CfP/A: Speeding and Braking – Navigating Acceleration

Call for Papers and Artworks: Speeding and Braking – Navigating Acceleration

12-14 May 2016,  Goldsmiths, University of London
Confirmed keynote: Prof. Frances Dyson (UC Davis)
Confirmed speakers: Susan Schuppli, Joanna Zylinska, Mark Fisher, Kodwo Eshun


Marx says that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But perhaps it is quite otherwise. Perhaps revolutions are an attempt by the passengers on the train – namely, the human race – to activate the emergency brake. (Walter Benjamin)

The only way out is through. (Robert Frost)

Acceleration has been characterised as both reason and remedy for the challenges presented by an increasingly fraught global economy, marked by financial crises, ecological ruination, neo-colonial oppression and forced displacements of an unprecedented scale. Concurrently, the contemporary political and cultural imagination is caught between opposing temporalities: the accelerationist affirmation that „€œthe increasing immanence of the social and technical is irreversible and indeed desirable“€ (Avanessian & Mackay, #Accelerate, p. 7) on the one hand, and „regressive, decelerative or restorative ‚€˜solutions’€™“€ (ibid., p. 6.) on the other. The conference „Speeding and Braking: Navigating Acceleration“ aims to explore critical techno-practices in screen and sonic media that eschew this conceptual deadlock by extending across and beyond such totalising and mutually exclusive attitudes – of immersion vs. rejection -€“ with regard to the contemporary technosphere.

The conference is concerned with the material and phenomenological consequences of accelerations and decelerations as well as aesthetic strategies afforded and/or precluded by them. It seeks responses concerned with the material inscription, practical harnessing and phenomenological experience of varying speeds, from the perspective of contrasting temporalities. We are particularly interested in transversal approaches reading across, and drawing into dialogue, seemingly incompossible positions within the fields of sonic and visual arts, cultural and critical theory, and media and communications: accelerationism vs. post-growth or „˜folk“€™ politics; afro-futurism vs. afro-pessimism; techno-feminism vs. feminist emphases on care and other forms of reproductive labour reliant on human agents etc.

A suggested (but by no means exhaustive) list of topics for consideration:

– Alternate futures: What are examples of speculative fantasies and hi-tech futurisms that problematise the modernist rift between techno-utopias and techno-phobias? What are the internal debates involved in discourses thinking race, gender and sex in and through technology and progress? What role do pessimisms responding to these discourses play in their recuperation of the future?

– Particle Time: Rust, dust and other particles point to the mutual entanglement of man-made and environmental change, blurring the boundaries between historical and natural (biological, geological) durations. What temporal ontologies might a reconsideration of the geochemical particles involved in the making of media (art) help emerge? How do artists address this „deep time of the media“€ (S. Zielinski)?

– Spectrality and Ruination: Ghosts and ruins occupy the longue durée of history; they are negative inscriptions of the obsolete, the uncanny/unhomely return of the repressed and the unrealised, persisting as spectral/ruinous present against capital’s double telos of perpetual growth and progress. How and by way of which temporal logic may ghosts and ruins converse with the past? How do they inflect our understanding of the present (as future ruin/spectrality)?

– 24/7: Neoliberal urban and domestic experiences are marked by an acceleration of visual mediation as a means of social regulation and capture. What critical and aesthetic tools might allow us to recuperate the lost dimensions of social-spatial practice in both private and public spaces?

– Slow motion: Both the contemporary „€œslow cinema“€ and certain instances of structural film enact a systematic deceleration of the moving image, emphasising its stillness, silence and uneventful duration. Usually defined in aesthetic terms (e.g. as an affective economy that resists the logic of consumption), these slow currents may also be framed as poietic strategy -€“ with particular resonance in marginal or ‚€˜underdeveloped’™ moving image ecologies of the Global South. What are the aesthetic and political stakes involved in slowing down the moving image?

We invite abstracts for 20 minute presentations and proposals for artworks (audio, video and performance). Deadline for abstracts/proposals (300 words max) is March 20th 2016 23:59 GMT.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by April 7th. Please send submissions as an attachment including a title, a brief biography and, if relevant, documentation of your artistic practice to screenandaudiovisual[at]gmail[dot]com.

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