and Memoryis a global
field recording & sound art work that presents both the present
reality of a place, but also its imagined, alternative counterpart – remixing
the world, one sound at at time.
faithful field recording document on the sound map is accompanied by a
reimagination or an interpretation that imagines that place and time as
somewhere else, somewhere new.
listener can choose to explore locations through their actual sounds, to
explore reimagined interpretations of what those places could be – or to
flip between the two different sound worlds at leisure.
There are currently over 1,400 sounds featured on the sound map, spread over
more than 55 countries.
sounds cover parts of the world as diverse as the hubbub of San Francisco’s
main station, traditional fishing songs on Lake Turkana, the sound of computer
data centres in Birmingham, spiritual temple chanting in New Taipei City or the
hum of the vaporetto engines in Venice.
sonic reimaginings or reinterpretations can take any form, and
include musical versions, slabs of ambient music, rhythm-driven electronica
tracks, vocal cut-ups, abstract noise pieces, subtle EQing and effects, layering
of different location sounds and much more.
The project is completely open to submissions from field recordists,
sound artists, musicians or anyone with an interest in exploring sound
worldwide – more than 350 contributors have
got involved so far.
Maps & MappingPosted by Les Roberts 13 Feb, 2017 10:37:19 Australia’s inland sea: Some maps are purely speculative, but the cartography can be striking nonetheless. This map accompanies Thomas J Maslen’s The Friend of Australia (1830), a work of pure theory in which the English writer suggests that there could be a wealth of river and fertile paradise lying hidden in the heart of Australia. The centrepiece of this colonial fantasy is a great lake the size of a small sea, placed plum in the desolate centre of what is now known as the Simpson Desert.
The history of cartography is littered with mistakes, myths and mendacity. From the magnetic mountain at the north pole to Australia’s inland sea, Edward Brooke-Hitching charts five centuries of misrepresentative maps...
More Than Pedestrian: Psychogeography, Creative Walking and Spatial Justice
It is sixty years since Debord wrote The Theory of The
Dérive, and psychogeography has evolved in many different artistic, activist
and academic directions, often at an apparent loss of its political intentions.
However many recent practitioners have been using walking as way to interrogate,
destabilise and affectively remap space. Many now recognise that there is an
emerging “new psychogeography” identified by Richardson (2015) as being,
amongst other things, heterogeneous, critical, strategic, and somatic. This
richness and diversity is embodied in members of the Walking Artists Network.
They exhibit a wealth of contemporary creative walking, much of which is at
least in part inspired by psychogeography. This suggests the dérive has the
potential to transform the everyday, to illuminate and challenge narratives of
privatisation, commodification and securitisation of space, and navigate
increasingly blurred boundaries between public/private. This session aims to
explore what the theory and practice of psychogeography and creative walking can
offer Urban Studies.
This call is for panellists offering papers on the following
areas of walking practice and psychogeography:
• How psychogeography and creative walking practices can
engage with and interrogate the urban environment
• New interpretations of Situtationist ideas
• Innovations, issues and debates around creative walking
• Issues of urban spatial injustice highlighted via
imaginary, temporary and mobile spaces
• Activist, community and radical mapping practices
The presentations will be followed by a roundtable
discussion and questions from the audience.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of the subject we are
very open to presenters who have audio visual material or unconventional
Please send abstracts (approximately 300-500 words) to both
the session convenor Morag Rose, The University of Sheffield email@example.com and
the conference organisers rc21@Leeds.ac.uk Deadline
10th March 2017
Currently working on a co-authored article (with artist David Jacques). This is for a forthcoming book, Practising Place, being edited by Elaine Speight. The abstract for our article is below. Above is the video 'Oil is the Devil's Excrement' (David Jacques, 2016, 11m 46s).
is the Devil’s Excrement: a confluence of trajectories
Les Roberts and David Jacques
In this chapter we sketch the dovetailing of
ideas and critical interventions that have sprung from the politico-magical
properties of oil. Ruminations on death, putrefaction, myth and geo-politics
vie with those that take as their starting point the spatio-temporal rhythms of
a petrochemical installation situated on the banks of the River Mersey. While
each of these trajectories represents an invocatory response to the same diabolical
putrescence visited upon the dying Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo, founder of OPEC (a
visitation that was to usher a final ‘dark night of the soul’), at the same
time they carve out their own singular, yet intertwined pathways through the
sump of critical terrain that probes oil’s dark sentience and socio-political
burden. In the hands of Jacques we plunge headlong into the defecatory slipstream,
anointing ourselves by way of immersion
and infusion in a substance whose alchemical power lies in its capacity to tap
and drill deep into the geological bedrock of the human soul. Roberts, on the other
hand, skirts the perimeter fences of an industrial colossus that dwarfs the
surrounding landscapes as commandingly as it harbours and secretes a (death’s)
cargo that remains impenetrable: a secret that lies beyond the reach of those
who can but yield to its gift. In this vein, the chapter sees Jacques set out
the ground-work for a creative process whereby Alfonzo is envisioned through an
interweaving of literary, scientific and mythical threads which link the quest
for power and wealth with traditional stories of the ‘devil-pact’, interpreted
as critiques of Capital by the Marxist Anthropologist Michel Taussig. By way of
countervailing narrative, for his part, the chapter follows Roberts as he sets
out, bricoleur-style, to weave auto-ethnographic yarns out of a process of
immersive, site-specific engagement with Stanlow refinery in Cheshire.
Conceived of as a form of pilgrimage, like Jacques, his quest is one bent on
ritual invocation. Oil as foil, creatively, politically or as poetic license.
Turning shit into gold need not be the preserve of the oil industry.
unmappable is a documentary short that weaves together the life and work of iconoclastic psychogeographer and convicted sex offender, Denis Wood. This meditative portrait will unveil the inner workings of a man whose work is lauded as poetic, artful and innovative – a man who unapologetically pushes boundaries both personally and professionally. The film explores the events that have defined his life by pointing at ideas, thoughts and beliefs that we usually do not think of as being mappable or explainable.
"To encounter is to find, to capture, to steal, but there is no method for finding, only a long preparation. Stealing is the contrary to plagiarizing, copying, imitating or doing as. The capture is always a double-capture, the stealing, a double-stealing, and this is what makes not something mutual, but an asymmetrical block, an a-parallel evolution, marriages, always 'outside' or 'in-between'."
-Gilles Deleuze and Claire Parnet, Dialogues Cartography: a provisional definition To geographers, cartography-distinct from maps which are representations of a static whole -is a drawing that accompanies and creates itself at the same time as the transformation movements of the landscape.
Psychosocial landscapes can also have cartography. Cartography, in this case, accompanies and creates itself at the same time as the dismantlement of certain worlds-its loss of sense-and the formation of other worlds. Worlds that create themselves to express contemporary affects, in relation to which the cogent universes became obsolete.
If the task of a cartographer is to provide a language to demanding affects, it is basically expected of him that he would be immersed in the intensities of his time, and aware of the languages he encounters, he devour those which seem to him possible elements for the composition of those cartographies that deem themselves necessary.
The cartographer is first and foremost an anthropophagite.
The practice of a cartographer refers to, fundamentally, the strategies of the formations of desire in the social field. And little does it matter which sectors of the social life he chooses as an object. What matters is that he remains alert to the strategies of desire in any phenomenon of the human existence that he sets out to explore: from social movements, formalized or not, the mutations of collective sensitivity, violence, delinquency. . . up to unconscious ghosts and the clinical profiles of individuals, groups and masses, whether institutionalized or not.
Similarly, little matters the theoretical references of the cartographer. What matters is that, for him, theory is always cartography-and, thus being, it creates itself jointly with the landscapes whose formation he accompanies (including, naturally, the theory introduced here). For that, the cartographer absorbs matters from any source. He has no racism whatsoever regarding frequency, language or style. All that may provide a language to the movements of desire, all that may serve to coin matter of expression and create sense, is welcomed by him. All entries are good, as long as the exits are multiple. For this reason the cartographer makes use of the most varied sources, including sources not solely written nor solely theoretical. Their conceptual operators may equally arise from a film as from a conversation or a philosophy treatise. The cartographer is a true anthropophagite: he lives of expropriation, appropriation, devourment and delivery, transvalorized. He is always searching for nourishment to compose his cartographies. This is the criterion for his choices: to discover which matters of expression, mixed to which others, which language compositions favor the passage of intensities that traverse his body in the encounter with the bodies he intends to understand. In fact, "to understand", for the cartographer, has no relation whatsoever with explaining and least of all with revealing. For him there is nothing high up there-skies of transcendence-, nor down under-the mists of essence. What there is high up there, underneath and everywhere are intensities looking for expression. And what he wants is to dive into the geography of affects and, at the same time, invent bridges to undertake his crossing: bridges of language.
We see that language, for the cartographer, is not a vehicle of messages-and-salvation. It is, in itself, creation of worlds. Flying carpet. . . Vehicle that promotes the transition to new worlds; new forms of history. We may even say that in the cartographer's practice history and geography integrate themselves.
This allows us to make two further observations: the problem, for the cartographer, is not that of the false-or-true, nor of the theoretical-or-empirical, rather it is that of the vitalizing-or-destructive, active-or-reactive. What he wants is to participate, embark in the constitution of existential territories, constitution of reality. Implicitly, it is obvious that, at least in his happiest moments, he does not fear the movement. He allows his body to vibrate in all possible frequencies and keeps inventing positions from which these vibrations may find sounds, passage channels, a lift towards existentialization. He accepts life and surrenders. With body-and-language.
It would remain to know which are the cartographer's procedures. Well, these do not matter either, for he knows that he must "invent them" based on what the context in which he finds himself demands. For this reason he does not follow any type of normalized protocol.
What defines, therefore, the profile of the cartographer is exclusively a type of sensitivity, which he sets himself to make prevalent, wherever possible, in his work. What he wants is to place himself, whenever possible, in the surroundings of the cartographies' mutations, a position which allows him to welcome the finite unlimited character of the process of production of reality that is the desire. For this to be possible, he makes use of a "hybrid compound," made out of his eye, of course, but also, and simultaneously, of his vibrating body, for what he looks for is to apprehend the movement that arises from the fecund tension between flux and representation: flux of intensities escaping from the plan of organization of territories, disorienting its cartographies, disrupting its representations and, in this way, representations stagnating the flux, channeling the intensities, giving them sense. It's because the cartographer knows there is no other way: this permanent challenge is itself the motor of the creation of sense. A necessary challenge-and, in any way, insurmountable-of the vigilant coexistence between macro and micropolitics, complementary and inseparable in the production of psychosocial reality. He knows that the strategies of this coexistence are countless-peaceful merely in brief and fleeting moments of the creation of sense; as well as countless are the worlds that each one engenders. This is basically what interests him.
Since it is not possible to define his method (not in the sense of theoretical reference, nor in that of technical procedure) but, only, his sensitivity, we may ask ourselves: what type of equipment does the cartographer take, when he sets afield?
What the cartographer carries in his pocket is very simple: a criterion, a principle, a rule and a brief route of preoccupations-this, each cartographer defines and redefines to himself, constantly.
You already know the evaluation criterion of the cartographer: it is that of the degree of intimacy that each one allows oneself, at each moment, with the finite unlimited character that desire prints on the desirous human condition and its fears. It is that of the value that is given to each one of the movements of desire. In other words, the criterion of the cartographer is, fundamentally, the degree of openness towards the life that each one allows oneself at each moment. His criterion takes as its premise its principle.
The principle of the cartographer is extra-moral: the expansion of life is his basic and exclusive parameter, and never a cartography of any kind, taken for a map. What interests him in situations with which he deals is to what extent life is finding channels of effectuation. It may even be said that his principle is an antiprinciple: a principle that obliges him to constantly change his principles. For both his criterion as well as his principle are vital and not moral.
And his rule? He has only one: it is a sort of "golden rule." It provides elasticity to his criterion and his principle: the cartographer knows that it is always in the name of life, and of its defense, that strategies are invented, no matter how preposterous. He never forgets that there is a limit to how much can be borne, at each moment, the intimacy with the finite unlimited, the base of his criterion: a limit of tolerance for the disorientation and reorientation of affects, a "threshold of deterritorialization." He always evaluates the extent to which the defenses that are being used serve or not to protect life. We could name his instrument of evaluation the "threshold of possible disenchantment," since, after all, this deals with evaluating how much can be borne, in each situation, the disenchantment of the masks which are constituting us, their loss of sense, our disillusion. How much can disenchantment be borne so as to free those recently emerged affects to invest in other matters of expression, and with this allow new masks to be created, new senses. Or, on the contrary, the extent it is being upheld for not being able to bear this process. Of course this kind of evaluation has nothing to do with mathematical calculations, standards or measures, but with that which the vibrating body captures in the air: a type of feeling that varies completely based on the singularity of each situation, including the limit of tolerance of the vibrating body itself that is evaluating, in relation to the situation that is being evaluated. The rule of the cartographer is thus very simple: never forget to consider this "threshold." Rule of prudence. Rule of gentleness towards life. Rule that expedites yet does not attenuate his principle: this rule allows him to discriminate the degrees of danger and potency, functioning as a warning sign whenever necessary. Because after a certain limit-which the vibrating body recognizes quite well-the reactivity of the forces ceases to be reconvertible in activity and begins to act in the sense of pure destruction of one's self and/or of the other: when this happens, the cartographer, in the name of life, can and must be absolutely impious.
With these informations in hand, we can attempt to better define the practice of the cartographer. We affirmed that it refers fundamentally to the strategies of the formation of desire in the social field. Now we may say that it is, in itself, a space of active exercise of such strategies. A space of the emergence of nameless intensities, a space of incubation of new sensitivities and new languages throughout time. From this perspective, the analysis of desire ultimately refers to the choice of how to live, to the choice of criteria with which the social, the real social, is invented. In other words, it refers to the choice of new worlds, new societies. Here, the practice of the cartographer is immediately political.
Extracted from Suely Rolnik, Cartografia sentimental, transformaç§es contemporéneas do desejo, Sâo Paulo: Editora Estaçâo Liberdade, 1989, p.15-16; 66-72, translated from the Portuguese by Adriano Pedrosa and Veronica Cordeiro.
Translated by Robert Bononno
Foreword by Stuart Elden
Minnesota Press 2017.
One of the most
influential Marxist theorists of the twentieth century, Henri Lefebvre first
published Marxist Thought and the City in French in 1972,
marking a pivotal point in his evolution as a thinker and an important
precursor to his groundbreaking work of urban sociology, The Production
of Space. Marxist Thought and the City—inwhich he reviews the
work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for commentary and analysis on the life
and growth of the city—now appears in English for the first time.
Rooted in orthodox
Marxism’s analyses of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production, with
extensive quotations from the works of Marx and Engels, this book describes the
city’s transition from life under feudalism to modern industrial capitalism. In
doing so it highlights the various forces that sought to maintain power in the
struggles between the medieval aristocracy and the urban guilds, amid the
growth of banking and capital.
background and supplementary material to Lefebvre’s other books, including The
Urban Revolution and Right to the City, Marxist Thought and
the City is indispensable for students and scholars of urbanism,
Marxism, social geography, early modern history, and the history of economic
Maps & MappingPosted by Les Roberts 18 Jan, 2017 13:02:40 A Cartographic Turn: Mapping and the Spatial Challenge in Social Sciences Jacques Lévy (ed.) EPFL Press (2016)
The Cartographic Turn contains contributions on maps and cartography from multiple authors from various disciplines: geography, demography, cartography, art theory, architecture and philosophy. While such diversity could imply that this book is a collection of independent contributions gathered only by their topic, this impression would be misleading. Rather, this book develops four simple propositions that actually can be streamlined into a single concept expressed through four different perspectives. Above all, maps convey rational, aesthetic, ethical and personal messages, at times separately but more often in unison, and this mix offers ample fields for studying social complexity. Beyond that, maps are, by their very existence, both representations of pre-existing spaces and creations of new spaces. Consequently, the historical or anthropological analysis of maps as semantic objects should be connected to the production of new maps, namely those that take advantage of the powerful tools provided by digital technology. Finally, the issues of contemporary mapping should be read in light of recent innovations within social sciences on space. Before this cartographic turn, technicians, historians, users and exegetes were distinct and decidedly turned away from each other.The era of the singular engineer-designed map is past. Maps have gained many new actors, and these actors are critical thinkers. This book would modestly like to contribute to a durable association between mapping and reflexivity. Cartographers, historians of cartography, geographers, visual scientists and artists, social scientists as well as advanced students in these disciplines will appreciate and benefit from reading The Cartographic Turn. Contents
Foreword (Rob Kitchin)
Introduction: Mapping Is Thinkable, Thinking Is Mappable (Jacques Lévy)
Part 1: Map as Resource – When Maps Reflect (Christian Jacob) – Maps in Perspective, What can philosophy learn from experimental maps in contemporary art? (Patrice Maniglier) – The Cartographic Dimension of Contemporary Art (Marie-Ange Brayer) – What the Atlas Does to the Map (Elsa Chavinier, Carole Lanoix, Jacques Lévy and Véronique Mauron)
Part 2: Map as Language – Space for Reason (Jacques Lévy)
Cartographic Semiosis: Reality as Representation (Emanuela Casti) – Doing the Right Map? Cognitive and/or Ethical Choices (Jacques Lévy and Elsa Chavinier)
Part 3: Where Are We on the Map? – Mapping Ethics (Jacques Lévy) – A Reappraisal of the Ecological Fallacy – Mapping Otherness (Emanuela Casti) – Mapping the Global Mobile Space: The Nomadic Space as Sample (Denis Retaillé)
Part 4: Who is the Author of this Map? – ‘My’ Maps? On Maps and their Authors (Patrick Poncet) – Lost in Transduction: From Digital Footprints to Urbanity – Augmented Reality and the Place of Dreams (André Ourednik)
At its heart, this is a film about risk. It is about what we stand to lose in the course of a colossal social transformation reflected in the way our cities are being re-designed. A stroll in central London will show you what this transformation entails. Developers and politicians are building a new skyline, and with it, bearing a new standard of living costs. While recognising that change is inevitable, this film asks: what do we risk losing as this transformation unfolds?
In asking this question, a portrait is painted of a market in Tottenham, north London, called the Seven Sisters Indoor Market. On face value, it is a fairly common market, with numerous and diverse businesses sit side-by-side vying for custom. Looking more closely, it’s evident that it also doubles as an informal cultural centre for immigrants from Latin America, Africa, and elsewhere. This, too, is common enough among various parts of London and cities like it.
Upon closer reflection, however – and it is this reflection that the film attempts – a brilliance emerges. It is a brilliance in which public and private, social and commercial, native and foreign, are merged into a social attitude of inclusiveness - an example of humanity exceptionally embedded into urban space. It is a market imbued with a ‘living room’ feeling made up of informality and spontaneous cosmopolitanism. Imagine trying to cross a corridor amid multilingual chatter, and being blocked by a child practicing karate.
This portrait is painted using hybrid film language that borrows from documentary and fiction styles, as well as ethnographic modes of representation. At times, past and present are merged in the course of invoking personal stories of migration. At other times, static shots allow stories to unfold before the camera, resulting in a language as spontaneous as the spirit of the market itself.
The story of the Seven Sisters Indoor Market is a reminder of what is possible in a city, as well of what we risk losing through the systematic dismantling of the conditions that keep it open.
This emergent conflict is not passive – in this particular site, you may join the members of the Ward’s Corner Community Coalition in their struggle to preserve the market. The first step towards organised resistance, however, is a reflection triggered.
It’s this reflection on risk that this documentary offers.
Spatial HumanitiesPosted by Les Roberts 18 Jan, 2017 12:44:27 Cultural Turns: New Orientations in the Study of Culture Doris Bachmann-Medick. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2016. ISBN 978-3-11-040297-1.
https://www.degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/433816The contemporary fields of the study of culture, the humanities and the
social sciences are unfolding in a dynamic constellation of cultural
turns. This book provides a comprehensive overview of these
theoretically and methodologically groundbreaking reorientations. It
discusses the value of the new focuses and their analytical categories
for the work of a wide range of disciplines. In addition to chapters on
the interpretive, performative, reflexive, postcolonial, translational,
spatial and iconic/pictorial/visual turns, it discusses emerging
directions of research. Drawing on a wealth of international
research, this book maps central topics and approaches in the study of
culture and thus provides systematic impetus for changed disciplinary
and transdisciplinary research in the humanities and beyond - e.g. in
the fields of sociology, economics and the study of religion.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Cultural Turns - New Orientations in the Study of Culture 1-37 Chapter I: The Interpretive Turn 39-71 Chapter II: The Performative Turn 73-101 Chapter III: The Reflexive/Literary Turn 103-130 Chapter IV: The Postcolonial Turn 131-173 Chapter V: The Translational Turn 175-209 Chapter VI: The Spatial Turn 211-243 Chapter VII: The Iconic Turn/Pictorial Turn 245-278 Outlook: Are the Cultural Turns Leading to a Turn in the Humanities and Study of Culture? 279-298
Maps & MappingPosted by Les Roberts 18 Jan, 2017 11:51:16 The Forbidden City to Convict's Landing: rare early city maps – in pictures
From London when it had only one bridge, to a pictorial rendition of Sir Francis Drake’s invasion of Santo Domingo, these global city maps date back to the 1500s and are taken from Great City Maps, published by DK.
New Town Utopia is a documentary feature film that explores the original utopian dreams of a post-war British New Town – Basildon, Essex - and compares this to the modern concrete reality. We're close to finishing production, and after four years of serious hard work, have hundreds of hours of footage ready to be crafted into a poetic, challenging film.
It is a meditation on British social history that asks the question: do people make the place… or does a place make the people?
This collection draws on the Mobilities approach to look afresh at notions of the sacred where they intersect with people, objects and other things on the move. Consideration of a wide range of spiritual meanings and practices also sheds light on the motivations and experiences associated with particular mobilities. Drawing on rich, situated case studies, this multi-disciplinary collection discusses what mobility in the social sciences, arts and humanities can tell us about movements and journeys prompted by religious, more broadly ’spiritual’ and 'secular-sacred' practices and priorities. Problematizing the fixity of sacred places and times as territorially and temporally bounded entities that exist in opposition to ’profane’ everyday life, this collection looks at the intersection between the embodied-emotional-spiritual experience of places, travel, belief-practices and communities. It is this geographically-informed perspective on the interleaving of religious/ spiritual/ secular notions of the sacred with the material and more-than-representational attributes of associated mobilities and related practices which constitutes this volume’s original contribution to the field.
Rhythmanalysis - Theories and Methodologies
by Yi Chen (London College of Communication, University of
This book explores rhythmanalysis as a philosophy and as a
research method for the study of cultural historical experiences. It formulates
'rhythm' as a critical concept which is defined in dialogic relationships to
intellectual traditions, yet introducing unique philosophical positions that
serve to re-think ways of conceiving and addressing cultural political issues.
Engaging with the notion of 'conjunctural shift', which for Stuart Hall
captures the ruptured social landscape of Britain in the 1970s, the book then
puts the method of rhythmanalysis to work by testifying the changing cultural
experiences in rhythmic terms. This particular rhythmanalytical project
instantiates while opening up ways of using rhythmanalysis for exploring
cultural historical experiences.