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[ecrea] Technologies of Space: Verticality, Volume, Infrastructure
Wed Feb 15 20:58:11 GMT 2017
Technologies of Space: Verticality, Volume, Infrastructure
A one day symposium with lectures by Mark Dorrian, Stuart Elden and Lisa
Friday, March 3, 2017, 10:00–17:00, University of Oslo, Helga Engs Hus,
Our conception of space is presently undergoing significant changes.
While issues concerning the constant redrawing of territories and
security measurements caused by increased mobility, organized terror and
prolonged colonization continue to gain precedence, we also face an ever
intensified and unhinged financial capitalism propelling increased
differences along spatial divisions such as gated communities,
gentrification of neighborhoods, privatization of public and air space
and neoliberal property speculation. This is again linked to the more
than human rights concerns of resource deficiency, global warming and
climate change and the geological epoch of the Anthropocene. While these
changes are simultaneously propelled and remediated by an exponential
proliferation of digital and networked technologies, scholarly work
often fail to inquire the technological assemblages that produce them.
In geography especially, territory, sovereignty and human experience
have long been flattened by a paradoxical reliance on flat maps—and,
more recently, aerial and satellite images—projected or imaged from the
disembodied bird’s or God’s eye view from high above (Stephen Graham,
2016). This symposium therefore directs particular attention to recent
calls across spatial disciplines to expand space and its mapping from
horizontal, plane surface to vertical dimensionality and volume. The
one-day symposium “Technologies of Space: Verticality, Volume,
Infrastructure” aims to interrogate these entanglements by foregrounding
its material infrastructures, be it of code or cables, and their
experiential, territorial and geopolitical repercussions. In what ways
do space and media technologies intersect today to produce new real and
imaginative geographies and (thus) new configurations of power? And how
could specific issues related to the contemporary productions of space
best be approached? How could the different research perspectives and
approaches inherent in the major spatial sciences of architecture,
geography and infrastructure be combined in an effort to address such
Information about enrollment:
The symposium is open to all interested, but requires registration.
For questions and registration, please contact (a.s.johnson /at/ media.uio.no)
Participation fee of NOK 100,- / EUR 12 covers lunch and refreshments.
Registration deadline: Thursday, February 22, 2017.
09:45Coffee and registration
10:15–11.50Chair: Susanne Ø. Sæther
10:20Stuart Elden (University of Warwick): "Terrains Volume"
13:00–14:35Chair: Eivind Røssaak
13:05Lisa Parks (Massachusetts Institute of Technology): "Orbital
Platforms and Vertical Mediation"
14:35 Coffee Break
15:00–16:35Chair: Timotheus Vermeulen
15:05Mark Dorrian (University of Edinburgh): "Archaeologies of the
Future: On Crypts, Capsules and Catastrophe"
The symposium will end before 17:00.
Stuart Elden "Terrains Volume"
If we think about territory’s relation to volume, it is essential to
fully account for its materiality. This lecture suggests that terrain is
a useful concept to think about the materiality of territory in three
dimensions. Terrain combines geophysical issues alongside strategic
ones, and shows how we need to go beyond narrow understandings of
territory. All attempts at fixing territorial boundaries and shaping
territories, and the legal regimes in, above and beyond them are
complicated by dynamic features of the Earth. These would include such
physical features as rivers, oceans, polar-regions, glaciers, airspace
and the sub-surface – both the sub-soil and the sub-marine. Terrain
encompasses the built infrastructure, the physical landscape and their
interrelation. Terrain makes possible, or constrains, various political,
military and strategic projects. It is where the geopolitical and the
geophysical meet. How should political-legal understandings of territory
and its volume better account for the complexities of the geophysical?
Lisa Parks “Orbital Platforms and Vertical Mediation”
During the 1960s, US leaders celebrated the satellite as a global
communication technology that would unify people and countries across
the planet and accelerate modernization. By the 1970s, leaders from
non-aligned countries perceived these twin dreams of unification and
modernization as specious because they had been largely excluded from
orbital projects and had yet to reap the benefits of satellite
technology. Orbit had become yet another domain of haves and have-nots.
Within the historical conjuncture of the war on terror, the politics of
orbital control have shifted again. In this talk, I explore US efforts
to reassert vertical hegemony after the 9/11 attacks—attacks that
spectacularly ruptured US control of aerial, spectral, and orbital
domains. Drawing on US military and satellite industry documents, launch
records, and international press reports, I discuss a series of
high-powered satellites by the National Reconnaissance Office, the
refinement and expansion of global positioning satellite systems, and
military-corporate partnerships in the satellite sector. I demonstrate
that US expansion of orbital platforms has been an integral yet often
neglected dimension of the war on terror, which has enabled a new
logistics of surveillance defined as vertical mediation.
Mark Dorrian "Archaeologies of the Future: On Crypts, Capsules and
My talk will examine a specific kind of 'technology of verticality' –
that of the time capsule. More particularly, it will focus on the
capsules that were buried alongside one another in Flushing Meadows,
Queens, where the two mid-century New York World's Fairs were held.
Interred respectively in 1939 and 1964, the time capsule idea was
developed and promoted by the science-fiction author, rocketeer and
publicist G. Edward Pendray, who was employed by the Westinghouse
Electric and Manufacturing Company. Taking his cue from contemporary
thanatological projects, most notably Thornwell Jacobs's 'Crypt of
Civilisation' at Oglethorpe University, Pendray swept away their dusty
necrological associations and in effect reconstituted them for the
rocket age in the form of a sleek and shining missile launched through
time. In his study of the 19th and early-20th c. 'Century Chests', Nick
Yablon has suggested that the 'microscosmic' time capsule emerges within
a cultural horizon of catastrophe, and I will explore this theme in
relation to the World's Fair capsules. Symptomatically, the
contemporary accounts and ceremonies associated with the Westinghouse
capsules oscillate between celebrations of endurance and intimations of
mortality and collapse. In this regard, the time capsules look like a
form of Derridean 'survivance', whereby a civilisation mourns itself in
advance – symbolically buries itself through its cultural artifacts –
while at the same time laying a claim upon the world-to-come by
projecting itself toward a far-future target date.
Mark Dorrian holds the Forbes Chair in Architecture at the University of
Edinburgh and is Co-Director of the art, architecture and urbanism
atelier Metis. His work spans topics in architecture and urbanism, art
history and theory, and media studies. Recent books include Writing on
the Image: Architecture, the City and the Politics of Representation and
Seeing From Above: The Aerial View in Visual Culture.
Stuart Elden is Professor of Political Theory and Geography at the
University of Warwick, UK. He is the author of seven books, including
works on territory, Michel Foucault, Martin Heidegger, and Henri
Lefebvre. He is currently working on aspects of territory in
Shakespeare’s plays; on the concept of terrain; on Lefebvre’s writings
on rural issues; and the very early Foucault.
Lisa Parks is Professor of Comparative Media Studies and Director of the
Global Media Technologies and Cultures Lab at MIT. Her research is
focused on three areas: satellite technologies and media cultures;
critical studies of media infrastructures; and media, militarization and
surveillance. Before joining the CMS faculty at MIT, Parks was Professor
and former Department Chair of Film and Media Studies at UC Santa
Barbara, where she also served as Director of the Center for Information
Technology and Society. Parks is the author of Cultures in Orbit:
Satellites and the Televisual (Duke UP, 2005), Coverage: Vertical
Mediation and the War on Terror (Routledge, forthcoming), and Mixed
Signals: Media Infrastructures and Cultural Geographies (in progress).
She is co-editor of: Life in the Age of Drones (Duke UP, forthcoming
2017), Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures (U of
Illinois, 2015), Down to Earth: Satellite Technologies, Industries and
Cultures (Rutgers UP, 2012), Undead TV (Duke UP, 2007), and Planet TV: A
Global Television Reader (NYU, 2003).
The symposium is organized by Media Aesthetics, Department of Media and
Communication, University of Oslo
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