This is the holding page (dumpmaster) for the Beyond Text: Creativity Beyond Borders network grant workshops that were held in London, Berlin and Copenhagen, and Gothenburg Sweden. The workshops are done and dusted, we are now broke, but there will be more somehow…
and there is: the book is OUT!
Beyond Borders – order here
With Jon Sack and Ewa Jasiewicz, authors of the graphic chapter in our Beyond Borders book – out now: pavementbooks.com/beyondborders… http://fb.me/Z9Ck13zL
Beyond Borders book in the shops soon… here is the postcard.
Possible blurb for the book on borders (edited volume, nearly done, press details soon)
Beyond Borders – ed, John Hutnyk
This collection of essays, graphics and theatre displaces our understandings of borders so that we cannot look the same way at that which invades our everyday, that which kills and excludes, that which sounds out across divides and that which connects and soothes. Addressing activism, philosophy, film, art and music, the book includes a graphic essay on the Gaza Flotilla and an original play The Detention Centre. Essays by prominent scholars and writers address citizenship, visa queues, the home economy, philanthropy, student fees, transportation, terror, camps, poetic license and more. The book makes a virtue of the chance encounter of creativity with structure so as to invent new angles on the politics of borders and movement, breaking with regulatory thinking and always looking to slip under or over the wire. The border effect is everywhere, even between our pages. We are for rampant transgressions – and an end to borders of death.
And a first stab at an even more abstract longer rave for it:
> 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. 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. Here, 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. So, 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?
>> 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 register 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, time 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.
>> But borders are also blocks. And we are complicit in this myopia. 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.
> 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…-
>> Beyond Borders is supported by an AHRC Beyond Text programme Network Grant and the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, and is edited volume with work by John Hutnyk, Leila Whitley, Enis Oktay, Angela, Rachel Palmer, Nabil Ahmed, Liz Thompson, Ben Rosenzweig, Ewa Jasiewicz, Raul Gschrey, Rico Reyes, María-José, Carla Mueller-Schulke, Kiwi Menrath, Rangan Chakravarty, Johannes Anyuru and Aleksander Moturri.>
Erm, stop press: *Hot Topic Alert* – because the points based immigration in context conference
is coming up soonish, this blog will temporarily be turned over to various longer pieces discussing the new ‘objects’ of immigration law/oppression. Some of the papers to be ‘published’ here on this blog are talks that were given at the Beyond Text Creativity Across Borders workshops, some are destined for publication elsewhere and appear here with thanks, others have been written for the blog. Please read and discuss (Trinketization will return to its usual occasional transmission shortly, but in the meantime, something important… and a book in the works very soon)
Enis Oktay – From Oncology to Pediatrics: The Infectious Border Economy and the Corporate Border Experience
Ben Rosenzweig – International student struggles, or, Causes of the mediated processes of reproduction
Nandita Dogra – The ‘Kingdom’ Strikes Twice- Double Whammy on Post-study Skilled Immigrants.
More to come…
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.
Check this video out — border reverb http://youtu.be/P5dkib9hRzw
Border Reverb/Clandestino Talks – draft programme
(we advise checking the Clandestino website for scheduling changes http://clandestinofestival.org/2010/en/)
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 & Labor: Rethinking the Work of Care”
– LDN-BRU films. “Border Reverb: rethinking the border and/in the art practice”.
Look here for discussion of how of the proposed sessions for Gothenburg:
Border Next (Gothenburg 8-14 June 2010)https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/border-next/
Border Infection was great. The evidence is in: Chris Collier is a contemporary artist writing here, and says nice things of our Lon:Bru Beyond Borders gallery show alongside the Beyond Text Newtwork workshop in March:
There was the last show of the year in The Gallery, Goldsmiths which was the fantastic Border Infection, from Raul Gschrey, Nicolas Sauret & Ashley Wong, Moustache Collectif, Helen Turner and curated by Benoît Loiseau & Joanna Figiel. Border Infection was the result of an ongoing collaboration between Beyond Borders and LDN/BRU that 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, as well as ownership and dislocation, the show includes multimedia installations, videos and performances. The exhibition was held in conjunction with John Hutnyk of Centre for Cultural Studies cross-disciplinary symposium Beyond Borders. The exhibition was fantastic, amongst the strongest we’ve had (alongside Café Trojan Horse and Paper Jam in my eyes) and the opening/performance was really great too, fantastically attended and a great atmosphere. The work was really great and we all ended up down the pub afterwards a little worse for wear to round off a good evening.
Some fine pics here.
We are doing it all again in Gothenburg, only different. See here.
Click the above to download poster and program for Border Infection At Goldsmiths 22-24 march 2010.
Border Infection – Goldsmiths 22-24 March
Border Infection…Border Infestation…BorderIndigestion! … We want to give the BorderAuthority 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).
EXHIBITION – Monday through Friday || 22–26 Marc
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″
Alix Brodie “‘God Bless the Village Green’: Protecting Fortress Britain in Fashion and Music”
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.
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)
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.
Please leave your suggestions here: http://wp.me/pcKI3-Aa.
The discussion of the Clandestino program is here:
Border Next Border Reverb @ Clandestino
CPH:Dox Border Documents
November 27, 2009
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…)
(to be updated soon – Copenhagen reports welcome – please post here)
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?
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 below <*>.
“Border Documents” will be the third Network meeting of the Beyond Text Beyond Borders group, funded by the AHRC (logo) 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).
At the Berlin meet 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.
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. 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 question 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, 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.
The people-filled picture to the side above is of one of the dinners at our first Network meeting (the Sonic Border workshop, program below – this was the thursday evening). There were several such meals, but this was the one Emile liked best. Holding him is Hanna, then going round the table, Hanna’s friend, James, Mathias, Teivo, Nath, Johannes and Emile’s mum Tara.
The second photo is from Theatre Border and references Leonardo, allegedly.
Sonic Border was Nov 3-8th 2008 at Goldsmiths. The Border/Theatre)was in Berlin in the week of 20 April 2009. Discussion started here but the program is below..
border documents 9th-11th November 2009.
PROGRAM FOR COPENHAGEN BORDER DOCUMENTS
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.
15.00-17.00 (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.
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
11.00–13.00 (Seminar room)
Round table discussion on ‘Borders and Selves’
‘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’.
‘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.
15.00-16.30 (Seminar room)
Round table discussion on ‘Framing Border’
‘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.
‘[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)
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
11.00–11.30 (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.”
‘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.
15.00-17.30 (lecture room)
‘Seen Through a Very Small Screen: Camera Phones at the Border’
Phone cameras offer anti-deportation activists and civilians a way to document incidents at the borders between nation states. The resulting images can expose human rights abuses and make visible the hidden violence of the border. At the same time, the act of holding a camera up in front of your face creates a filter or screen through which to view reality. How might this affect the face-to-face encounter that forms the basis of an ethics of responsibility towards the Other? By examining photographic images and interrogating the role of the photographer, the aim will be to explore the possibilities of such photography and to consider an ethics of the phone camera.
Discussion of the Future of Beyond Borders.
18.00 Beyond Borders Workshop after-party….
From here on its older stuff…. a hold all page for Border Beyond Text Materials.
There will be more to post on how the Borders theme is progressing beyond text, but in the meantime, check out our friends at Transversal and an article for them I wrote called ‘Contact Zones‘.
<<<Theatre Border Berlin event discussion is here>>
Theatre Border is the second of our Beyond Text Creativity Beyond Borders Network events, this time in Berlin at F.U…20-22 April 2009
See the link for more, but the program is:
(which is intentionally loose to allow time for discussion and for borders to be porous)
Monday: From 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m at Clubhaus.
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
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”
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”
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”
11:50am Alexander Motturi and Johannes Anyuru: “FÖRVARET” (The Detention Center)
1:20 pm Lunch
3L: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.
Some of the posts that refer to the project so far (in no particular order):
July 5, 2008
I am rereading Eyal Weizman’s really excellent book “Hollow Land“, and I’m taken by his comment that the border is not always symmetrical. Of course, some are blocked, some pass freely, Capital flows through, commodities glide on by, others stand in line or have to sneak under the wire (if lucky). What else crosses the border, and how? Can this symmetry be tampered with in innovative ways, so as to support… Add this to the street as the border right here right now, and the ubiquity of border controls in our every move (for and against) and … Anyway, this below just had to be elevated from the comments of this post here, with dates amended, since its now time to start thinking out loud how to implement the thing. Get in touch if interested:
June 25 2008: I have been awarded some money from September for a network on the theme of ‘Beyond Text‘, and propose to use it for work on border activism and creativity – music, theatre, film. AHRC in their wisdom and generosity have included money for people from India to come to Berlin London Copenhagen – and possibly Barcelona, this year and next.
The project: we are gathering Border Activist/artists from a couple of organizations and propose to meet together over a week X 6 in the next two years – some casual meetings, some workshops, some public talks – to work out some ways to break with conventions of border arts, pursue border activisms – and of course tamper with Border Patrols. The thinking needs to be furthered as its pretty sketchy as yet, but I want that to happen in concert with others. Migrant Media London, Clandestino music festival Gotebourg, Re:Orient theatre Stockholm and friends in Unis at Barcelona, Berlin FU and Copenhagen Doctoral School.
The times are not yet fixed, but I wanted to give advance notice….
A slightly better outline of the plan: The money I have is small, and specifically for events in Berlin, London and Copenhagen and for visitors from Calandestino festival, Re:Orient theatre, and Migrant Media film, and various people from Kolkata. It is to run a series of week long laboratory-workshops. These will be variously on music, theatre and film. The focus is on border crossing activisms in some way, I hope. Nothing is worked out yet, but at a guess the dates would help – approximately, a week each in:
early November 08: London (music)
week of 20 April 09 Berlin (theatre)
Nov 09 Copenhagen (Film)
Berlin 2010 (music)
Copenhagen 2010 (theatre)
The people involved will be working on border activism, transnational, diaspora, streets as borders, the border between ourselves, everywhere, everyday…mainly, but specifically with a film, theatre and music angles. Any ideas welcome…
The first meeting at least will be music focused. A week long ‘laboratory’ on ’sonic diaspora’ to be held in London in November. There would also be a big music night at the Amersham Arms pub. The laboratory would involve various practitioners in music, and academics from Europe, in a series of workshops (no idea exactly on what yet) in the week.
So, these are just preliminary ideas, but get thinking of border again… and have a look at your calendar. – John
June 25, 2008
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.
resonance beyond text
May 16, 2007
Julian and I are clearly going mad. We sit in the pub after work for a pint and instead of watching football or something normal, we plan a response to the new Arts and Humanities Research Council plan to fund research on the theme ‘Beyond Text’. Our troubles with beyond text have to do with its narrow textualist framing even when it mentions sound and objects – the framing seems to be largely in terms of language, reading, vision and grammar. I am not so silly as to quote Nietzsche to the Government (’you believe in Grammar – you believe in God’), and clearly this first draft is not the one we will want to send either. Good thing this is a weblog unread by the enemy, huh. Still, got to put it somewhere or it will burn.
Hey AHRC folks:
We welcome the opportunity to contribute some thoughts to the formulation of the research programme Beyond Text.
We are especially interested to pursue the idea of ‘literacy and competence associated with media other than written text’ because we recognise in this an implication that engages with our research on the possibilities and potentials of different conceptualisations of the formation of knowledge and meaning. In particular we would stress the reconfiguration of thinking about the senses as something we would want to push to be genuinely innovative. We agree that Beyond Text offers many opportunities for this, and we suggest the following concerns be taken into account
– the privilege of the visual concept of knowledge. We suggest that in the second part of subdivision on Text and Image in the Framework document, the question seems too narrowly framed within the visual when it asserts that ‘we read texts: it is a practice of vision’. Certainly this is the conventional conception of texts, but if the aural or other senses are taken as reference, perhaps another tone might be heard. Where the question is framed as ‘how does this visual practice differ from, and relate to, the ‘reading’ of drawings, images, objects and the world itself?’ we would want to ask if there are other conceptions of reading Beyond Text and different to the way the visual structures knowledge (deferring in time, utility, sounding acoustomatics [thanks Brian]) . For example, a critical combative model of knowledge might be asserted, questioning tone, the timbre or tenor of argument, investments in affect etc. This is perhaps to be asserted as different to the register of pointing, indicating and underscoring knowledge, and the visual-geographical division of knowledges into fields etc.
– the privilege of structure. Following on from the above, a literalist model of Beyond text could imply also a geography of knowledge. Starting here, we want to travel ‘Beyond’. We think this can be usefully complicated by thinking of Beyond Text as also implying pre- and outer-, sub- hyper and non-text.
– a privilege of inscription. We are particularly interested to note the reference in some of the documentation to silence. Text includes gaps – these gaps need not be thought of as physical or visual (space between words is time and conceptual difference, as well as a fact of typography). Amplifying the idea of silence and the un-known (known knowns, unknown unknowns etc…) we are interested in the unnameable. We are interested in projects (or abjects) that attempt to find expression for, and address, the unnameable, or the process of articulation of naming the unnameable.
– the privilege of one model of process. Instead of a given order of knowledge, we are keen to assess conceptions of knowledge, memory, performance, (interpretation, reception, witnessing) which do not begin or end with the unquestioned object. Affect, embodiment (embodied knowledges) excess, audiospherics, abstraction, obstruction and deferral (in time, in emotional impact, as decay) are also important. What kind of questions are possible if we reverse the privileges of linearity, order words, ordering grammar, structures of disciplining thought? Is it possible to transmute grammar into registers other than language? We are interested in a grammar of motives (Burke), a grammar of metaphor (Miller), a grammar of excess (Bataille). We are interested in the structuring of knowing bodies (a grammar of embodiment – Ingold, Grassini), and we are interested in the possibility of thinking knowledge as affective, emotive, moving, multiply registered, critical, dialectical, triangulated, post-visual, wild, echoing, algebraic; and we are keen to evaluate resonance, dynamism, proximation, and contrapuntal or atonal notions of knowing. We want to imagine thinking of knowledge through other than the usual ideas about memory, vision, utility, and to reconfigure knowledge as sensuous in relation to music and sound, to touch, fear, cause, consequence, import and consideration. We are interested in the potential of a challenge to things as they are seen to be. We welcome the opportunity to raise these issues.
Our research on creativity, diaspora, hybridity, communication and transmission of cultural topi, is governed by our investigation of these themes. We believe a distinct contribution is possible as consequence of rethinking Beyond Text in a radical, critical mode. Our past research investigates how sonic dimensions of migrant and diasporic culture differ from visual and written texts in the expression of subjectivity, affect and identity; and we particularly explore how the ‘embodied’ and ‘performative’ aspects of sonic cultural production register markers of (regional, ethnic, class and gender) identity, which other media are less able to do or must do in different ways. We believe such research challenges the conservative implications of essentialist ideas about migrant identity, and certain current versions of globalisation, creolisation, hybridity and multiculturalism. The innovative character of sonic research enables more productive understandings of the power relations between dominant and diasporic communities, and perhaps enables the creation of new theoretical and conceptual tools with progressive implications for other areas of investigation (e.g., how sonic rather than visual culture informs and constructs other cultural fields and social formations).
blah de blah blah bla… and this isn’t even for the money. More an indication of how anything worthwhile gets twisted when you try to write it into the formulas and forms of research council funding frameworks. Still, underneath the paving stones… the research we want to do… what we do… see the what;s on pages soon for some of it. Now, Wolves v West Bromwich Albion.
The AHRC framework consultation document is here.
Sonic Border on the anniversary of Laika
November 3, 2008
Sonic Borders begins today at Goldsmiths (draft program here) – can’t sleep because its also the 51st anniversary of the space dog’s lonely death. Also, more favourably as an augur, its the 91st anniversary of the October Revolution – in November. So I should post something about dates and repetition…
Instead, typing up some notes from last week when, to give a talk in Malmö, I crossed the border from Copenhagen into Sweden by train; across a bridge, in blinding rain and mist, to the sound of the rhythmic rumble-rush of steel wheels on rail. There was no passport or ticket check, no indication of passing the border, no visible marker of nation or difference. Only the shift of language station announcements from Danish to Swedish registers the change.
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.
September 5, 2008
I am looking forward to this visit to Malmo (third item here) to talk about movement and home. Happy to be asked, and I would be very keen to start with some very brief comments.
Obsessing about things like this for a while now, I would – so there are no big surprises – first suggest that 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?
I will have to think of some examples to make this less abstract, they are everywhere.
The above developes this.
February 19, 2008
I like the fact that Trever Paglen and A.C.Thompson write in such a clear forthright style in their book “Torture Taxi: On the trail of the CIA’s rendition flights” (2006 Melville House New Jersey). Classified as ‘current affairs/military history’, I think this is compulsory reading for so many reasons. Not least of all the way a much maligned nerdy pastime – planespotting, noting registration numbers of aircraft at airports – is itself rendered a powerful research strategy and builds a dossier (another loaded word, as indeed is ‘loaded’) on CIA flights, crimes and deceit. The tone throughout is carefully modulated, and all the more effective for that. It is the best book I have read in a while, and not only for gems like this, where our authors talk of:
“dozens of cases in which the CIA had kidnapped the ‘wrong’ person, or had kidnapped someone under distressingly low standards of evidence: One of those ‘erroneous renditions’ turned out to be a college professor who had given an Al-Qaeda member a bad grade (the professor’s name was presumably given to the CIA by the disgruntled former student [fn ref to Chicago Tribune of July 31, 2006]). About a dozen of these men have ended up in Guantanamo Bay” (Paglen/Thompson 2006:169)
Though the standards of evidence for the above are equally thin – how do we check if this student was an Al-Qaeda ‘member’ (as opposed to say, a member of Facebook or some other dodgy spectral org?), how do we know the grading was not indeed biased, what happened to both student and Prof? – the anecdote is nonetheless not unbelievable given our own local security errors(!) in regard of cases like the ‘Lyrical Terrorist’, Forest Gate and Stockwell tube.
There is much good info in the book: on Air America, other covert CIA ops worldwide, and the banality of evil that are front companies, homeland security and international surveillance/kidnapping/assassination. As an example of people’s inquiry, the book is impressive, and all the more necessary in the face of approved fascism. To not engage such investigation and intervention is complicity. Who’d have thought this could be a revolutionary slogan: ‘Planespotters of the world Unite!”
Up up and away… and now a word from our sponsors:
“According to The Washington Post, ‘extraordinary rendition’, or the US’s practice of kidnapping suspects, flying them to an undisclosed location in a third-world country, and torturing them to force a confession about their role in terrorism, is ‘the largest CIA covert action program since the height of the Cold War.’ In a daring first-person investigation, AC Thompson and Trevor Paglen expose the torture apparatus of the CIA, revealing both the workings of its top-secret-and officially-denied extraordinary rendition transport system and the clandestine ‘black sites’ where terror suspects are held. It is a story that takes them around the country and around the world: by following CIA planes from the Nevada desert to Ireland, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and by using FAA data, corporate records, and Army aircraft documents, they uncover an international program involving corrupt domestic politicos, civilian aircraft operators, and the highest levels of government. Torture Taxi is the first in-depth look into a startling and disturbing new truth about the role of torture in the ‘war on terror’.”
Draft Programme for:
SONIC BORDER/ Sonic Diaspora/Beyond Text
Monday 3rd – Saturday 8th November 2008
Monday, 3 November
2:30 –3:00 pm – Rooms 137a and 138
Introduction by Julian Henriques ‘Thinking through Sound’
3:00 – 4:00 pm Chair: John Hutnyk
David Graeber. ‘Prisoners of Sound ’
4:00 – 4:20 pm
Coffee and tea break.
Johannes Anyuru and Aleksander Motturi ‘Clandestino Festival in an Age of Ethnicism’
6:30 – 7:00 pm
Explanation of Coventry Event, introduction of those from Kolkata and other guests.
Drinks and dinner.
Tuesday, 4 November
1:00 – 2:00 pm – Rooms 308 and 307
Les Back ‘Siren’s Cry: The War on Terror and the Carceral City’
2:00 – 2:15pm
Coffee and tea break
2:15 – 3:45 pm Chair: Anamik Saha
Rangan Chakravarty. ‘Sound and Fury: The Language of Music: Contemporary Bangla Bands’
Paramita Brahmachari. tbc
3:45 – 4:00 pm
Coffee and tea break
4:00 – 6:00 pm Chair: Leila Whitley
Marc Teare. ‘The Secret History of a Musick Yet To Be.’
Carla Mueller-Schulzke. ‘Transcultural Soundscapes: Creative Musical Practice and the Politics of Sound.’
Kiwi Menrath. ‘Sounds Aquatic: From Oceans and Flows to Muddy Waters.’
Rico Reyes. ‘Echolocating: Barrionics, Colonial Melancholia, and Technological Euphoria’
Tuesday evening we will be travelling to SE1 to join Thomas Altheimer for an event.
52 mins film Europe For President at Alma Enterprises’ project space on November 4th in Glasshill Street, SE1 (no street number, signs in the small street will lead you to the venue). Altheimer will open the event at 7 pm with an ‘Act Of Concession’.
The film documents Altheimer’s attempt to launch a European candidate for president in the US. It is produced by German, French and Austrian television and premières on French/German broadcaster on Nov 1st at 6 pm (see German press release: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFde/inhalt/28/0,1872,1404028_idDispatch:8094208,00.html ).
Wednesday, 5 November
College Open Day. Free Morning
In the afternoon we will attend this separately organised (by GMD, Deptford TV and CUCR) film/talk event in DeptfordTown Hall, New Cross Road, LondonSE14 6AF
4.30-5.15 – Deptford.TV Premieres: Black History Month
Four short films made by Goldsmiths MA Screen Documentary students for Deptford.TV on Deptford’s black history. They look at the story of reggae sound systems in the area, the growth of the black community here, and the racist violence of the 1970s and 1980s, including the New Cross Fire.
5.30-8.00 – Talkoake on se14 6af: What will New Cross be?
Goldsmiths, University of London, is located in the heart of the dynamic and diverse neighbourhood of New Cross. The area is home to emerging creative businesses, deprived council estates and large numbers of students. How do these different communities interact?
(see the end of this text for a little more on this event organized by Deptford TV).
Thursday, 6 November
THE PERFORMANCE OF CRISIS
November 6 2008 Rooms 137-138
Chair: Hanna Kuusela
11:00- 11:30 Introduction: Performing Crisis- Nicolás Salazar-Sutil
11:30-11:50 Crisis? What Crisis? Perspectives on the Credit Crunch- Andy Christodoulou
11:50- 12:30 The Madness of Decision- Dr James Burton- Goldsmiths College.
12:30- 13:30 Lunch break
Chair: Yuk Hui
13:30-14:30 Keynote Contribution: ‘Politicizing Crisis’ Professor Teivo Teivainen, University of Helsinki
14:30- 15:00 Value formation and crisis – Operativity of narrative – Lee Wan-Gi
15:00- 15:30 Something Between us: exploring social-fragmentation, philosophical anxieties and the economic crisis in America – John Ferrara
15:30- 16:00 Coffee Break
Chair: Cristóbal Bianchi
16:00-16:50 The inchoate situation of decline and the rhetoric of crisis- Dr Ina Dietzsch, University of Durham
16:50- 17:20 HO2Crisis: Water Wars and its trickling effect- Eva Slotegraaf
17:20- 17:50 Debord, Lautreaont and the aesthetics of negativity- Tom Bunyard
17:50- 18:30 The financial crisis as a window of opportunity: Hanna Kuusela
Friday, 7 November
11:00 – 1:00 pm – Rooms 308 and 307
Film: Jahaji Music, India in the Caribbean
Presented by Surabhi
1:00 – 2:30pm
2:30 – 4:00 pm
John Speyer and Music In Detention
‘Identities and Interactions in Border Institutions: Music in Immigration Removal Centres’
4:00 – 4:30 pm
Coffee and tea Break
– 6:00 pm
Karen Tam Songs not quite from Impanema.’
Camille Barbagallo. ‘Crossing borders. The xtalk project: free English classes for migrant sex workers.’
David Hysek ‘Quinta del Sordo – sense, theatre and sound’
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Future Events: February in Berlin, May in Copenhagen.
Saturday, 8 November
Noise of the Past – a poetic journey of war, memory & dialogue
Free bus to Coventry event (you have to book a place by emailing Leila on leilaaliel[at]gmail.com. Limited spaces available.
Noise of the Past – a poetic journey of war, memory & dialogue
This is a conference, screenings and performances in Coventry
CONFERENCE: War, Sound & Post-Coloniality
Saturday 8th November 2008, 1.30 – 5pm
St Mary’s Guildhall, Bayley Lane, Coventry, CV1 5RR – http://bit.ly/guildhall-map
Speakers include: Alessandro Portelli (Rome); Les Back (Goldsmiths); Prabhjot Parmar (Royal Holloway); Kuldip Powar (Film-Director); Francis Silkstone (Composer, Goldsmiths); Chair/Discussants: Shirin Rai (Warwick), Gen Doy (De Montfort) and Said Adrus (UEL).
Conference Programme -: Noise-of-the-Past-Conference. visit:
FREE – Register in advance, email: j.daykin[at]gold.ac.uk
PREMIER LAUNCH EVENT
Coventry Cathedral, 7.00pm – 9.30pm (FREE Event & Reception)
Screening of Unravelling – A film by Kuldip Powar, with original score by Nitin Sawhney
Performance of Post-Colonial War Requiem – composed by Francis Silkstone
A Special Opening by Martin Bell – OBE, UNICEF Ambassador, former war reporter & independent politician.
Noise of the Past presents two new related commissions produced from a creative call-and-response method to cast a different light on war and the art of dialogue.
Unravelling (2008, 17 mins) is the result of a unique film-making process, creatively working with poetry, archive materials, visual art and music. Internationally acclaimed Nitin Sawhney (http://bit.ly/sawhney) composed a new score in response to an original inter-generational poetic dialogue in Urdu between Sawarn Singh, a WWII Indian soldier who fought for the British in Burma, the Middle East and Africa, before moving to the UK, and his grandson, Kuldip Powar. Working with this haunting score Powar directed an evocative and searching film.
Francis Silkstone has also taken the inter-generational poetic dialogue as the source of inspiration for Post-Colonial War Requiem, a new score to be performed in interaction with the phenomenal space of Coventry Cathedral. Benjamin Britten’s original War Requiem inaugurated the newly-built Cathedral in 1962, offering Remembrance without militarism. Though consciously inclusive, it did not reference the contributions of the (now former) colonies.
Coventry Cathedral, Priory St, CV1 5AB
www.coventrycathedral.org.uk – nearest car park: Cox St, CV1 5LW
Unravelling will continue to be screened 11th – 23rd November 2008, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Jordan Well, Coventry, CV1 5QP. http://www.theherbert.org/
Noise of the Past is a creative engagement with post-colonial histories of war funded by the AHRC.
Dr Nirmal Puwar – Goldsmiths, University of London; n.puwar[at]gold.ac.uk
Dr Sanjay Sharma – BrunelUniversity; sanjay.sharma[at]brunel.ac.uk
Further details of the wednesday side event organised by Deptford TV:
5 November DeptfordTown Hall, New Cross Road, LondonSE14 6AF
4.30-5.15 Deptford.TV Premieres: Black History Month
Four short films made by Goldsmiths MA Screen Documentary students for Deptford.TV on Deptford’s black history. They look at the story of reggae sound systems in the area, the growth of the black community here, and the racist violence of the 1970s and 1980s, including the New Cross Fire.
5.30-8.00 Talkoake on se14 6af: What will New Cross be?
Goldsmiths, University of London, is located in the heart of the dynamic and diverse neighbourhood of New Cross. The area is home to emerging creative businesses, deprived council estates and large numbers of students. How do these different communities interact?
A small row of terraced houses along New Cross Road, owned by Goldsmiths, hosts several much-loved local businesses – among them the wonderful Café Crema, the world-renowned Prangsta and Danse Macabre design and clothing outlets. New Cross is changing, with the development of parts of the Goldsmiths campus, new luxury residential developments, and the opening of several creative industry businesses. What is the future of New Cross?
As property portfolios are rationalised, it seems possible that the entire street will be swallowed up in a new development. What will happen to Crema and the creative culture it has helped to foster in the area?
On the 5th of November, you are invited to DeptfordTown Hall to air your views and envision possible futures at a public Talkaoke, an interactive audience-led talk show on the future of the area.
Talkaoke is is the spontaneous, global/local talk show where anyone can take a seat and air their views around the doughnut of chat. The format was created by The People Speak – a public art collective that develops ‘tools for the world to take over itself’. The purpose of this event is to bring together as diverse a collection of interest groups as possible, and provide a safe and enjoyable format for them to challenge each other’s perceptions and plans for the area in a constructive way.
Theatre Border. From here.
I just came across this petition regarding the “Campaign against UK Home Office Restrictions on Non-EU Artists and Academics”
I’m sure the intentions behind this campaign are good and noble but only a world in which EVERYONE is free to travel and live wherever he/she fancies is a better one. A world in which “creative/intellectual types”, whose cultural roles are institutionally legitimated by the creative/culture industry (yes universities are part of the cultural industry), are given the privilege of freedom of movement while the remaining “regular types” are still oppressed by the international immigration regime is not a better one. Such neo-liberal regard for “art” and “culture” being promoted by first world nation-states as internationalism, cultural exchange, and multi-culturalism ensures that the racism taking place in everyday life goes unnoticed and unchallenged. Borders against the freedom of movement must be attacked WITHOUT such COMPROMISE.
Enis is correct of course, and one need only look at what has gone on in Australia, with the mass expulsion of ‘international students’ after years of wildcat strikes and protests against workplace violence and racism across the entire social terrain, to see the not-at-all-niceness of a defence of the genuine student and the defence of the university. The genuine student and the defence of their interests is what allows for the mass expulsion of the “other” border crossers who have made use of the student pathway as a way into Australia. This goes so far as the National Union of Students in Australia, and other student representatives, making proposals to the Australian government as to how to most effectively either expel or manage the poor off the island.
Ben Rosenzweig and I have written about such things in other places, and Ben’s guest consumer piece is on this blog if you want to get an idea of how awful things are in Australia on this front….
Academics defending the university and trade unions have been the most enthusiastic about the expulsion of non-genuine students and I get a whiff of that nastiness in Nandita Dogra’s suggestion that the government should be ‘doing something’ about the ‘fake’ colleges. The successful push to do that in Australia has/will result in not only the expulsion over years of thousands of Indians and Chinese, but also the utter decimation of what is left of some of the small landholdings in Indian Punjab, hocked to the bank to finance that student pathway and its long-term remittance strategy. It seems that at exactly the same time as Australia was pushing back against the border crossers trying to get in to Australia from Punjab and Gujarat, the UK repelled them also
We have a network of nationalist academics (who would claim to be of the left), trade unions (also of the militant left) and existing student representative bodies to thank for it.
This is the most objectionable statement in Dogra’s piece
“Yes there are many dodgy educational institutions with fake students that the government is not aware of/aware but doing nothing about/indirectly encouraging the establishment and perpetuation of linked to its own policies and structures, and these should be curbed but foreign students in established UK institutions subsidise the country, not the other way around.”
A similar line to the Australian universities – in essence, a defence of their market share as against the private colleges that sprung up to facilitate movement into Australia with shifts in the Oz border regime.
If academics are allowed to continue to dominate the movement against PBI in the UK, it will end in more sophisticated border control, that more tied to the imperatives of expanding market share, not less border control.
Liz, thanks for this excellent critical response – as ever welcome. I though Enis was great on this, though I would say that the truism that there is ‘a network of nationalist academics’ needs further elaboration so as to work to separate a critical left from those that end up willy nilly excusing the work of the racist state. Lining up with ‘reasonable’ nationalism, even when said from the position of a visiting academic, or the diasporic space, is clearly a proxy move. Gayatri Spivak’s new booklet on nationalism makes a similar point (Seagull books 2010). Hope all is well (or well enough). Say hi to Ben. Red Salute.
You may well of heard about the Government’s ridiculous plans to impose a draconian cap on student immigration to the UK. There is a sham of a consultation happening over the next month.
This highlights the urgency of re-launching our campaign. Therefore we are hosting a meeting alongside Goldsmiths and LSE Students’ Unions to discuss and organise; all students are welcome:
Tuesday 18th Jan
LSE The Underground, Houghton Street.
Event page here:
The ‘network of nationalist academics’ does certainly require further elaboration, not because there is anything like a critical left in academia in Australia with a position of solidarity with the international students – there is absolutely not, unless it is with the students only in their position as victims of racist violence (the astoundingly popular wave of anti-Indian violence at train stations, on the streets, in the cabs) – but more because there is the other tendency, best represented by Simon Marginson, of those who have no hostility to the students (in fact Simon Marginson is one of the few academics to identify the other tendency and wring his hands about it – and he is now getting ARC grants to remake himself as the great protector of the students, and international student safety expert), who have worked to manage the transition to the properly capitalist university, even if they refuse to identify it as such, which Marginson does, sometimes making ridiculous claims like the international student market somehow developed without the active participation of academics at all levels of the university through Academic Boards and other such “collegial” structures.
Anyway – we’re kind of working on that at the moment for a journal we’re not sure will publish it – not sure if two dole bludgers with no academic credentials (wait – I have a BA!) will get past peer review… but we’ll see. When it becomes more coherent, we will let you know :)
I will pass on the salute to Ben. He keeps saying he will email you….
One thing I really like about Enis’ piece is the focus on the border as extraction of money, which is something that often gets lost in broader discussions about its other functions. I think when we talk about who is let over the border and who is not though, it is important to remember the forms of mobility from countries of origin that revolve around debt, that mean that in fact, many of those who cross the border officially are not rich. Banks in India are prepared to bet on the future incomes of “students” by providing them with massive loans taken out on otherwise often worthless properties in Punjab, for example, and lend students money they will never be able to pay back unless the strategy pays off – which it now won’t for most of the students due to be expelled from Australia soon
Hey John, I’ve been off-line for some time so didn’t really notice that this discussion had continued here until Liz let me know, but now that I do know this seems like an excellent discussion to be having, and very similar to the kind of discussions which should have taken place in Australia some years ago but didn’t.
The network/stratum of nationalist academics to which Liz refers is quite specific, with a key hub being around the journal ‘People and Place’. They have formed de facto alliances with certain trade unions and the Department of Immigration to push for strong state border control and the mass expulsion/exclusion of people from labour markets and from the country. The unions in question include Left nationalist blue collar unions like the CFMEU and AMWU. The academics in questions circulate between universities, unions and the Department of Immigration, providing justifications for further restrictions and more policing etcetera.
As for the unions, the CFMEU for example is lobbying to have the government remove the requirement that employers get written permission from employees before being able to check up on their immigration status; until such a change takes place, parts of the CFMEU have been inserting clauses into Enterprise Bargaining Agreements which obligate employers to force employees to sign the documents giving them permission to run such checks.
The de facto alliance of nationalist academics, the most ‘Left’ unions and the Department of Immigration found their moment of influence in the crises of the international education economies in Australia, crises themselves largely shaped by xenophobia of which the ideologies of this alliance is one moment. Thus we see the massive restructuring of these economies broadly in line with the agendas of the alliance. All of this seems more-or-less invisible to what remains of a Left, but the rule-of-thumb appears to be that what remains of Left nationalism as the trade unionist ideology of laborism is the struggle to impose the borders of the nation and the boundaries of citizenship insofar as these intersect with the definition of labour markets, on terms most convenient for retaining privileges within the division of labour.
This is a good project you’ve had going by the way. Love and communist greetings, Ben
The alliance here will be between those who comply with the requirements of administration procedure and the UKBA – UK Border Authority – who are, it seems, likely to audit ‘compliance’ – which means checking that students are on course – even where they admit:
“there are problems in monitoring attendance for postgraduate students who > may not have to attend lectures as regularly as undergraduates, but in these > instances we would expect supervisory sessions, seminars or course hand-ins > to be counted as points of contact – any unnotified absence prompting > correspondence with the student. However, failing to record absence and > report it, i.e. interrupt or withdraw, within a reasonable timeframe could > have serious consequences for the little funding we do receive from > Government and our right to recruit from overseas”
So this is a direct link between the day to day procedures of staff – teachers, departmental office staff – and the boon of the international education market/terror related demonizations. And its why the T-shirt slogans of the anti points based immigration campaign are sickeningly true. Students are suspect and staff are agents of the state.
See here soon for more on this.
many c-gs, John
I delight in, cause I found just what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye