Counter Mapping Queen Mary

Counter-Mapping QMary: the university and border technologies

13-24 May 2010, Queen Mary University, London

To begin by asking <what is the university> requires an investigation
of the function of the university not only as a knowledge factory but
also as a border. Our investigation of what the university produces as
knowledge, hierarchies and power exposes the border/s that operate in,
on and around the university. That <the university is a border> is
made possible by the operation of a filter mechanism. The counting of
bodies, money in and money out, who can and can not enter, what are we
when we leave, the limits of what is and is not knowledge and the
complicity with national and global border regimes – who and what is
stopped at the border?

A group of students, staff and researchers at Queen Mary University
have set out to map the ways in which migration, border technologies,
surveillance and monetary flows intersect with the university as our
place of work and study. Joining us in the project are the <Counter-
Cartographies Collective from the University of North Carolina>, who
will help to explore the dynamics and possibilities of mapping as
method and action.

From Thursday 13 May – Monday 24 May we will gather to discuss,
research and take action to produce a counter map of Queen Mary
University. As part of our practice we will be facilitating <three
public workshops> to expand the participation and possibilities of the
project. These workshops as well as the counter mapping production
process are open to all who are interested and are free to attend –
please see below for the programme and contact details. The venue for
all events will be room 4.08 in the Francis Bancroft Building of Queen
Mary Campus and is accessible.

Thursday 13 May, 2pm
Imaginaries of the university

<Opening event of the Counter/Mapping QMary project>

The Counter-Cartographies Collective will present their work on the
neo-liberal university and discuss their maps, methodologies and
actions. This session will address our imaginaries of the university –
current and potential – and will conclude with a drift around QM campus.

Thursday 20 May, 2pm
How to make a counter-map

<Workshop: mapping as method, practice and action>

The Counter-Cartographies Collective will facilitate a workshop on
radical collaborative mapping skills using available open source
mapping software and web-based data-mining techniques. Free and open
to all, email us to register.

Monday 24 May, 4pm
The politics and potential of counter-mapping

<Presentation and open discussion>

In this event, Counter/Mapping QMary project will present their map of
Queen Mary. This presentation will be followed by an open discussion
of the methods and politics of mapping the university as a site of
migration, education and labour struggles. Invited interlocutors: The
Students not Suspects Campaign (Goldsmiths), No Cuts at Queen Mary
Campaign, Jane Wills, David Pinder, Ishani Chandrasekara, Miguel
Mellino, John Hutnyk, Alberto Toscano

Counter/Mapping QMary
Facebook: countermapping qmary

The Counter/Mapping QMary project is generously supported by the
School of Business and Management and the Geography Department at
Queen Mary University.

Border Patrols (redux)

The city is the border. Each time you wave away the Chinese DVD seller who approaches you in the pub; each time you glide past the Polish beer in the cornershop, choosing a stella or chardonnay instead; each time you discard the free advertising newsheet you’ve barely even read – a million instant statements of the border.

Sex worker postcards in the last remaining telephone booth (new in town!); spruikers on the curry shift entice you for a deal; dragging angry and Peckham through the CCTV streets at dawn – the border is the city and the walls between us all.

It could not be that we don’t know this: that the management of the border is a mass participation project operated absentmindedly by all of us all day. Through an overkill of commentary and a shifting, churning hierarchy, the profiles, stereotypes and judgements that are constantly made yet so often denied are the guilty enactment of this regime. Border Police do their work – spot check, detention, deportation – all the better because our everywhere everyday distracted border operation is there in all we do.

The regulations are on the streets, the regulators are here.

[a post from the start of the present Border project – here (from june 2008) – in order to remind us that things as they are now and things as they were then are, well, both are worse:  UKBA, Tory Caps, the idiot TV ‘debates’, Flockers, bigots]

Rally Against RIOTINTO in Sydney 20 May 2010

Rio Tinto’s obscenely rich bosses are notorious for attacking trade unions, trampling on Aboriginal rights and plundering the wealth of peoples in the “Third World.” And they are used to getting away with it! However, since the Peoples of Republic of China (PRC) jailed four Rio Tinto executives for bribery and stealing information from the PRC’s public sector, Australia’s corporate high fliers and their parliamentary servants are in a bit of a spin. Why? Because someone has finally stood up to Rio’s bosses. For our part, let’s use China’s robust prosecution of the Rio bosses to publicise the nasty methods used by big business owners in their drive to exploit more and more wealth from the toiling masses. Now that we have seen that a serious force is willing to take on Rio’s bigwigs, let’s take up the offensive here against the anti-worker attacks and unrestrained greed of all the big corporate bullies.

Thursday May 20
Outside Rio Tinto’s Sydney Office,
19-29 Martin Place
(Cnr Castlereagh Street, same building as the US Consulate)
For information call 0417 204 611
When in the 1960s Aboriginal people in the Cape York objected to a Rio Tinto subsidiary’s failure to offer decent compensation for building a bauxite mine on their land, Rio worked with the Queensland cops to have the entire Aboriginal community of Mapoon arrested and their whole town burnt down. In the late 1980s when the people of the PNG island of Bougainville rose up to resist the way that the Australian arm of Rio (then called CRA) was operating its huge Panguna copper mine without any regard to the local people, the PNG government and its masters in Canberra waged a brutal war and blockade against the Bougainville people. As a result 15,000 Bougainvilleans perished – all for the sake of Rio’s profits. Then in the 1990s Rio Tinto used intimidation, spied on union activists and bribed workers to leave unions so as to drive out trade union influence from iron ore mines and other mining sectors in Australia. They are still at it today! Rio has been arrogantly resisting calls to negotiate a union collective agreement with ore train drivers in the Pilbara. Meanwhile, on January 31, Rio Tinto locked out 560 U.S. miners in Boron, California who had refused to accept a new contract that would casualise the workforce, impose involuntary overtime etc. Rio brought in scabs protected by armed private security guards and government riot cops. Rio bosses are used to having state forces enforce their will. So they got an awful shock when four of their multi- millionaire executives were arrested for corruption and plunder of public property in the PRC (China). You see, in the PRC, the state is not run for the sake of the Rio Tinto bigwigs and their mates. Australia’s pro-capitalist politicians have made out that the jailing of the Rio high fliers was simply about a commercial dispute between Rio and Chinese steel corporations. However, while Rio is dominated by rich owners, China’s steel companies, like all its biggest corporations, are socialistic state-owned enterprises that belong to all of its people. When Rio bosses rip off such companies they are stealing from 1.3 billion people! In contrast, when Rio makes a grotesque profit then that brings little benefit to its workers. Take the year 2008, for instance. Despite paying themselves lavish executive salaries and over $2.6 billion to shareholders for the year’s
dividends, Rio bosses announced in December 2008 that the company would slash its workforce by 14,000. The mainstream media here have tried to portray the Rio Tinto prosecutions as a case of China picking on foreign companies. Yet the PRC is in the midst of a wave of arrests of local corporate figures and high-ranking officials and politicians for plundering public assets. Soon after the Rio Tinto executives were formally indicted in February, China’s (now ex-) richest man Huang Guangyu was also charged with serious economic crimes. Meanwhile, thousands of notoriously unsafe privately-owned coal mines have been forcibly nationalised leading to significant reductions in workplace deaths. Moves to shore up publicly-owned property in China should be welcomed by Australian working class people. Furthermore, the Shanghai convictions have added significance here. For they not only publicise the devious methods of Rio’s bosses but they also prove that these powerful capitalists are not invincible. Encouraged by this, here are some things that we should be fighting for and proclaiming here:
  • Open all of Rio Tinto’s books and those of other corporate giants to inspection by unions – Expose all
  • corruption, hiring of anti-union outfits and bribery of community leaders. Down with the Fair Work Act
  • restrictions on union rights to inspection of company documents!
  • Force Rio Tinto to accept union agreements with workers in all key sites.
  • Smash Rio Tinto’s union-busting actions in Boron, California! Victory to the Boron mine workers!
  • Ban any company that can pay any of its executives or owners more than $300,000 in annual renumeration
  • or dividends from laying off any workers.
  • Stop Rio Tinto, BHP, Xstrata etc from trampling on Aboriginal land rights.
  • For Rio Tinto to pay out the compensation demanded by Bougainville people in a current U.S. court case for
  • Rio’s crimes against humanity and racial discrimination in connection with the Panguna mine.
  • Extradite to China the Australian-based Rio bosses whose office was proven to be responsible both for
  • receiving the secrets stolen by Stern Hu and for further encouraging his corrupt activities.
  • Thank you Peoples Republic for standing up to the Rio Tinto corporate thugs. But go further – Expose more
  • fully the role of Australian-based Rio Tinto executives in the corruption!

CHINA IS CRACKING DOWN ONPRIVATE SECTOR CORPORATEGREED AND CORRUPTION!IT’S TIME THAT HAPPENS HERE!  Rio Tinto’s obscenely rich bosses are notorious for attacking trade unions, trampling on Aboriginal rights and plundering the wealth of peoples in the “Third World.” And they are used to getting away with it! However, since the Peoples of Republic of China (PRC) jailed four Rio Tinto executives for bribery and stealing information from the PRC’s public sector, Australia’s corporate high fliers and their parliamentary servants are in a bit of a spin. Why? Because someone has finally stood up to Rio’s bosses. For our part, let’s use China’s robust prosecution of the Rio bosses to publicise the nasty methods used by bigbusiness owners in their drive to exploit more and more wealth from the toiling masses.  Now that we have seen that a serious force is willing to take on Rio’s bigwigs, let’s take up the offensive here against the anti-worker attacks and unrestrained greed of all the big corporate bullies.

Gothenburg Border Reverb June 8-13 2010

BORDER REVERB @ Clandestino

To challenge the (in)security and (in)sensibility of European immigration regimes, Clandestino Talks presents Border Reverb. Joining forces with the Creativity Beyond Borders Network from the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London, Clandestino brings a number of key thinkers together to rethink the Border and its politics.

Workshops and talks will offer challenges to restrictive immigration laws and practices and the ways these intersect with creativity, performance and artistic and musical opposition. Border Reverb will include keynote presentations by Eyal Weizman, Julian Henriques, Abhijit Roy and Rangan Chakravorty. The five-day session will begin with a special evening event on Tuesday, 8 June, with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in conversation with John Hutnyk.

Border Reverb will examine the after effects of immigration and asylum policy, border and visa regulation and security surveillance, as well as ways in which activists, artists and musicians have engaged with border politics worldwide. Clandestino has always supported such critical thinking and this workshop is part of a push towards a new Europe – a Europe without exclusions. The workshop is accompanied by a video art screening curated by the LDN/BRU network (Benoit Loiseau & Joanna Figiel).

Border Reverb is part of Creativity Beyond Borders, an AHRC Beyond Text Research Network project that brings together researchers in India, London, Germany, Denmark and Sweden that work with the themes of borders, activism and the arts. The network developed around a series of week-long intensive research workshops, running in different cities from November 2008 to June 2010.

Sonic Border (London, November 2008) 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. Border Documents, in conjunction with CPH.DOX documentary film festival (Copenhagen, November 2009) considered the border as it unfolds in time/screen based media and examined the telematic border, CCTV and the scanning screens of the immigration check.

Highlights so far have included the successful workshop of Förvaret/Detention theatre piece that went on an extended run at the Göteborgs Stadsteater, Sweden. The run up to the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which coincided with our Berlin Theatre Border (Berlin, April 2009) meeting, gave prominece to the themes of memory, border and national bifurcation and reunification. In Border Infection, we continued the theme of peripatetic walks with a maritime and music themed exploration of the environs of Deptford, South-east London. An accompanying art exhibition curated by LDN/BRU raising the themes associated with the workshop featured artists from the Network.

Border Reverb/Clandestino Talks – draft programme

(we advise checking the Clandestino website for scheduling changes


Tuesday June 8th 2010

18.30–19.30 | Welcome reception
19.30–21.30 | Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak in conversation with John Hutnyk


Wednesday June 9th 2010


– Elena Papadaki,

– Rico Reyes

– Ray Ganz et al              Roundtable on Art Practices


– Sarah Ralfs “The reverb of the author/director”

– Benoit Loiseau and Jo Figiel

– Julian Henriques: “Vibratology: material, corporeal and political aspects of sounding”


–Eyal Weizman: “Forensic Architecture: Only the criminal can solve the crime”


Thursday June 10th 2010


– Maria Mogren “Berlin. Brunnenstrasse” (film, 45 minutes)

– Jennifer Otter & Andrej Mircev “Scenes from the Liminal”


– Raul Gschrey “Border lines. against/between/about arts and borders”

– Mary Claire Halvorson “Rhizomes/Reflections”


Friday June 11th 2010


– Heidi Hausbruch & Rachel Palmer

– Abhijit Roy “Bollywood borders”


PER WIRTÉN @ Novotel [in Swedish] – co–arr with Arena


– Carla Mueller–Schulzke: “Re–sounds of urban London”

– Rangan Chakravorty: “Bangla Bands”


Saturday June 12th 2010


– Alyson Coyle “At the Border of Love & Labour: rethinking the Work of care”

15:00- 17:00

– LDN-BRU films. “Border Reverb: rethinking the border and/in the art practice”.