(P043)
Performance, design and aesthetics
Location SOAS Main Building - 4429
Date and Start Time 03 Jun, 2018 at 15:30
Sessions 1

Convenors

  • Torange Khonsari (London Metropolitan University) email
  • Mehrdad Seyf (30 Bird Productions) email

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Short abstract

The quote below by Chantal Mouffe is at the heart of this panel. ''Can artistic practices still play a critical role in a society where the difference between art and advertising have become blurred and where artists and cultural workers have become a necessary part of capitalist production,''

Long abstract

This panel is to critically address issues of aesthetic generated through collaborative site specific research between performance, design and the city, and social relations that have produced it or have been produced by it. In its most banal, the current dominant aesthetics being produced to make the city are either rehash of nostalgia of the past or a corporate value system of efficient and risk free principles, creating sanitised visual monotony. Unless consciously avoided these are the backdrops to site specific performances. Our work has created subversive permanent installations in opposition to the dominant aesthetic, as a critique and a setting for alternative human relations. It is important to have permanent presence for the unfamiliar aesthetic to become familiar and to claim its place within the city. This panel will question what is this disobedient aesthetic to the current mainstream, and what social relations does that construct? Equally, our work results in challenging established forms of performance, where either narrative or the performer become the fulcrum.  We disturb the relationship between audience and performance by creating fluid and mobile structures with their incoherent aesthetic informed by social relations. These structures refuse to be pinned down in meaning but act as provocative and interruptive objects enabling interpenetration of social spaces and challenging the subject/object perspective in design, performance and the city. The objects that create the disobedient aesthetic are contingent and evolving, they are evocative invitations rather than typologies. Their materiality is embedded in their capacity to be tactical.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Objects and the Materiality of Memory

Author: Orkideh Behrouzan (SOAS University of London) email

Short abstract

Iranian youth of the 1980s, remember and performatively enact, mobilise, and embody cultural forms that reconstruct the collective memories of their generation; I focus here on the materiality of these memories, by providing a sensory reading if the much circulated memorabilia of the 1980s.

Long abstract

Iranian youth, particularly the children of 1980s, continue to remember and performatively enact, mobilise, and embody cultural forms that reconstruct the collective memories of their generation; such cultural practices quietly inscribe past experiences (such as those of wartime) in their perceptions of, and interactions with, the self and the world around them. I focus here on the materiality of these memories, by providing a sensory reading if the much circulated memorabilia of the 1980s. Asking questions about the persistence and repetitions of such memory-work and performativity through objects, I examine the underlying individual desires as well as shared meanings that compel this generation to return to the 1980s; they recall and reconstruct this era as a time of, on the one hand, sociopolitical anomie, double binds, and internalized anxieties, and on the other, of utopian dreams, solidarity, and lost hopes that shaped their childhood. I focus on objects, sounds, and images that serve to historicise and witness to historical ruptures long overlooked while also evoking a sense of uncanny and simultaneous nostalgia and anxiety. These cultural productions, online and offline, serve as affective sites for the reconstruction of and working through childhood memories of social ruptures. I use 'rupture' as an alternative conceptual framework for understanding these generationally negotiated, diffused, and politically configured iterations of memory. Clinical renditions of trauma too, however, have become a cultural resource for young Iranians; they serve to resocialize and re-politicise the otherwise medicalised and de-politicised discourse of post-war trauma.

SITUATED DRAWING - Pedagogical Tools for Civic Practice

Author: Andreas Lang (Sheffield University) email

Short abstract

The paper explore a representational and pedagogical device, the Situated Drawing, developed by art and architecture group public works through practice and teaching in Architecture Schools.

Long abstract

The paper explore a representational and pedagogical device, the Situated Drawing, developed by art and architecture group public works through practice and teaching in Architecture Schools. Traditional drawing methods used in urban practice often stand in the way for non experts to engage with and participate in the urban project, they don't equip urban practitioners with a communication device which supports or utilises direct engagement in order to access the various networks necessary for their projects to engender agency. The 'Situated Drawing' invents a way of drawing and acting directly on site which involves incidental actors and places which are unexpected yet relevant in the project. Drawing (understood in the broadest sense) becomes a way of becoming situated in a site while activating it. As such it reaches beyond the idea of representation and places its authors as actors, physically within the site and context of inquiry. Becoming embedded within what Irit Rogof describes as an 'embodied criticality' Acknowledging the limitation of representation the Situated Drawing explores ways to capture the relational moments of the action, its actors and the situation and embed them in the artefact of the drawing itself. The paper explores situated forms of engagement and pedagogy that encourages to test ideas and assumptions directly in the field as part of the design process, and so enable new forms of engagement with people and institutions. The paper will contextualise the ideas behind the situated drawings in current discourse around situated learning (Lave) and reflective practice (Schön).

NIUN: Designing a Saudi future

Authors: Michael Mogensen (Goldsmiths, University of London) email
Ahaad Alamoudi (Dar Al Hekma University) email

Short abstract

NIUN is a collaboration between designer Michael Mogensen and artist Ahaad Alamoudi. It is inspired by the 13th C. writings of Arab Persian explorer Zakariya al-Qazwini. NIUN is a film, an installation and a series of talks in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, proposing an alternative Saudi future.

Long abstract

Saudi artist Ahaad Alamoudi and US designer Michael Mogensen have created a NIUN future. They are are the first residents of NIUN, a future home created in the desert outside Jeddah that responds to a call from the state to join "humanity's next chapter." . They believe that they are laying the cornerstone of a new civilisation. They go into the desert as an act of faith in the future and their place in it. They inhabit RD ("ardi" in Arabic is my land) a black rock that they believe is an asteroid. She is an energy source who grants them access to the seven heavens and to layers in time of cosmology. They are never entirely sure which is which, one layer overlapping with the other.

NIUN is speculative, a short film, an installation, and also a series of talks where we discuss NIUN and how it responds to the future in Saudi Arabia. It is the precursor to a larger work. NIUN is a speculative work albeit in a loose sense, it is not clear if this is the utopian fantasy. RD could be a talking rock, or the desert hallucinations of both. NIUN explores ideas of the future and utopia in the context of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and engages with current projects or plans such as Neom, a mini-state proposed in Saudi Arabia. The film was shot in December 2017, and the work will be shown at 21,39 Jeddah Art Week in February 2018.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.