Streetsigns CUCR magazine

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Street Signs 2014

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The Future of Art is Urban

Artistic Research Practices and Methods in Social Sciences

////// 30 May – 14 June 2014 · Enclave (Deptford · South East London)
/////// work by Visual Sociology PhD students from Goldsmiths · curated by Katalin Halász

The Future of Art is Urban blends the borders between art and social science. The exhibition presents a wide range of different social research practices in which knowledge is produced through artistic approaches. Participants use the city as a site of confrontation and interaction and invite our immediate reflections. 

Screen shot 2014-08-18 at 15.54.41

See the website here and the catalogue here.

The exhibition is held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Goldsmiths Sociology, and is organised in celebration of the 20 years of the Centre for Urban and Community Research.

Engaging Tactics

Engaging Tactics @ the BSA Annual Conference 2013 in London, Wednesday April 3rd.

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Engaging Tactics is a Goldsmiths PhD initiative exploring the boundaries between sociology and life through multi-sensory, multi-site engagement with publics and participants inside and outside of academia. A series of interventions and round table will continue the discussion during this years the BSA Annual conference.

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Live Sociology // Engaging Tactics ····· 16:30 – 18:00

Roundtable discussion

With: Noortje Marres, Nirmal Puwar, Alison Rooke and Michel Guggenheim (all of Goldsmiths, University of London). Chaired by Anna Bull and Christian v. Wissel.

This roundtable is sounding out the speaking and acting powers of multi-media techniques to collect, analyse, archive, and share ethnographic social research as well as other kinds of social data and materials. Drawing on the interventions and screenings presented within Goldsmith’s open stream ‘Engaging Tactics: Revealing Secrets’ during the first day of this year’s BSA Annual Conference, the discussion will envision possible futures for social research by mapping out Live Sociology from participatory art to digital methods, from curating to eating.

Live Methods, 2013, edited by Les Back and Nirmal Puwar, Sociological Review Monographs Series, will be on display during the Publishers’ reception at 7pm.

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Revealing Secrets // interventions and screenings ····· all day

The venue for the 2013 BSA conference is the grandly mysterious Connaught Rooms, owned by the Freemasons, complete with masonic stars on door handles and secret entrances into the Masonic Lodge next door. ‘Off-the-records,’ in adjacent rooms and (almost) concealed interventions to the conference, Engaging Tactics therefore showcases a sound performance and video screenings that search for ways to talk about and engage with those bodies and lives that keep or are kept away from public.

Interventions and screenings by

Tansy Spinks: sound artist, lecturer at Middlesex University and Camberwell College of Art.

The sound performance Sonic Ritual (equivalent) will play with ideas about secret rituals, using objects and the sounds they make, through microphones, live loops and loudspeakers.

Madli Maruste: PhD candidate, Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths.

The video J. is reflecting on the personal story, a story about the loss of identity, belonging and the city, of a former Jewish Rabbi I met in the Old Jewish quarter in Vilnius, Lithuania in 2012.

Kata Halasz: visual artist, PhD candidate in Visual Sociology, Goldsmiths.

Visual wallpaper, composed of an animated gif projected in loop, intertwining the space, time and histories of the Grand Connaught Rooms.

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handout_et_BSA13-p1handout_et_BSA13-p2

 

Curating Research

Working in the emerging fields of Visual and Sensory Sociology implies searching for ways by which visual and sensory research tools and findings can make an intervention in the production of public knowledge. This is, that the visual and sensory means applied during research become productive not just as inspiration, companion or appendix to the written piece, but productive in their own right and speaking their own language. Visual and sensory knowledge – or more generally speaking: creative knowledge – are specific ways of knowing, different to that of intellectual abstraction to which they tend to resist when caught and translated into textual description and interpretation. It is in this light that the practice of curating acquires heightened importance. Curating Research is about handling research (Bolt 2010). It is about listening to and bringing into relation the visual and material qualities inherent in those forms of research that draw on, or develop through, artistic practices. And it is about exploring “curating as a research process” (Wells 2007) that in itself allows sociological enquiry – in all its possible forms, visual-sensory or not – to re-imagine, re-arrange, experiment with and expand its methods and ways of communication (see Puwar and Sharma, “Curating Sociology”, forthcoming).

Thus, if Visual and Sensory Sociology claim to be able to find distinctive approaches into researching the social, they have to find ways how to recognize, maintain and make flourish the uniqueness of such visual-material (creative) knowledge when introducing it into the ‘conventional’ channels of knowledge production in the social sciences. Curating Research shows the potential to be such a way. The medium ‘exhibition’, as a space, way of doing and a set of tools for research, can expand our means by which to challenge the material and sensory relations of the social. And it can help us to engage with publics inside and outside academia by using “other ways of telling” (ibid.).

Curating the city and Curating Research are two interventions that aim at contributing to find such ways. The first being an exhibition about the making of an exhibition and the second being a public talk about the art of exhibition making, both events invite to discuss the possible tools and spaces offered by curatorial practices in order to access, present, put to work and challenge creative research and knowledge.

please have a look and join the discussion.

Curating Research aims at exploring curatorial praxis as the means and stage for artistic research in the social sciences. The public talk asks about the politics and ethics of exhibiting as well as about the possibilities provided by the communication medium ‘exhibition’ to open up new, or different, spaces for thought and action.

As a reference point for the discussion we will draw special – yet not exclusive –attention to the tools and techniques inherent to curatorial practices in the field of critical urban studies. What possibilities emerge through the medium ‘exhibition’ for investigating, thinking, and changing the city?

Curating Research is an initiative by the urban research collective Citámbulos, the architecture collective NMA and Akademie Schloss Solitude. It takes the exhibition Curating the City – an exhibition about curating an exhibition about Mexico City – as an opportunity and spacial-haptic starting point for the discussion.

The public event invites curators, exhibition visitors, social scientists, and all those, who use artistic resources for their research, to reflect on their curatorial tools. It aims at exploring ways in which exhibitions and artistic knowledge production can become methodically firm and critically productive means for intervening in society.

Curating the City addresses the question of how curatorial practice and exhibition space can operate as active thinking spaces within urban research. The exhibition is designed as an open archive and workshop conversation with the interdisciplinary urban research collective Citámbulos whose homonymous project on urban phenomena in Mexico City has been shown in Berlin, Mexico City and Copenhagen (among others) in recent years. By means of a dialogue between specific exhibition pieces, excerpts from the publication Citámbulos: Guide to the Marvels of Mexico City and the collective’s Manifesto, Curating the City invites reflecting on ‘the art of listening’, ‘imagination as method’ and ‘remarking the unremarkable’ of our cities.

so what is vis soc all about?

Is it Visual Sociology or Sociology of the Visual (world)? Is it practice or theory? Observation or intervention? Documentary or analysis? Qualitative or quantitative methods? Or both? Or all of it? Is it about perception or about images? Concerned with process and the making of worlds through seeing or with time and space fixed on film or within a combination of zeros and ones? And what about text? Isn’t the layout of each page (and web page) a visual message, too?

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here is a – quickly compiled and not conclusive – list of web pages that wonderfully demonstrate that there is plenty of answers… Have a look yourself:

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And here some thought developed at Goldsmiths… by Les Back (in: Back, Les. 2007. The Art of Listening. Oxford; New York: Berg):

“The quality of the images operates outside of language and the conventions of The Word. Yet, at the same time, there is something to be listened to in these silent portraits. Part of what is compelling about them is that they contain voices that are present yet inaudible. We have to listen to them with our eyes.” (Back, 2007: 100)

“the lens is not always about the control and fixing of subjects. To see photography as merely a governing technology misses the instability and complexity of the drama that unfolds on either side of the lens. […] It is a mistake, I think, to see the lens as only looking one way. […] Cameras in this context are like windows that look out onto the street, and through which the street looks in.” (Back, 2007: 104)

to make sense of these quotes, please have a look at the following images by Anthony Luvera — although not the ones Les Back refers to in his book — at luvera.com

Visual Methods Keynote

From 13th to 15th of September 2011 the 2nd International Visual Methods Conference took place at the Open University in Milton Keynes. The conference was a fantastic event, both thanks to a wonderful organisation and thanks to superb line-up of keynote speakers with highly informative interventions. These are now online (http://stadium.open.ac.uk/berrill/) and it is very worthy listening to them (again)…

please follow the links below:

Kat Cizek “The interventionist and participatory methods of HIGHRISE”

Ludmilla Jordanova “Thinking With The Eyes”

Carey Jewitt “A History of Visual Methods”