Aernout Mik and the Culture of Speculative Security – a review by Marieke de Goode

Marieke de Goede

From 4 May to 25 August 2013, the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum showed Communitas, an overview of work by Dutch artist Aernout Mik. Marieke de Goode reviews the exhibit here.

Interview with Lauren Berlant

Lauren Berlant, George M. Pullman Professor of English at the University of Chicago, has generated a path-breaking body of scholarship that has opened up and reinvigorated interdisciplinary conversations about citizenship, sex, law and neoliberalism for over two decades.

David Seitz, a Toronto-based writer and Ph.D. candidate in human geography and women’s and gender studies at the University of Toronto, recently interviewed Berlant about her take on contemporary queer and austerity politics, the political implications of powerful new book Cruel Optimism, and the insights of queer theory for the present. A shorter version of this interview recently appeared in Toronto Xtra! The full version is presented here.

MURDER IN PASSING: An Interview with filmmakers John Greyson and Chase Joynt

John Greyson is an award-winning filmmaker whose titles include Fig Trees, Urinal, Zero Patience, Lilies, Proteus and Uncut. He teaches at York University in film. Chase Joynt is a writer/ performer/ filmmaker whose titles include Everyday to Stay, Akin and I’m Yours. Chase is also decorated with awards, and is currently working towards a PhD alongside John. I recently interviewed the pair on their fascinating project, Murder in Passing.

Read the interview here.

 

Inspirational Urbanist, Compassionate Comrade: Neil Smith 1954-2012

A companion tribute by Gordon MacLeod to the open access memorial forum that appears in Volume 30, Issue 6 and the open access virtual theme issue bringing together some of Neil’s work. Neil Smith, Hong Kong, 2004

Gordon MacLeod, Durham University

Neil Smith was held in special regard by a range of communities: activist, political, scholarly, and student, as well through his numerous wide-ranging friendships. As the news broke about his passing on 29th September 2012, a sequence of warmly generous and heartfelt postings and tributes quickly appeared on the CUNY websites. It was notable how their connective tissue often ranged from local neighborhoods such as Harlem to ones that stretched globally to Asia and Latin America. Indeed in a poignant way they mirrored his own warm embrace and reflected how his open geographical sensibility tallied with an acute appreciation of spatial scale. It was a glimpse into how Neil meant so much for so many of us. Our collective sense of wretched disbelief was matched only by one of terrible loss and sorrow. But amid the grief, many also felt able to recognize the extraordinary contribution of a courageous and unique scholar-activist. In this brief tribute, I discuss Neil’s contribution to critical urban geographical inquiry. It will inevitably be shaped by my own awestruck encounters with Neil and his pioneering work. But I write it quietly confident that I am one of many across the world whose own humble endeavors to research the inconstant landscapes of uneven urban development, the politics of land-use and gentrification, and the rise of a revanchist political climate throughout metropolitan regions have been inspired by Neil’s brilliant writings and exhilarating conference presentations.

Continue reading here.

Militarism? A Mini Forum

Deborah Cowen, University of Toronto

Who cares about militarism? Well, ostensibly we do. As an interdisciplinary group of scholars who have met on several occasions to work on and through ‘cultures of militarism’, we certainly care about the politics and violence the term signifies. Our interest is marked by these brief reflections, which trace not simply a concern for empirical facts of ‘militarism’, but for the term’s meaning in scholarly and political debate. This is not a movement away from the ‘real stakes’ of organized violence, but a commitment to the cartographies of power and forms of futurity already at play in ‘militarism’s’ deployment.

‘Militarism’ grabs our attention; it asks us to take notice of something wrong. It flags the intrusion of the exceptional into the everyday. Militarism typically marks warfare in excess, creeping inwards to overwhelm civilian space. The problem of militarism is contingent on the problem of the modern military; an institution which came into being in its separation with police forces and in their respective authority inside and outside national territory. This is the trick of ‘militarism’; its discursive power lies in its critique of the trespass of a conceptual binary and spatial imaginary that it perhaps unavoidably relies upon and resurrects. ‘Militarism’ may thus reproduce a liberal fantasy of peaceful politics, and a colonial geopolitical vision that refuses the violence of its own historical becoming.

Our mini forum in part asks: can ‘militarism’ question or contest the ways in which war is always already in our peace? Can it orient us towards a spatiality and temporality that recognizes warfare and colonial violence as part of the architecture of everyday life, and not something against which ‘society must be defended’ (cf Foucault 1997)? Our conversation is concerned with war’s presence – its changing form and feel in civilian and military life. One thread is oriented towards the life of war in peace, be it through material culture, landscape, scientific knowledge, scopic regimes, technological forms, and governmentalities. The military genealogies of particular forms of vision and visual representation, calculative technologies, medical and professional techniques, and aesthetic forms, alternately intrigue us. If, in one of the most incisive critiques of militarism, Enloe (2000) asks ‘how do they militarize a can of soup?’ and questions how the pasta within assumes the shape of ‘star wars satellites’, then we are also interested in the central fact of the can. Like most other techniques of food preservation, canning was invented to support the battlefield; Napoleon commissioned its design to help feed his front. Thus, the can of soup was always already ‘militarized’, and bypassing the can for the noodles hides perhaps more than it reveals.

And yet, our mini-forum also questions the limits of this exposure. The incitement to ‘reveal’ militarism – to trace it through everyday life – may stem from a desire to disrupt the colonial and nationalist imaginaries that sustain geo and biopolitical violence. But does it contribute to cultivating alternative knowledge, vision and practice? In different ways, the contributors ask, what are the limits of ‘revealing’? Does this desire to expose reconstitute an exhausted and exhausting humanist political intervention? Does it move us beyond binaries, or recharge them? And in an era when it is increasingly difficult to discern police and military authority, when armed forces are centrally involved in ‘humanitarian’ operations, and when warfare is powerfully privatized- is the focus on things ‘military’ itself a relic of modernity?

These questions and others animate the brief reflections that follow. Authors were given a maximum of 700 words and a very short time to draft their contributions. We share them here with the hopes of provoking further conversation.

These pieces signify part of the vibrant discussion across 2011-2012 in the “Cultures of Militarization” Working Group funded by the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). Other members of the Working Group that were not able to participate in this mini forum but whose conversation and scholarship has been inspiring include Paul Amar (UC Santa Barbara), Colin Milburn (UC Davis), and Minoo Moallem (UC Berkeley). 

JENNIFER TERRY, Entanglements of Militarization and Medicine

CAREN KAPLAN, Bomb Sight: The Visual Realism of Aerial Reconnaissance

KELLY GATES, Militarized Policing and Political Protest in the New Media Landscape

EMILY GILBERT, Militarism and Iris Scanning

TOBY BEACHAMP, Thinking Militarism and Exposure Through Transgender Studies

PETER LIMBRICK, After-effects

Works Cited

Enloe, C. (2000) Maneuvers: the international politics of militarizing women’s lives. UC Press: Berkeley.

Foucault, M. (1997) Society must be defended, Lectures at the College de France, 1975-6. New York: Picador.

Forum on the ‘Occupy’ movement

Greetings! We asked members of the Society and Space editorial board and friends to share brief reflections on the ‘Occupy’ movement. We are delighted to share the pieces below. Check back regularly as new contributions continue to trickle in.

ANANYA ROY “Occupy the Future”

EDUARDO MENDIETA “Occupy: to dwell in the space of attentive solicitude”

JULIET FALL “Translations in the city”

DEBORAH BIRD ROSE “Convivial Activism”

ELENA TRUBINA “Occupy to Get an Occupation?”

STUART ELDEN “V for Visibility”

MARIEKE DE GOEDE “How to Fight a Derivative”

JUSTIN CLEMENS “Occupied”

MARLIES GLASIUS “Doing Democracy in the Square: Reflections on Occupy, the Indignants and the Tahrir demonstrators”

ANNA TSING “Occupy the ruins”

KATHRYN YUSOFF ‘Mayor, Commonalty & Citizens of the City of London v Persons Unknown (being persons taking part in a protest camp at St Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4)’

PATRICIA NOXOLO “Occupy: Africa?”

SAM HALVORSEN “Occupying: The Politics of Process”

Photos by Kathryn Yusoff

CYNTHIA WEBER’S short film from the early days of Occupy Wall Street “Occupylujah”

Links to reflections on the ‘Occupy’ movement 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,538 other followers