Activism on the Map

AM-1Allora & Calzadilla, 2005

Roundtable 5: Activism on the Map
London 19-20 April 2013

To be involved in politics without aspiring to govern, governed by the best leaders, or abolish the institutions of government: such are the constraints that delineate the field of nongovernmental politics.

What nongovernmental activists seek to accomplish ranges considerably: providing humanitarian aid, protecting the environment, monitoring human-rights and civil-liberties violations, adding new entitlements to the list of fundamental rights and liberties, defending the interests of corporations’ stakeholders – workers, consumers, suppliers – and expanding public access to knowledge are only the most frequent among their pursuits. Yet, regardless of the nature of their activism, what all involvements in nongovernmental politics have in common is a determination to challenge the effects of a particular set of governmental practices. Whether the governing agency they confront is a state, an international organisation, a public institution or a private corporation, the specific issue that concerns nongovernmental activists is less who governs – who is in charge and for whose benefit – than how government is exercised.

This RT invites Zone authors to discuss activism and nongovernmental politics. Invited speakers are Michel Feher (philosopher and the founding editor of Zone books), Laura Kurgan (architect and Professor at Columbia University), Meg McLagan (documentary filmmaker) and Gaëlle Krikorian (scholar and activist).

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Day 1 – Friday April 19th 2013

11:00 – 13:30 : ICA
On Credit, Self-esteem, and Sharing: An Introduction to the Neoliberal Condition
A seminar with Michel Feher

15:00 – 18:00 : ICA
Activism on the Map: The Zone Books Series on Non-Governmental Politics
Friday Salon at the ICA
More info here

Day 2 – Saturday April 20th 2013

10:30 – 13:00 : Goldsmiths, 312 RHB
Close up at a distance
A seminar with Laura Kurgan

14:00 – 17:30 : Goldsmiths, 312 RHB
CRA members’ presentations (more info TBA)

19:00 :, 316-318 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 OAG
Public screening
More info here

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Participants bios:

Michel Feher is a philosopher, founding editor of Zone Books, NY, and president of Cette France-là, Paris. He is the author of Powerless by Design: The Age of the International Community (2000) and the co-editor of Nongovernmental Politics (2007), with Gaëlle Krikorian and Yates McKee. He most recently co-authored and edited cette France-là 1, 06-05-2007/30-06-2008, and cette France-là 2, 01-07-2008/30-06-2009.

Gaëlle Krikorian is a doctoral student at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and a member of the consultative board AC27 at the national research agency on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis (ANRS).

Laura Kurgan is Associate Professor of Architecture at Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning at Columbia University, where she is Director of the Spatial Information Design Lab (SIDL) and the Director of Visual Studies. Her work explores things ranging from digital mapping technologies to the ethics and politics of mapping, new structures of participation in design, and the visualization of urban and global data. Her recent research includes a multi-year SIDL project on “million-dollar blocks” and the urban costs of the American incarceration experiment, and a collaborative exhibition on global migration and climate change. Her work has appeared at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Whitney Altria, MACBa Barcelona, the ZKM in Karlsruhe, and the Museum of Modern Art (where it is part of the permanent collection). She was the winner of the United States Artists Rockerfeller Fellowship in 2009, and named one of Esquire Magazine’s ‘Best and Brightest’ in 2008. She has published articles and essays in Assemblage, Grey Room, ANY, Volume, and Else/Where Mapping, among other books and journals.

Meg McLagan is an independent filmmaker and cultural anthropologist based in New York City. Her latest film Lioness, codirected and coproduced with Daria Sommers, won the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2008 and aired nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens. Other films include Tibet in Exile (codirector, co-producer, camera) and the award-winning Paris Is Burning (associate producer). Her written work includes Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovermental Activism (co-edited with Yates McKee, Zone Books, 2012) and many essays. She currently teaches at Columbia University and is a visiting faculty member at the Bard Prison Initiative. Meg graduated from Yale where she majored in English literature. She earned a doctorate in anthropology and a Certificate from the Culture and Media Program at New York University.