Experimental Geographies

"There is tenderness only in the coarsest demand: that no-one shall go hungry any more" – Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (1974: 156)

The State of Things: Biennale di Venezia

Somehow missed this! Some of the talks with videos are already available here.

Courtesy of the OCA:

The Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), as commissioner of Norway’s representation at the 54th Biennale di Venezia, would like to announce ‘The State of Things’, a series of public lectures that will be held throughout the Biennale period, reflecting upon themes such as diversity, the environment, peace-making, human rights, capital, migration, asylum, Europe, aesthetics and revolution. Each presentation aims to tackle the ‘state of things’ today, drawing from the speakers’ fields of activity and research, and from what they consider the intellectual and political priorities of today.

The programme takes its cue from the Nansen Passport, created by Norwegian diplomat and explorer Fridtjof Nansen at the end of World War I in an attempt to enable refugees to move across borders in search of political and intellectual shelter.

Forthcoming talks:

Wednesday, 7 September / 18:00 
Judith Butler – The Politics of the Street and New Forms of Alliance

Although some have argued that the politics of the street has been replaced by new media politics, it seems that the public sphere within which politics takes place is now defined by a specific mode of bodies interacting with media. Hannah Arendt once argued that there could be no exercise of freedom without the creation of a ‘space of appearance’ and even ‘a right to appear’. How do we understand those new forms of democratic insurgency that form alliances that are not in coalitional forms? Who is the embodied ‘we’ on the street transported through media, and yet in place and at risk?

at Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Campo Santa Maria Formosa, Castello 5252, Venice

Thursday, 8 September / 18:00 
Franco Berardi – The ‘Movimento Studentesco’ and Pier Paolo Pasolini: A Misunderstanding

In 1968 the relation between Pier Paolo Pasolini and the Student Movement in Italy was a troubled one. In the midst of the controversy, Pasolini was accused by the students of being a populist representative of a backward culture, nostalgic of a legendary pre-modern time. This paper will argue that, from today’s perspective, things seem different, and Pasolini can be understood not to have been looking to the past but to the distant future that is now our present: an age characterised by barbarianism and of ignorant aggressiveness. Today, in the age of the televisual and financial dictatorship, reading Pasolini is a way to retrace the genesis of Italy’s present.

at Laboratorio Occupato Morion, Salizada San Francesco della Vigna, Castello 2842,Venice

Thursday, 20 October / 17:30 
Saskia Sassen – When the Acute Challenges of Our Epoch Materialise in Cities

Cities have long been sites for conflicts, including wars, racism, religious hatred and exclusion of the poor. And yet, while national states have historically responded by militarising conflict, cities have tended to triage conflict through commerce and civic activity. Major developments in the current global era signal that cities are losing this capacity, and becoming sites for a whole range of new types of conflicts, such as asymmetric war, urban violence and acute environmental challenges. Further, the dense and conflictive spaces of cities, overwhelmed by inequality and injustice, can become the sites for a variety of secondary, more anomic types of conflicts, from drug wars to the major environmental disasters looming in our immediate futures. All of these challenge the traditional commercial and civic capacity that has allowed cities to avoid war more often than not, when confronted with conflict, and to incorporate diversity of class, culture, religion and ethnicity.

at Aula Tafuri, Palazzo Badoer, Università Iuav di Venezia, Calle della Lacca, San Polo 2468, Venice

Thursday, 17 November / 18:00 
T.J. Clark – The Experience of Defeat

Whether or not the present Restoration is invulnerable, the Left in advanced capitalist countries has lived for the past two decades looking failure square in the face. The disappearance of a Left alternative from the space of politics, or even from the space of political imagination, remains the great fact of our time. Taking its title from Christopher Hill’s great study of radical writing after the English Civil War, this lecture is concerned, as part of that work, with the Left’s sense of progress. It asks what it could mean to a Left politics for it no longer to consider itself ‘on the side of history’ – not to imagine its task, in other words, as the realisation of the baulked potentials of capitalism and/or modernity, not to see its eventual victory written into the DNA of an economic order, not to posit some version of utopia, not, in a word, to ‘have the future in its bones’. Is a Left with no future a contradiction in terms? If not the future, then what? Is it only the Right that can (imaginatively, politically) dispense with the myth of freedom in full possession of technics? What aims and imagery might there be for an ‘un-modernity’ to come?

at Auditorium Santa Margherita, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Campo Santa Margherita, Dorsoduro 3689, Venice

Norway’s representation in Venice in 2011 is commissioned by OCA and organised by its director, Marta Kuzma and its associate curator, Pablo Lafuente, together with Peter Osborne, director of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London. Norway’s representation at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, also includes ‘Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS’, a graduate programme by Bjarne Melgaard at the Faculty of Design and Arts, Università Iuav di Venezia.


One comment on “The State of Things: Biennale di Venezia

  1. Pingback: Butler on Arendt | Progressive Geographies

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