I am co-organizing with Dimitrina Sevova a symposium entitled The Diagrammatic Practice of the Micropolitical – the Spatio-temporal Expression of Play between Power, Knowledge and the Aesthetics of Existence at Zurich University of the Arts.

Here are all the infos:

International Public Symposium at Pfingstweidstrasse 6, 8005 Zurich, ZHdK, 14/15/16 November 2013, around the notion of play, its processual (diagrammatic) and political and aesthetic potential in times of cognitive capitalism and its mechanisms of control over life and the urban environment.

Left: "The Playground, a Vacant Lot," Hale House, Boston, Mass., c1903, Social Museum Collection, Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museum.  Middle: Seattle Potlatch Parade showing float, 1912. Right: Nuria Vila + Marcelo Expósito, Tactical Frivolity + Rhythms of Resistance, video still, 2007.

Left: "The Playground, a Vacant Lot," Hale House, Boston, Mass., c1903, Social Museum Collection, Fogg Museum, Harvard Art Museum. Middle: Seattle Potlatch Parade showing float, 1912. Right: Nuria Vila + Marcelo Expósito, Tactical Frivolity + Rhythms of Resistance, video still, 2007.

SPEAKERS: Paolo Caffoni, Giusy Checola, Binna Choi, discoteca flaming star (Cristina Gómez Barrio & Wolfgang Mayer), David Dibosa, Anja Kanngieser, Maurizio Lazzarato, Isabell Lorey, m-a-u-s-e-r (Mona Mahall & Aslı Serbest), Carmen Mörsch, Daniel Morgenthaler, Roberto Nigro, Susanna Perin (S.M.U.R.), Gerald Raunig, Adrian Rifkin, Kerstin Schroedinger, Marco Scotini, Diego Segatto, Joshua Simon, Kuba Szreder, Axel Wieder, Espace Temporaire (Magdalena Ybarguen).

RESPONDENTS: Jens Badura, Christoph Brunner, Karmen Franinović, Roberto Nigro, Romy Rüegger, Dimitrina Sevova.

PERFORMANCES: Chiara Fumai, T. Melih Görgün, Michael Hiltbrunner, Franziska Koch, David Maroto.

SCREENINGS: Marcelo Expósito, Silvia Maglioni and Graeme Thomson, RELAX (chiarenza & hauser & co).

MICROPOLITICAL WORKSHOP: Wiktoria Furrer & Sebastian Dieterich in cooperation with Elke Bippus.


Throughout three intense days the symposium will be an experimental space for expressing and sharing ideas – a place for intervening, investigating and provoking collective discussions on how to re-activate play’s potentiality in urban space, considered as a playground of deskilled, affective and precarious labor.

The symposium aims at relocating the notion of play from the outdoor to the outside as an ecology and extended space for experimentation and micropolitics beyond spatial confinement. We ask how such an outside emerges through practices unfolding and altering dominant diagrams of power in urban environments. Here, playing-together involves the capacity of forces of resistance to create situations as intensive fields of affection through the micropolitics of diagrammatic practices. Both, playing bodies and the process of learning as a common, a self-productive and living knowledge, perpetuate new forms of social subjectivity and its immanent growth between power, knowledge and an aesthetics of existence.

Bringing together artists, curators, activists and thinkers from the fields of performance, art, aesthetic theory, philosophy, architecture and design, the symposium comprises talks, artistic interventions, performances and screenings.

Curated by Dimitrina Sevova and Christoph Brunner in cooperation with the Bachelor Media & Art, specialization Fine Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts, Elke Bippus, Franziska Koch.

A cooperation with Z+ ‹ http://www.zhdk.ch/zplus ›.

In conjunction with the a-disciplinary project consisting of a platform of irregular non-serial events, screenings, public readings, performances, talks, urban interventions and other ephemera, on the theme of Opportunities for Outdoor Play? Playgrounds – New Spaces of Liberty (The Question of Form) outdoorplay.tumblr.com ›, curated by Dimitrina Sevova at Kunsthof Zürich between March and October 2013 in cooperation with Elke Bippus, Franziska Koch and the Bachelor Media & Art, specialization Fine Arts of the Zurich University of the Arts.

For further information please see ‹ outdoorplay.tumblr.com › or ‹ www.kunsthof.ch .

No registration required. Admission free. Seats limited. Please be on time for each thematic bloc, performance or screening.

[The curatorial text by Dimitrina Sevova and Christoph Brunner, and all other materials, can be found on the project blog, outdoorplay.tumblr.com. And in printable layout as PDF: programabstracts and bioscuratorial text.]

transmutations

The recently launched first number to the brand new online journal Transmutations is out. This issue is working through the ongoing events of the Printemps Érable the Quebéc student strike against tuition hikes which has become a large-scale movement of different kinds - a spring in all its forces: “Frühlingserwachen.”

The issue focuses on performance in relation to social movements and movement as relational force. It comprises a lot of beautiful footage from the protests in Montreal but also films expressing different lines of intensity in relation to how such movements actually move. Texts are also part of the quite promising machine which has finally come to live. Congratulations!

Here is the overview of the issue.

It also includes a piece I wrote: On Relaying and Re-Beginning


crang_thumb

Jonas Fritsch and I are going to hit the road to Buffalo for the Media Cities 4 conference, May 3-5, 2013.

Here is our abstract:

Beyond the Network: Urban Media Ecologies and Experiential Fields

The growing proliferation of urban interactive technologies into our everyday lives demands a move from an initial fascination for the technologies in themselves to their actual experiential impact and how they ‘…affect the ways in which we use and understand walls, windows, doors, sidewalks, streets, intersections, parks, markets, and playgrounds.’ (Greenfield and Shepard, 2007). Increasingly, this cannot be done by focusing on singular devices, subjects or places. One way of approaching this heterogeneous plurality of elements has been prominent in the diverse analysis of networks. The problem, however, is the continued conception of entities or nodes as foundational building blocks of such networks and how they are connected or experienced.

In a recent resurgence of William James’ radical empiricism Adrian Mackenzie proposes an approach toward wireless technologies not as merely facilitating networked experiences of a particular kind but as constitutive of relational practices blurring boundaries between confined entities such as architecture, human bodies or technological devices. According to Mackenzie, wirelessness ‘… designates an experience trending toward entanglements with things, objects,  gadgets, infrastructures, and services, and imbued with indistinct sensations and practices of network-associated change” (2010, 5). These entanglements are in particular evident when dealing with e.g. media architecture or mobile technologies in urban or public space.

While building on the conceptual outline of wirelessness foregrounding experience, we propose the concept of experiential fields emphasizing the emergent and affective quality of experience. Experiential fields address experience as an ecological and relational process, focusing on the conditions of emergence of urban interactive environments. We are concerned with ways of facilitating experiential situations pointing at urban media-ecological processes and investigating how to work with them creatively beyond confined spaces, bodies or technologies.

Through an analysis of two urban interactive installations, Frequency and Volume (2003) and Ekkomaten (2012), we bring to the fore a range of challenges and questions concerned with accounting for the workings of media ecologies and experiential fields. Both works deal with sound activating and activated through its urban context. Frequency and Volume by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer is an interactive art installation amplifying radio frequencies through bodily engagement with the exhibition space, foregrounding awareness for electromagnetic fields. Ekkomaten is a gigantic listening machine that lets people explore echoes from the past tied to a particular site in the city through their interaction with it. Either work constitutes a media ecology activating an experiential field which modulates the potential for action in the city through an affectively engaging mobilization of  emergent forces.

Investigating relations between media and the urban along the constitutive lines of experiential fields allows us to reconsider what we usually separate into discrete entities such as the body, the urban or the political. Shifting the focus on media in urban contexts from an infrastructural or informational discourse toward urban media ecologies as processes of immediation opens new potentials for considering mediatic encounters and the situations they facilitate in experiential terms beyond the network.

And the conference schedule.

As a current resident of Switzerland I wonder why not leave one of the apparently most obviously racist countries in Europe? At least so, according to the world press after last Sunday’s referendum on the deportation of criminal delinquents that reside in Switzerland but are not Swiss citizens. What is internally known as “Ausschaffungsinitiative” is a proposal by the rightwing party SVP that aims to lower the threshold for deportation of criminal offenses for residents with immigrant background. That the proposal as it was propagated might transgress common values of human rights confines the main problem after the referendum has been accepted by 53% of the society.
The incongruence is striking between general self-relfection on the Swiss society the harmony between high percentages of foreigners in urban areas (e.g. Zurich up to 30% and Geneva up to 40%) and the sheer ignorance, xenophobia and idiocy in rural areas. There seems to exist a shared common sense amongst the few who might belong to a local urban intelligentsia that one lives in an open and multicultural society. From my point if view, such perspectives are based on highly bourgeoise values expressed mostly by members of the society with high incomes working for universities, banks and insurance companies.
The reason to stay though might be to seek out the grains of resistance that do exist and to see how they function and work. Another interesting aspect is the fortunate circumstance for me to work at an art school where for students precarity is omnipresent and where the intellectuals have to work outside the acclaimed institutions that are legitimized to produce ‘real’ knowledge or ‘real’ values. Hence, I am wondering why the grains of resistance have not found more poignant formats than the usual, still beloved, visual gestures of street art? One thing is for sure, the subaltern cannot speak, since this might be already considered as enough of a offense to be deported. Hence, I guess one has to find modes of creative intervention that do not speak but act, that use new modes of expression to make the public feel that things are developing in nasty ways. I guess it is time to re-instantiate struggles and to make the force of desire become palpable.

ausschaffung

This nice video shows what I would call an ethico-aeshtetic and ethico-political intervention into the crisis shaken British student body that is facing decades of dept for higher education that only privileged members of society will have access to [unless you buy into being in depth for the 20 years to follow the moment of your graduation] … or has anyone heard of a new massive scholarship program to be launched by major banks and the government? I guess not.

This is a commentary and reflection on the ongoing discusssions in Hamburg (Germany) about a complex of historic buildings close to Hamburg’s city. The disctrict called “Gängeviertel” in proximity to the city center consits of 12 remaining buildings of the former working-class area. Hamburg’s city council in its continuous treatment of urban space as commodity to be sold at maximum profit disregards the need for affordable housing and culturally transversal zones. DIfferent from Berlin Hamburg suffers from a continuous loss of affordable work and production places for young artists and creative communities (it is probably just a matter of time until Berlin arrives at this stage). More than 200 artists have started to peacefully squat in parts of the buildings for exhibitions, info-cneters, performances, lectures and concerts/parties. The resonance of the interventions has effected more than 10.000 visitors s far. The city who originally sold the property to the Dutch investor Hanzevast is under pressure to resign form the contract and consider alternative developments of the area. The creative community united under the title “Komm in die Gänge” (a word-play on the title of the district meaning something like “move it!”) proposed recently an alternative development plan. Here are two videos, one in German but it provides good insights and another showing a flashmob in front of the city hall against the elimination of important cultural institutions in Hamburg.

Such inspiring activities call for several questions regarding resistance and potentials for interventions and strategic occupation of space. It seems like the negotiation of a spatial environment receives a wider interest through its presence than other less material and less tangible forms of protest. The size plays an important role but also the pressing issue of a lack of space in the city and the desire for liveable and affordable districts with a rich cultural atmosphere. The collective initiative depends heavily on the factor of spaciality and the distribution of matters of interest in the spaces. In an environment of a a major city and the despair of creative cultures that move to Berlin and other countries, Hamburg has the chance to convert a site into something productive in an ethico-aesthetic manner. In other words, the groups that form a collective seek paths for enunciation that operate on margins between a molar issue and its appropriation.

The delicacy of dealing with large-scale sell-outs of space to corporate money reveals its problematic in a double-folded situation. In the molar capture of a capitalist purpose either option, a sell-out or a culturally diverse and sustainable renovation of the district, offers little room for a difference in terms of a creative climate beyond capitalist appropriation. Being marketable will always remain the general purpose if larger investments are at stake. On the other hand the creative force of adaptation seems to be transversally present throughout different notes of critical response to the lack of space, culture or support. One of the major fields of investment should be the creation of collective enunciations that address the issues of molar capture at many levels and through different strata. A rather topological generation of regions with sets of creative practices and their forces. In such a way the predominance of space seems persistent when it comes to a wider recognition of a problematic field. Such a spatial point of entry therefore has to be adapted and extended by its durational nature, its transversal practices and topological unfolding. It sometimes seems to be more reasonable to negotiate a minimal support and therefore a maximum of autonomy. If the city council involves in a remodelling project of the sight it might be advisable to create autonomous formats of a cooperative, with more self-organization and little reliability on the financial situation of the city.

In a deleuzoguatarrian manner I regard the second video, of a flashmob that creates noise, as a cut into the rhythm of solidified space, creating its own rhythm and connecting new milieu’s. Such practices might be a sign for a resistance and practices to come. The foundation of the molar deployment of reason fundamentally disintegrates in light of transversally powerful (meaning creative) rhythms that offer new collective modes of enunciation.

space invaders - impression taken by christoph brunner in paris 2009
In relation to my research and the fabulous projects that surfaced in the last years I thought it would be useful to have some hints towards really great sites for urban activism, actions and interventions that happen in the in-between spaces of the urban fabric. One is co-founded by Jean-Francois Proust and entitled Adaptive Actions - he is also involved in Montréal’s VIVA! Art Action festival of which I will report more throughout the week. Another great site is the well acclaimed and really beautiful site of the CCA’s (Canadian Centre for Architecture) exhibition Actions. FInally a site a good friend pointed me out to in Europe *Book [of] Urbanism. All three propose transversal, activist and creative practices that shift urban configurations and create pockets of difference.