy while on a mission of mercy to deliver critically needed medical supplies and doctors to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. Thanks to the heroic efforts of its captain and crew, the DIGNITY was able to find safe harbor in Lebanon, later making its way to Cyprus for repairs. Early this morning we received a call from the Harbor Master in Larnaca, informing us that the ship was taking on water. While attempting to tow her to safety, the ship went down. An inquiry has begun into the circumstances surrounding her demise, possibly due to storm damage suffered during the night.

All of us in Free Gaza are deeply saddened by the loss of the DIGNITY. Since the Free Gaza Movement was founded in 2006 we have worked hard to overcome the siege of Gaza. Israeli policies of racism, ethnic cleansing and the brutal military occupation of Palestine demand our determined & direct resistance. When our governments fail to act, we – the citizens of the world – must stand up and make our voices heard.

To date, the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven voyages to Palestine, successfully arriving in Gaza Port five times. We have brought dozens of human rights workers, journalists, parliamentarians, and others to Gaza, as well as tons of desperately needed medical and humanitarian supplies. Free Gaza boats are the first international ships to sail to the Gaza Strip since 1967.

None of this would have been possible without you, our friends. Your emotional, political, and financial support is the foundation of all our successes.

We’re turning to you today, because we need your help now more than ever. Please visit our donate page for more information on how you can help ensure our continuing missions to Palestine. Please give generously.

Despite our loss today, we will not be deterred. In one month we will return to Gaza with the HOPE FLEET, a flotilla of cargo and passengers ships carrying significant amounts of humanitarian and reconstruction aid. Thanks to your support, we will go to Gaza again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the rest of the world.

This is our solemn promise.

Sincerely Yours,
Huwaida Arraf
Greta Berlin
Eliza Ernshire
Derek Graham
Fathi Jaouadi
Ramzi Kysia
Vaggelis Pissias
The interim Board of Directors for the Free Gaza Movement

PS: We’re suggesting a donation of €50, but please give what you can. Your contributions will go directly toward the purchase and overhaul of new ship that can break through the siege of Gaza and help connect Palestine with the rest of the world.

http://www.freegaza.org/

Crerative Practices Beyond Borders (sonic, theatre, doco) 21 May 2009

img_1595Event: though not exactly a public one – I am speaking about Creative Practices Beyond Borders to a meeting of the AHRC on 21 May at UCL. So, what to say – the brief is to talk about the project and what we have done with the coin they offered us (ahem).

Two meetings of a series of Beyond Text Network grant workshops have been held over the last year in London and Berlin, and the third is planned for Copenhagen in November 09. We have had guests from 12 countries, including as far away as India, Australia and Singapore. The network was has examined Creativity Beyond Borders and taken up themes from Music, Theatre and Film to rethink the ways that a number of different kinds of borders are conceived. In our discussions, the border was found to be porous, often contested, a contact zone, shifting and multiple. The ways that borders work between things, and between people, was found to be constitutive. We have had people sing in seminars, interrupt performances, walk the border of the city, present art works, and challenge preconceptions yada yada dada.

In ‘Sonic Border’ (London November 08), the theme of sound was conceived as a way to rethink the visual and geographic fixity of the border (pirate radio, for example, crosses the border in interesting ways), and the idea of vibration emerged as a possible model for opening up notions of analogue communication. A highlight was a presentation from Professor Les Back of his recordings of New Cross from the roof of the Goldsmiths Tower, using advanced sound equipment he was able to modulate a range of sounds – from sirens to school kids talking, that would normally be merely ‘din’ in what is the noisiest of London boroughs. Rangan Chakravorty and Paramita Brahmachari travelled from Kolkata to be with us, and Johannes Anyuru and Alexander Motturi introduced us to Clandestino. Camille Barbagello was great on the Cross Talk project and there were many other good things. At the end of the week another highlight was our trip to Coventry Cathedral to join the Noise of the past: Postcolonial War Requiem’ event, which included composition of a new War/Peace Requiem for the cathedral. We participated in the conference and attended the screening of films and the recital in the Cathedral. All very relevant to our discussions, this event with 800 people (organised by another AHRC project headed by Nirmal Puwar and Sanjay Sharma) was a great conclusion to our network meeting week.

At ‘Theatre Border’ (Berlin April 09) the performative apparatus was explored in a way that suggests a premium on attention. Those that cross the border perform in disguise, go covertly, or make use of diversions. Our ‘research’ here in part involved a series of guided investigative and documenting walks along parts of the ‘borders’ of Berlin, including the former wall. There were presentations about the wall from the Goethe Institute and from filmmaker activist Hito Steyerl, there were enactments of the border, and a peripatetic form of workshop organisation emerged, much to the delight I think of our guest from Kolkata, Rustom Bharucha, this followed by a brilliant visual (still and moving image) collation and presentation of the materials collected on the walks. These will be posted on the site in due course. Joan Marie Kelly came with images from Singapore and India and Miro Kaygalak and Raul Gschrey gave back to back provocations that worked really well.

There are lots of people to thank, and we thank them, and will continue to do so – more to come on the workshop page in the sidebar.

State of Nature

son

The good people at the journal State of Nature thought it a plausible idea to do an interview. A fine opportunity to talk about what I was reading (and writing) at the time. Happy May Day. See you at the parade.

Berlin Theatre Border program

img_1473Theatre Border is was the [update: very successful] second of our AHRC Beyond Text Creativity Beyond Borders Network events, this time in Berlin at F.U…20-22 April 2009

See the link for more [and eventually a commentary], but the program was:

Program structure:
(which is intentionally loose to allow time for discussion and for borders to be porous)

[and don't you think this picture looks like something Leonardo might have staged?]

Monday: From 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m at Clubhaus.

10am Coffee

10:30 am Introduction Prof Dr Erika Fischer-Lichte and Prof John Hutnyk

11:15 am Dr Julian Henriques: Boarders and Skins: haptic crossovers, tympanic rhythms and sensory surfaces

12:30 lunch

2.30 pm “Goethe Institute Mauerreisse project discussion”, introduced by Kerstin Raatz

3:30 short break

3:45 Paulo Lara and Luiza Valle “Theatre of the Oppressed: Brazil, Parallels and Exercise”

5 pm Future Plans

6.45 pm Drinks and Dinner at “Alter Krug”

Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. to 09:00 p.m.

10:30 Chen, Lin “Restructure of the border with making belief performance”

11am Ray Ganz: “Van Gogh’s Ear: New Voices In Radio Art”

11.50 coffee

12:10 pm Raul Gschrey and Dr Dietmar Kammerer: “Performing in Surveillance Space”

1:30 pm Lunch

3:15 pm Miro Kaygalak: “qwx – show ur lingua” – chair: Kien Nghi Ha

4:00 pm short break

4:20 pm – instructions from Cristobal and Nicolas
W-B-B [Walking-Borders-Berlin]. See full description
5 pm leave for walking event –

8 pm dinner (central, tbc)


Wednesday: From 10:00 a.m. to end, back at the Clubhaus.

10:30 am Joan Kelly: “Theatricalizing Portrature”

11 am Dr Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay: “Theatricalizing Portrature commentary”

11:30 Coffee

11:50am Alexander Motturi and Johannes Anyuru: “FÖRVARET” (The Detention Center)

1:20 pm Lunch

3:20 pm Screening and discussion of “The Empty Centre” with director Dr Hito Steyerl

5 pm break

5:20 pm – 6.30PM Responses from walking event and party – venue tbc.

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Sonic Border was Nov 3-8th 2008 at Goldsmiths. The Theatre Border discussion starts here. Then we will join with the Copenhagen documentary festival (CPH-DOX) for film/border in November 09, but there are no details of this (to be worked out in Berlin – its a rolling program. Or maybe more of a cascade… avalanche…drift…

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