The Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg hosted its third PARSE conference over the last coupe of days (13-15 November 2019) focusing on the theme of ‘Human’.
Politically, culturally and theoretically, it is impossible today to navigate through the dense lattice of emergencies and urgencies without addressing the question of what constitutes the human, and by extension the inhuman, subhuman and non-human, as well as formulating an adequate response to the anthropocenic threat posed by the human against the planet. Organised to be deliberately transdisciplinary, the discussions were divided across six themes or tracks – with keynotes by Barbara Albert, Joan Anim-Addo, Maaike Bleeker, Joanna Bourke and Zakiyyah Iman Jackson – which include:
- the inhuman, the subhuman, the body and inscriptions of the human (the contested universality of the human across the divisions of class, race, gender, trans, queer, ableism, neurodiversity);
- the imperiled non-human (the Anthropocene, nature, ecological catastrophe) and the technological non-human and objecthood (tools, machine, nature, world of objects, OOO, robotics, algorithms etc);
- the posthuman, pedagogy and the institution (anti-humanism, anti-anthropocentrism, critique of the humanities, the human produced by the university, knowledge and distinction, disciplines of the human);
- human mobility and nationhood (transnationalism, cosmopolitanism, migration, human rights, personhood);
- biopolitics, necropolitics and the governance of the category of the human;
- decoloniality, post- and neo-colonialism (slavery, indigeneity, empire, desegregation, white Suprematism, white privilege).
I’ve been told that an upcoming issue of PARSE Journal will be dedicated to the conference, so am looking forward to essays winging their way to me at some stage. In keeping with the transdisciplinary approach PARSE has espoused, there will of course connections to previous issues. Meanwhile the website has had a further revamp (can’t believe I’ve worked on 7 issues already, i.e. from No. 3…)
The ninth issue of PARSE Journal is now live, on the recently revamped website. Some further texts still to be added (and some texts still to be tweaked), but there is a lot to explore on issues related to artistic work, labour, working conditions, care and self-care through a wide range of texts. On the occasion of the launch, there is a series of events on 7 and 8 May, including a keynote by Martha Rosler. The issue so far includes contributions by Ciarán Finlayso, Dave Beech, Frances Hatherley, Patricia Sequeira Brás, Tero Nauha, Bruno Gulli and Josefine Wikström. Others to follow soon.
In the course of 2018 the Faculty of Fine, Applied, and Performing Arts at the University of Gothenburg has shifted its publishing approach. Rather than publishing PARSE Journal via distinct issues in both print and online, as it had done since its inception, it has gone mainly digital. As the new website states: ‘PARSE does not undertake or conduct research projects, but exists as a publishing, dialogue and conference platform for high quality international research that links the fields within the Faculty’. In practice that means that instead of thematic issues, longer-term research arcs explore specific themes that are announced and made manifest somehow on the website.
Coming up on the new platform will be essays related to three research arcs: ‘art and work‘, ‘art and migration‘ and ‘intersectional engagements in politics and art’. Where the open calls for contributions ‘encourages experimental forms of research publication including artistic research and practice led research’ the platform ‘invite[s] academic research articles (6000 – 8000 words), essays, creative writing, all forms of graphic visualization, photography, audio work, videos, interactive work, and other creative works. All contributions will pass through an open peer review process.’ The fact that the research topics are engaged with over a longer of time and through different modes of interrogation means that they are engaged with in great depth.
Over the summer I have been proofing (and copy-editing) essays mainly in relation to the last ‘normal’ issue, focusing on exclusion, led by Dave Beech, Erling Björgvinsson and Kristina Hagström-Ståhl, which is now online (see the introduction here) on the revamped website. More recently I have worked on texts related to the first research arc, led by Dave Beech, with editors Marina Vishmidt and Benjamin Fallon and Kirsteen Macdonald, and of which the last event took place on 5 December, titled ‘Never (Off) Work!‘. Watch this new space!
Meanwhile PARSE issue 7 on Speculation has also gone online.
This issue explores how and why speculative thinking and speculative activity have obtained a new topicality, especially in philosophy, culture and politics, in a condition marked by the absence of certainty, the crisis of the crisis of metaphysics, the dominance of finance capital and the re-emergence of utopianism in the absence of revolution. Philosophically the reassertion of speculation coincides with the exploration of different practices of knowledge in the development of critical, conceptual and pragmatic tools by which the contested past, present and future can be navigated. Economically and politically, speculation represents both the incontrovertible structuring principle of neoliberal capitalism and the imaginative force that must be deployed against it.
With contributions by Didies Debaise and Isabelle Stengers, an interview by Dave Beech with Costas Lapavitsas, a reflection on one of his own works by Krzysztof Wodiczko, an extensive exploration of the notion of speculation in musical composition by Ming Tsao, and a conversation about speculation as an educational apporach between Valerie Pihet, Katrin Solhdju, Didies Debaise and Fabrizio Terranova. With an introduction by Dave Beech, Katrin Soldhju and Valerie Pihet.
You can find a link to all essays and the full PDF here.
I recently received paper copies of the PARSE journals I’ve worked on, including the latest one on Secularity, which doubles as a catalogue for the Goteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, curated by Nav Haq, which is titled WheredoIandyoubegin.
Edited by Andrea Phillips, Nav Haq and Ola Sigurdson, the issue contains a wide range of texts that approach the notion of secularity from different angels. The journal and individual articles can be found on the PARSE website. PARSE is published by Valand Academy, University of Goteborg.
Issue 5 of the open access PARSE Journal of Valand Academy of the University of Gothenburg has just gone online (click here to access the webpage). As always, it comprises an interesting range of texts, this time on ideas and practices related to management in the arts – both on individual and institutional levels.
Contributors include the late Marc Fisher (Accelerate Management), Andrea Francke and Ross Jardine (Bureaucracy’s Labour: The Administrator as Subject), Christopher Newfield (Arts and Humanities Education as Neo-liberalism Comes Unglued), Karin Hansson (The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life: Between Alienation and Belonging), Carla Cruz (‘Save Our Library!’: Social Action, Austerity and The Big Society), Kaldun Bshara (Biennales in Palestine: Thinking Art and Making Art), Erling Björgvinsson (Managing Collaborative Critique in Times of Financialisation Capitalism), Dari Bae and Apolonija Šušteršic (Master Plan for Duamdong) and Barbara Czarniawska (After Practice: A Personal Reflection).
A range of interesting issues coming up, including #5 on Management, which is almost done. Other topics include ‘speculation’ and ‘secularity’, and there will be a conference on ‘exclusion'(click on the image to link through for further details).