What is the weight of the Moon – 2 Feb 2011 at the Free Cinema School Salon W1H 5BW

What is the Weight of the Moon?

Screening and discussion Nabil Ahmed: a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy.

Wednesday 2 February 2011, 7-9pm

Free Cinema School Salon

Centre for Possible Studies

64 Seymour Street London W1H 5BW


Nabil Ahmed took the title for What is the Weight of the Moon? from The Middleman, a film by Satyajit Rai forming part of a cycle of films that reflects on the political implications of being a student in Calcutta during the 1970s. Ahmed’s project is a response to the situation of over 50,000 Bengali students whose colleges are currently under investigation by the UK government to assess their legitimacy. Through the medium of film, What is the Weight of the Moon? explores the low visibility of the colleges, which are often identified only by ambiguous-looking signboards in the east London area, and the near-invisibility of their students.

Originally conceived as a two-channel video installation consisting of a video essay and a set of edited interviews, Ahmed’s work places student interviewees outside the frame. The viewer is invited to become an active listener by controlling a three-channel audio mixer to hear field recordings and simultaneous translations of the interviews in Bengali and English.

For the Free Cinema School salon, the videos will be screened separately and will be accompanied by an artist-led presentation and discussion, mapping the various strands of the project, from the Bengali language movement to anti-documentary techniques and the neoliberalisation of education. Respondents will include student activists.

Nabil Ahmed is currently a PhD student at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths. His practice involves working with people, software, video, spoken word and text to form critical responses to relevant political questions. He has collaborated with various galleries, project spaces and institutions, including the Victoria & Albert, no.w.here, Wet Sounds, Waterside Project Space, The Showroom and openvizor. He is the co-founder of Call & Response, London’s first multi-channel sound art gallery and project space.


UfSO international (New York clocks in)

The recent UfSO exposé of Coutts & Co saw simultaneous action take place on both sides of the Atlantic.  Whilst the UfSO undertook its creative action in the face of upper-class bankers Coutts & Co’s creative accountancy, a coordinated lecture was staged at Coutts’ New York offices.

On the 28th and 29th Jan UfSO featured in an initiative from New York’s The Art School in the Art School, which saw them present work including recent UfSO action in the ‘I know you know I know you know‘ exhibition, curated by the ACE Curatorial Collective at Hunter College’s Times Square Gallery.

In conjunction with this and in solidarity with UfSO the group attempted to gain entry to Coutts New York offices and staged a reading of the UfSO lecture on site.  We would like to express our gratitude to them for doing this and encourage similar affiliated actions or autonomous educational interventions from like-minded groups across the globe.  Off-shore mobility can be no defence in the face of global action.  We call for globalised mass action in the face of a coordinated, world-wide attack on public values, jobs, workers rights and access to education.

See here for UfSO Pages

News Flash Coutts-Flash

This was just sent in to me from wherever the off shore institutional base of UfSO is just now (having done a deal it seems):

Friday, 28 January 2011

For immediate release

Flashmob at Coutts, private bank to the British establishment

Today the University for Strategic Optimism (UfSO), light-heartedly flash-mobbed the head office of Coutts in 440 Strand, London. Dressed-up as wealthy bankers, the group presented the bank with a giant blank cheque representing the bailout it has received from the UK taxpayer. Coutts is a private bank for the super-rich and although almost entirely publicly owned by the UK tax-payer (as a subsidiary of RBS) and its main business is to help its wealthy clients to avoid paying taxes.

The peaceful action was carried out by the University for Strategic Optimism, a university based on the principle of free and open education, a return of politics to the public and the politicisation of public space. Its previous activities have included other flash-lectures in banks and shops; interventions on the tube and a conference on violence, presented live from the Parliament Square kettle at last year’s student protests. For more info, see the UfSO blog http://universityforstrategicoptimism.wordpress.com (video of today’s action coming soon).

As the queen’s own bank, Coutts is very selective of its customers and half a million pounds is the minimum requirement to open an account there. But even if you can’t afford to bank with Coutts, as a taxpayer you are among the majority shareholders of its parent company, RBS. With branches throughout the UK, Coutts specialises in what it calls ‘wealth management’ on behalf of its super-rich customers – in other words, helping them avoid paying taxes.

Coutts, one of the oldest pillars of the British financial establishment, was adopted as the location of the UfSO’s latest action in order to highlight the ridiculously unfair situation of UK taxpayers propping up a financial institution that exists primarily to help the wealthy avoid paying those the very taxes that keep it in existence. Those not rich enough to bank with Coutts are paying through their contributions for a bank that enables the wealthy to avoid them. The injustice of this situation is staggering. What’s even more staggering, is the fact that it seems very few actually realise what it is that Coutts does, and that it received funding from the government bailout.

When the government claims there is no alternative to the ongoing, devastating cuts to public services, welfare and university education, we need only look to Coutts to see that lie graphically exposed. The government is using our own money to prop up a bank, which exists in order to encourage wealthy individuals, whose private fortunes could more than tackle the deficit, to avoid paying their fair share. With its antique wallpaper and private banqueting suites, publicly owned Coutts is a parody of private privilege and vividly exposes the criminal ideology behind this government’s fire sale of our treasured public institutions. The corporate advertising slogan of such a bank should be: ‘Pay your taxes so the super-rich don’t have to’. Whilst the government is using our money to help out these tax avoiders, public services that we all rely upon are being systematically dismantled and sold off. This is the serious issue that the UfSO seeks to draw attention to with today’s action.

Contact: universityforstrategicoptimism@gmail.com

The Paper ‘Minus One’ Edition

The Paper ‘Minus One’ Edition: is now available  [the pdf version can be found at ThePaperEditionMinusOne]

Or better yet: Get your freshly printed copy of the paper at the London demonstration against fees and cutsSaturday 29 Jan – ULU from 11am

We’ve felt it in the streets, in occupations, in walkouts, teach-ins and at Top Shop. In the assemblies, conferences and meetings – every time we get together we discover that it’s broader than we thought. We are in the midst of the most exciting student movement in Britain for decades. In the past months there’s been a joyous explosion of organising and creativity against the ConDem’s plans for austerity. And not just against the cuts to education, but increasingly for envisioning and building better ways of teaching, learning and creating knowledge. Undergraduates, education workers, school and college students – people from many different areas – have mobilised and been energised and now we need to establish better channels of communication and start learning from each other.Producing a newspaper is a strategic move in developing this kind of solidarity. With The Paper we want to build a space to reflect on, critique and learn from the frantic and inspiring actions we are all involved in; to host a meeting place in print for radical, considered analysis and commentary on tactics and strategy. We need to develop a sense of ourselves as a movement: a collective imaginary. Thus we need to know who we are, where we are, what we’re fighting for, what holds us together and what keeps us apart.

Underlying the spirit of The Paper is also a commitment to provoke debate and self- reflection. To broaden the movement’s vision and enable a re-imagining of the role and practice of education in our society. This we can only do by positioning ourselves not simply in the student movement, but also in the wider struggles that are emerging daily against the government’s brutality.

The Paper as an object is strategic: not only will it provide an important archive and record for struggle, but through its distribution, it can strengthen networks. Instead of living in the often anonymous, brief and fragmented discussions that dominate the web, The Paper aims to foster an accountable forum for debate, and to engage a wider range of participants. In providing a space for more sustained and in-depth analysis, The Paper recognises that a great deal is at stake in this struggle – that we need to develop analyses and collective strategies that go beyond the immediate fight against cuts. By voicing, analysing and imagining pasts, presents and futures different to those that are told or sold to us, The Paper can provoke and inspire us to act in the now, transforming our present.

So here is edition minus 1 of The Paper. Minus 1 because it is framed by questions for you: What would a paper for and by the movement look like? Is it possible to create a paper that school students and university lecturers, ESOL learners and library workers all feel belongs to them? Can we create a forum for genuine engagement across networks, occupations, and autonomous projects? This edition was produced by an ad-hoc editorial board of activists, students, troublemakers and artists from a broad radical political base. Take it as a message in a bottle to existing networks and projects, co-ordinating committees and aroused political consciousnesses: a call out for your contributions. The Paper is yours to seize, use and fertilise.

Contact us: Email: emailthepaper[at]gmail.com Send your letters to the editorial collective, event listings, drawings, reports, articles, photos and other bits and pieces for the next edition: by February 15th. We have a free subscribers postal service, so to receive the next edition email your contact details. We have regular editorial collective meetings and are always looking for writers, designers, proofreaders, editors, artists and energetic folk to get involved.

Contributors:Nelly Alfandari, Camille Barbagallo, Nic Beuret, Sofie Buckland, Alice Corble, Rachel Drummond, Mara Ferreri, Saskia Fischer, Janna Graham, Kate Hardy, John Hutnyk, Ewa Jasiewicz, Jeanne Kay, Jason Francis Mc Gimsey, Eddie Molloy, Jeronimo Montero, Bue Rubner Hansen, Francisco Salvini, Laura Schwartz


Now also online: http://wearethepaper.org/


Border Farm 28.1.11 7pm Free (South London Gallery)

You are cordially invited to the screening of

Thenjiwe Nkosi

BORDER FARM (2010, 30′) is a docudrama about a group of Zimbabwean
“border  jumpers” who make their way across the Limpopo River to seek
work on farms  in the far north of South Africa. It is part of a larger
project conceived  by director Thenjiwe Nkosi, working with a group of
migrant farm workers  living on the border. Written, performed and crewed
in part by the group,  BORDER FARM portrays the many-layered drama of
forced migration and raises  questions about national borders and their
impact on individuals and  communities. The screening will be followed by a
discussion with Polly  Savage (SOAS and RCA; and former MA student at the
Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths).

Friday 28 January, 7pm, Free
South London Gallery
65 Peckham Road
London SE5 8UH

This event is part of CONTEMPORARY AFRICA ON SCREEN, curated by Jennifer
Bajorek, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the South London Gallery in
partnership with Juma Bah, Community Action Southwark

Screening and discussion are FREE, but booking recommended
On 020 7703 6120 or mail[@]southlondongallery.org



Supported by the London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange /
Goldsmiths, University of London / Community Action Southwark / Arts
Council England / Southwark Council

Roshini Kempadoo 27.1.2011 Goldsmiths ‘Thursday Club’



27th January 2011

Roshini Kempadoo is a London based photographer and international media
artist. For the Thursday Club she will discuss Domino Effects a multimedia
interactive artwork and involves an inter-disciplinary approach toresearch and a creative outcome, involving HCI design, visual culture,
performance, sonic environments, postcolonial and global studies, andcreole theories.

See: http://www.roshinikempadoo.com

Recent writings:
Kempadoo, R. (2008) ‘Amendments: A fictional re-imagining of the Trinidad
archive.’ Journal of Media Practice, 9:2, pp. 87 – 99.http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals.php?issn=14682753

Recent exhibitions:
Liminal: A Question of Position
Rivington Place, London
March -25th April 2009

7th Encuentro: Staging Citizenship: Cultural Rights in the Americas
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics
National University of Colombia
August 21-30, 2009

Online portfolios
Represented by Autograph, A selection of photographs from a range of work
is available.

Open Frequency – Axis curated programme
Nominated by Mark Sealy, Director of Autograph, 2005.

Roshini Kempadoo is a London based photographer, media artist, and Reader
in Media Practice at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences,
University of East London. Recent exhibitions include: Staging
Citizenship: Cultural Rights in the Americas (2009) 7th Encuentro, Museo
de Artes, National University of Colombia, Bogotá; Liminal: A question of
position (2009) Rivington Place, London; Art & Emancipation In Jamaica:
Isaac Mendes Belisario And His Worlds, (2007) Yale Center for British Art,
USA; and the retrospective exhibition Roshini Kempadoo work: 1990 – 2004,
(2004) Pitzhanger Manor and Gallery, London. Recent publications include:
‘Amendments: A fictional re-imagining of the Trinidad archive.’(2008)
Journal of Media Practice, 9:2; ‘Back Routes: historical articulation in
multimedia production,’ in Alan Grossman and Áine O’Brien (eds.) 2007
Projecting Migration: Transcultural Documentary Practice, Wallflower
Press, London; and ‘Digital media practice as critique: Roshini Kempadoo’s
installations Ghosting and endless prospects’ in Victoria Arana (ed.) 2007’Black’ British Aesthetics Today,Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle.



Venue: 3/4, Ground floor, Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths University of

Cost: Free to all

Time: 18:00 – 20:00

Further information contact: j.jefferies[@]gold.ac.uk
Club convenor: Professor Janis Jefferies
Department: Computing (Digital Studios)