Master’s Program in Aesthetics and Politics
This Isn’t About the Future: Black Digital Culture Now
"Do Androids Dream of How People Are Sheep", courtesy K. Franklin
Our yearly Fall conference, curated by MA faculty Douglas Kearney, will continue the MA program's investigation into contemporary digital culture, this time from a Black Studies perspective.
a two-day conference
Supported by the School of Critical Studies.
Sponsored by the CalArts’ MA Aesthetics and Politics Program
with support from the CalArts School of Film/Video, The Collective, and the Equity and Diversity Program, Office of the Provost
Visit redcat.org for tickets to the 11/14 keynote
All events on 11/15 are free and open to the public
FRI 11/14 8:30 PM –10:00 PM @ REDCAT
SAT 11/15 9:30 AM–6:00 PM @ THE WEST HOLLYWOOD LIBRARY
Yesterday’s Afrofuture is today, so instead of scanning the horizon for the Mothership, this two-day, multivenue conference brings urgency to address happenings on the ground right now. Featuring scholars, writers, and artists, This Isn’t About The Future: Black Digital Culture Now addresses sousveillance, Black Twitter, genealogy, AutoTune and Vocoders, getting Embedded, Post- and posting, the digital body in art, the racial narrative of facial recognition software, activism, and more. This conference, curated by CalArts faculty member, Douglas Kearney, is driven by a need to acknowledge but also to question.
What is presence in our present? What does the digital mean for historically black sites of social performance including passing, code-shifting, signifyin(g), and other forms of hiding in plain sight? How do we understand diaspora, today? If the digital has so profoundly shifted us, is it time we founda new North Star?
Fri 11/14 REDCAT
631 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
8:30PM - 10:00PM
Keynote Address Feenin’: R&B’s Technologies of Humanity
This lively multimedia talk by writer and scholar Alexander Weheliye, professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, gives a critical history of the intimate relationship between R&B music and technology since the late 1970’s. Weheliye is the author of Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity and Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics and Black Feminist Theories of the Human.
Sat 11/15 WEHO
The West Hollywood Library
625 North San Vicente Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90069
9:30AM - 10:15AM
A New North Star?: An orienting conversation
Here, members of the panels will respond to prompts designed to launch the day’s dialogue. This will be a less formal conversation.
10:25AM - 12:00PM
PANEL 1 3/5s of a PROFILE?: The Black Cyber Body
With its proliferation of images, comment flame wars, and its working of utility into entertainment and entertainment into utility, the Internet is a teeming site of racial(ized) performance. How do black users—from gamers, to artists, to students, to shoppers—whose bodies have historically served as entertainment/utility—navigate, transform, and engage the digital realm? Is it an emancipatory frame, a Global Interzone, or just another block (as in barricade, ‘hood, and/or auction)?
1:25PM - 3:00PM
PANEL 2 The Stoop 3.0: Community Remixed For The Digital Present
Community incubates activism, discourse, culture, and conflict. As illustrated via imperialism and colonialism, the concept of “Nation” need not be linked to geographic proximity, a shift with implications for postcolonialism, global capitalism, social movements, and others. Does digital culture, which only seems omnipresent, reinscribe colonial reach and if so, is it capable of revising it? What is our understanding of social media as a tool for building communities, activism, and what are the natures of these new aggregates?
3:20PM - 5:00PM
PANEL 3 Talking Cloud: (Re)Memory, Dis-Memory, and The New-Old Archive(s)
The information is out there, and, perhaps for some—way way out there; of course, it’s also back there when we are speaking of memory. Yet the digital transforms the concept of “there” and of memory, eliminating geographical distances and putting in work on temporal ones as well. What does this mean for members of the African diaspora who have, for reasons before and after the Middle Passage, pursued the reckoning and recovery of histories, genealogies, and cultural inheritances to produce existential integrity, popular art, and scholarship? How are archives both transformative and transformed in the Digital Era?
Thomas Allen Harris
5:15PM - 6:00PM
SIMONE BROWNE is Assistant Professor in the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches and researches surveillance studies, popular culture, digital media and black diaspora studies. She completed her Master’s degree and her PhD in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her work has been published in International Feminist Journal of Politics, Critical Sociology, Cultural Studies, and Citizenship Studies. Her book, Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness (forthcoming with Duke University Press), examines surveillance with a focus on transatlantic slavery, biometrics, airports, borders, and creative texts.
TISA BRYANT is the author of Unexplained Presence, a collection of fiction-essays focused on myth-making and black presences in film, literature and visual art. She is co-editor and publisher of the cross-referenced journal of narrative and storytelling possibility, The Encyclopedia Project, and co-editor of War Diaries, an anthology on black gay men’s desire and survival. A member of the Dark Room Collective, she recently participated in a reunion tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of their nationally-renowned African diasporic reading series and arts exhibition. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Animal Shelter, Black Clock, Bombay Gin, Mandorla, Reanimation Library’s Word Processor Series, and Viz. She teaches fiction and hybrid forms in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the California Institute of the Arts, and lives in Los Angeles.
DR. ANNA EVERETT is a Professor of Film, Television and New Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). She is the former director of the Center for Black Studies, former department chair of Film and Media Studies and the former Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Academic Policy at UCSB. Her many publications include the books Returning the Gaze: A Genealogy of Black Film
Criticism, 1909-1949; Learning Race and Ethnicity: Youth and Digital Media (for the MacArthur Foundation’s series on Digital Media, Youth, and Learning), New Media: Theories and Practices of Digitextuality, AfroGeeks: Beyond the Digital Divide, Digital Diaspora: A Race for Cyberspace, and Pretty People: Movie Stars of the 1990s, among others. She has received a Ford Foundation Fellowship, and served twice as a Fulbright Senior Fellow. She has worked as a visiting professor in the Netherlands, Canada and Tunisia.
PROFESSOR JENNIFER A. GONZÁLEZ teaches in the History of Art and Visual Culture department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York. She has written for numerous periodicals including Aztlán, Frieze, Bomb, Camera Obscura, and Art Journal. Her essays about digital bodies and critical race studies have appeared in anthologies such as The Cyborg Handbook, Race in Cyberspace, Visible Worlds and Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self. Her first book Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (MIT Press, 2008) was a finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award, which honors an especially distinguished book in the history of art in the English language. Her second book, Pepón Osorio was published by University of Minnesota Press (2013).
STEPHANIE GREENLEA holds a Ph.D in African American Studies and Sociology from Yale University, and completed her undergraduate work at Emory University. Her dissertation, entitled “Free the Jena Six! Racism and the Circuitry of Black Solidarity in the Digital Age,” explores the ways in which everyday uses of emerging technologies extend black protest traditions into the 21st century. In addition, Greenlea has written on the technospiritual practices within black communities and the technological appropriations within black motorcycle clubs. She locates her interdisciplinary research and teaching in the intersections of the sociology of social movements, technology studies, and black studies. Greenlea currently works in the labor movement as a lead organizer at UNITE HERE in New Haven, Connecticut.
THOMAS ALLEN HARRIS Raised in the Bronx and Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, award-winning producer/writer/director Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions, a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee’s innovative performance-based documentary films have received critical acclaim at International film festivals and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, and others. Mr. Harris’ videos and installations have been featured at MOMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial, the Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia, London Institute of the Arts, Gwangju Biennale, and the Long Beach Museum of Art. Mr. Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change.
VICTORIA HUNGERFORD received her MA in Aesthetics and Politics from the California Instituteof the Arts (CalArts). Her research revolves around the intersections of Dork, Nerd, Geek cultures and sexual harassment, utilizing feminist theories to inform her work. She particularly looks at the theoretical underpinnings of the aesthetic and political moments and modalities within digital communities and identities. She is the co-owner of Donegee Media and is currently working on a documentary “Road to GeekGirlCon” that explores the contribution of female DNGs on the west coast, as a way to establish an empowered network of female changemakers/content creators and to highlight historical and contemporary impact females have on the Dork, Nerd, Geek community.
ALEXANDER G. WEHELIYE is professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University where he teaches black literature and culture, critical theory, social technologies, and popular culture. He is the author of Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity (Duke UP, 2005), which was awarded The Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Study of Black American Literature or Culture and Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Duke UP, 2014). Currently, he is working on two projects. One of which is Feenin: R&B’s Technologies of Humanity, a critical history of the intimate relationship between R&B music and technology since the late 1970’s.
The Politics of Parametricism:
Digital Technologies and the Future(s) of Sociality
Friday 15th & Saturday 16th November 2013
REDCAT, 631 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
A conference curated and organized by: Matthew Poole & Manuel Shvartzberg
Hosted by: The MA Aesthetics & Politics Program at CalArts and The Gallery at REDCAT
Lead sponsor: Autodesk (www.autodesk.com)
Media Sponsor: eVolo Magazine (www.evolo.us)
Guest Speakers: Phil Bernstein (Autodesk), Benjamin Bratton (UCSD), Christina Cogdell (UCD), Teddy Cruz (UCSD), Peggy Deamer (Yale), Andrés Jaque (Office for Political Innovation), Laura Kurgan (Columbia), Neil Leach (USC, Los Angeles), Reinhold Martin (Columbia) & Patrik Schumacher (Zaha Hadid Architects, London).
Part 1: Keynotes, Friday 15th November 2013
Part 2: Panel 1, Saturday 16th November 2013
Part 2: Panel 2, Saturday 16th November 2013
Part 2: Panel 3, Saturday 16th November 2013
PARAMETRICISM has been heralded as the new avant-garde in the fields of architecture and design—the next ‘grand style’ in the history of architectural movements. Parametric models enable digital designers to create complex structures and environments as well as new understandings of space, both real and virtual.
Whether as tools for democratic action or tyrannical spectacle; self- and community-building capabilities; a post-humanistic subject; or, the mediatized politics of our various futurisms—all these themes are figured within the Parametricist discourse.
This conference, which includes a range of high profile international speakers from architectural practice and theory, will explore urgent questions that concern the social and political ramifications at stake in the evolution of this new design paradigm.
THE POLITICS OF PARAMETRICISM conference will open with individual presentations and a debate between Reinhold Martin (Associate Professor, Columbia University) and Patrik Schumacher (Partner, Zaha Hadid Architects) at 7pm on Friday November 15th, 2013, at the REDCAT theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.
Architecture and politics: Parametricism within or beyond liberal democracy?
At the very core of the debates surrounding Parametricism is the question of what political agency can or should be ascribed to architecture. Two diffuse yet clearly distinguishable sides seem to have formed around this question: those who, like Patrik Schumacher, defend the notion that architecture and politics ought to be considered structurally excluded domains of thought and action; and those who, like Reinhold Martin, consider these fields integrally tied together, albeit indeterminately.
Parametricism may thus present itself as a case study of the relation between technology and ideology, where the many tropes of contemporary politics and culture – from post-Fordism to experiments in social representation – come together through and within a specific architectural imaginary.
In this debate, Martin and Schumacher will address this cultural paradigm and tackle what is perhaps the most urgent question for this new social, political and architectural condition: Can or ought Parametricism develop strictly within the confines of liberal democracy, or could it be pursued through more radical political valences?
Image courtesy of Peter Vikar.
7-9PM, FRIDAY 15th NOVEMBER – KEYNOTE EVENT:
“Architecture and politics: Parametricism within or beyond liberal democracy?” – a discussion with Reinhold Martin and Patrik Schumacher
Reinhold Martin: On Numbers, More or Less
Patrik Schumacher: Thesis on the Politics of Parametricism
SATURDAY 16th NOVEMBER – CONFERENCE PANELS:
10AM-12N – Panel 1: Introduction to Parametricism: historical and technological context
Phillip G. Bernstein: Finding Value in Parameters: How Scripting Beyond Form Changes the Potential of Design Practice
Christina Cogdell: Breeding Ideology: Parametricism and Biological Architecture
Neil Leach: There is no such thing as a political architecture; there is no such thing as digital architecture
2-4PM – Panel 2: Parametricism, the commons and social representation
Teddy Cruz: The New Political: Where the Top Down and the Bottom up Meet
Peggy Deamer: Parametric Schizophrenic
Laura Kurgan: The Method is the Message
4:45-6:30PM – Panel 3: Designing subjectivities, curating new models of sociality
Benjamin H. Bratton: The Always Partial System: For an Inhuman Parametricism
Andrés Jaque: Architecture as Rendered Society
Matthew Poole is a freelance curator and contemporary art theorist living in Los Angeles. His curatorial projects and writing explore the contradictions of neoliberal politics and how they are transforming contemporary art, curatorial practices, the built environment and the political currencies of culture more generally. Before moving to LA, Matthew was the Director of the Centre for Curatorial Studies, in the School of Philosophy & Art History at the University of Essex, UK. His recent projects can be viewed online at: www.kynastonmcshine.org.uk
Manuel Shvartzberg is an architect and writer. He has worked for, among others, OMA/Rem Koolhaas, and was project architect for David Chipperfield Architects in London, where he led a number of international arts/cultural projects between 2006 and 2012. In 2008 he co-founded the award-winning experimental practice Hunter & Gatherer, with which he has lectured and made various projects on questions of contemporary art, architecture, and critical theory. Since 2011 he has been teaching in Los Angeles, California, at CalArts and University of Southern California. Manuel is currently based in New York City where he is enrolled in the Ph.D in Architecture program and is a graduate fellow of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.
Benjamin H. Bratton is a theorist whose work spans Philosophy, Art and Design. At the University of California, San Diego, he Associate Professor of Visual Arts, Director of The UCSD Design Theory and Research Platform and D:GP, The Center for Design and Geopolitics. His research is situated at the intersections of contemporary social and political theory, computational media & infrastructure, architectural & urban design problems, and the politics of synthetic ecologies and biologies. Current work focuses on the political geography of cloud computing, massively-granular universal addressing systems, and alternate models of ecological governance. His next book, The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, is forthcoming from MIT Press.
Phillip G. Bernstein is a Vice President at Autodesk, a leading provider of digital design, engineering and entertainment software, where he leads Strategic Industry Relations and is responsible for setting the company’s future vision and strategy for technology as well as cultivating and sustaining the firm's relationships with strategic industry leaders and associations. An experienced architect, Phil was formerly with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects where he managed many of the firm’s most complex commissions. Phil teaches Professional Practice at the Yale School of Architecture where he received both his B.A. and his M.Arch. He is co-editor of Building (In) The Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture (2010) and BIM In Academia (2011). He is a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council and former Chair of the AIA National Contract Documents Committee.
Christina Cogdell is a cultural historian who is a Chancellor’s Fellow and Associate Professor in the Department of Design at the University of California at Davis. Her research investigates the intersection of popular scientific ideas and cultural production, in particular art, architecture and design. She received her Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin (2001), her M.A. in American Studies from the University of Notre Dame (1994), and her B.A. in American Studies from UT Austin (1991). She is the author of Eugenic Design: Streamlining America in the 1930s (2004, 2010), winner of the 2006 Edelstein Prize for outstanding book on the history of technology, and co-editor with Susan Currell of the anthology Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s (2006). Her work has been included in Visual Culture and Evolution (2011), Art, Sex, and Eugenics (2008), and published in Boom: A Journal of California, American Art, Design and Culture, Volume, Design Issues and American Quarterly. She has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania, the Wolfsonian Design Museum, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center for the Study of American Modernism, and the American Philosophical Society. She is currently writing her second monograph on today’s “generative architecture” in relation to recent scientific theories of self-organization, emergence and the evolution of complex adaptive systems.
Teddy Cruz was born in Guatemala City. He obtained a Master in Design Studies at Harvard University in 1997 and established his research-based architecture practice in San Diego, California in 2000. He has been recognized internationally for his urban research of the Tijuana-San Diego border, and in collaboration with community-based nonprofit organizations, such as Casa Familiar for advancing border immigrant neighborhoods as sites of cultural production, from which to rethink urban policy and propose new models of inclusive housing and civic infrastructure. In 1991 he received the prestigious Rome Prize in Architecture and in 2005 he was the first recipient of the James Stirling Memorial Lecture On The City Prize, by the Canadian Center of Architecture and the London School of Economics. In 2008 he was selected to represent the US in the Venice Architecture Biennial and in 2011 he was a recipient of the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award, the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Designers in America by Fast Company Magazine. Teddy Cruz is currently a professor in public culture and urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego, and the co-founder of the Center for Urban Ecologies.
Peggy Deamer is Assistant Dean and Professor of Architecture at Yale University. She is a principal in the firm of Deamer Studio. She received a B.Arch. from The Cooper Union and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. Her dissertation on Adrian Stokes emphasized the relationship he explored between vision, the body, and craft. Articles by Ms. Deamer have appeared in Assemblage, Praxis, Perspecta, Architecture and Psychoanalysis, and Harvard Design Magazine, amongst others journals and anthologies. The work of her firm has appeared in Dwell, The New York Times; Architectural Record and House and Garden, amongst others. She is the editor of The Millennium House and Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present and co-editor of Re-Reading Perspecta; Building in the Future: Recasting Architectural Labor; and BIM in Academia. Recent articles include “The Changing Nature of Architectural Work,” in Design Practices Now Vol II, The Harvard Design Magazine no. 33; “Detail Deliberation,” in Building (in) the Future: Recasting Labor in Architecture; “Practicing Practice,” in Perspecta 44; “Work,” in Perspecta 47; “Design and Contemporary Practice” in Architecture from the Outside; and “Marx, BIM, and Contemporary Labor,” in BIM Futures, 2013.
Andrés Jaque is an architect whose work explores the role that architecture plays in the making of societies. In 2003 he founded the Office for Political Innovation, a trandisciplinary agency engaged with the making of an ordinary urbanism out of the association of heterogeneous architectural fragments. Jaque has lectured at a number of universities around the world, including Berlage Institue, Columbia University GSAPP, Princeton University, Bezalel Academy, Universidad Javeriana de Bogota, and the Instituto Politecnico di Milano, amongst others. His work has been exhibited at the Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum in Basel, the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (IVAM), the Biennale di Venezia, and at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. He is also the author of other works like Teddy House (Vigo, 2003, 2005), Mousse City, (Stavanger, 2003), Peace Foam City (Ceuta, 2005), Skin Gardens (Barcelona, 2006), the Museo Postal de Bogotá (Bogotá, 2007), Rolling House for the Rolling Society (Barcelona, 2009), the House in Never Never Land (Ibiza, 2009), the ESCARAVOX, (Madrid, 2012), Hänsel and Gretel's Arenas (Madrid, 2013). He is currently teaching at GSAPP, Columbia University.
Laura Kurgan is Associate Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where she directs the Visual Studies curriculum, the Spatial Information Design Lab and is Co-Director of the Advanced Data Visualization Project. She is the author of Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics (Zone Books, 2013). Her work explores things ranging from digital mapping technologies to the ethics and politics of mapping, building intelligence, and the art, science and visualization of big and small data. Her work has appeared at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Whitney Altria, MACBa Barcelona, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and the Museum of Modern Art. She was the winner of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship in 2009.
Neil Leach is a Professor at the University of Southern California. He has also taught at the AA, Columbia GSAPP, Cornell University, DIA, IaaC and SCI-Arc. He is the author, editor and translator of 24 books, including Rethinking Architecture, The Anaesthetics of Architecture, Designing for a Digital World, Digital Tectonics, Digital Cities, Machinic Processes, Swarm Intelligence, Scripting the Future, Fabricating the Future and Camouflage. He has been co-curator of a series of international exhibitions including the Architecture Biennial Beijing. He is currently a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Fellow working on robotic fabrication technologies for the Moon and Mars.
Reinhold Martin is Associate Professor of Architecture in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, where he directs the PhD program in architecture and the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture. He is a member of Columbia’s Institute for Comparative Literature and Society as well as the Committee on Global Thought. Martin is a founding co-editor of the journal Grey Room and has published widely on the history and theory of modern and contemporary architecture. He is the author of The Organizational Complex: Architecture, Media, and Corporate Space (MIT Press, 2003), and Utopia’s Ghost: Architecture and Postmodernism, Again (Minnesota, 2010), as well as the co-author, with Kadambari Baxi, of Multi-National City: Architectural Itineraries (Actar, 2007). In 2012, Martin co-curated with Barry Bergdoll “Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, for which he and Bergdoll also co-edited the exhibition catalogue. Currently, Martin is working on two books: a history of the nineteenth century American university as a media complex, and a study of the contemporary city at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.
Patrik Schumacher is partner at Zaha Hadid Architects and founding director at the AA Design Research Lab. He joined Zaha Hadid in 1988 and has since been the co-author of many key projects, a.o. MAXXI – the National Italian Museum for Art and Architecture of the 21st century in Rome. In 2010 he won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stirling Prize for excellence in architecture.
Patrik Schumacher studied philosophy, mathematics, and architecture in Bonn, London and Stuttgart, where he received his Diploma in architecture in 1990. In 1999 he completed his PhD at the Institute for Cultural Science, Klagenfurt University. In 1996 he founded the "Design Research Laboratory" with Brett Steele, at the Architectural Association in London, and continues to teach in the program. Since 2000 Patrik Schumacher is also guest professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. In 2010 and 2012 he published the two Volumes of his theoretical opus magnum ‘The Autopoiesis of Architecture’. His lectures and essays in architectural theory are available at www.patrikschumacher.com. In 2002 Patrik Schumacher curated ‘Latent Utopias - Experiments within Contemporary Architecture’ and he is currently planning the exhibition ‘Parametricism – The New International Style’.
Sponsored by: www.autodesk.com
Media Sponsor: www.evolo.us