Spring 2014: Performativity

12 Feb, 10-12, MEDEA Studio: Ola Ståhl & Terje Östling – 23.500t
23,500t (Malmö: Publication Studio, 2013) is an artist book engaging with the interstitial space between architecture, materiality and gentrification. Drawing upon a substantial archive of photographs and texts, the concertina publication consists of a 12m long print documenting the Sheffield housing estate Park Hill – a massive, council-owned, Brutalist structure currently being privatised and therefore undergoing massive refurbishment. The image on one side of the print is a collage of photographs that together make up the entirety of the facade of the complex. The opposite side of the print contains a series of text collages weaving together descriptive text, archival material and references to architectural theory. The covers of the publication are cast in concrete, the same material used to construct the frame of the housing complex itself.

26 Feb, 10-12, K3 sofas outside of IT room: Introduction and discussion of the theme of performativity
Open discussion of the theme for the Spring series of seminars. What is performativity? What are the consequences of discourses around performativity? What could performativity be? How might it relate to our research and practice? Participants are encouraged to bring suggested readings or works touching on performativity for sharing and discussing at the seminar.

27 Feb, 10-12, MEDEA studio: Anna Seravalli – 90% seminar (opponent: Liam J. Bannon)
Anna Seravalli, PhD candidate in Interaction Design, will present her dissertation work in dialogue with opponent Liam J. Bannon (Trento RISE; Professor (Emeritus), UL; Hon. Professor, Aarhus University). Provisional thesis title: In the opening of production, attempts at composing formats for commons making. Text available on request (anna.seravalli@mah.se).

Seminar abstract: “This work accounts for an inquiry in the opening of production. ‘The opening of production’ refers to a growing number initiatives based on collaboration, openness and sharing, which are changing practices and roles in processes of value creation. In ‘the opening of production’, a number of possible futures are emerging in relation to how things are made and services delivered. These futures are moving towards very different directions and entailing a number of issues and challenges. This inquiry is an attempt at understanding how these futures come in to be and what they do entail, by reflecting on the insights emerging from two long-term engagements: the setting up and running of Fabriken, a maker-space, and the collaboration with HWA, a women NGO operating in Malmö.

Particularly, this work uses the notion of ‘commons making’ to articulate how collaboration, openness and sharing have been at play in the engagements. Commons can be defined as collaborative, collective and shared institutions, i.e. specific formats of interaction between diverse stakeholders. Commons making entails to articulate both what these formats of interaction are generating (commons that make), as well as, how they are performed (commons that are made). By considering the engagements out from these two perspectives, the thesis wishes to articulate a number of formats in relation to open, collaborative and sharing production processes, as well as, some insights in relation to the possible futures that the opening of production may entail.”

12 Mar, 10-12, MEDEA Studio: Cecilia Åsberg – The performativity of the posthumanities: Feminist scholarship and its queer questions to nature, culture, ethics and interdisciplinarity **seminar postponed**
Cecilia Åsberg (PhD, Associate Professor, Gender Studies Linköping University) will initiate our discussions on the Spring theme of performativity with a guest talk on the performativity of the posthumanities. Seminar abstract:

“Taking a starting point in how feminist gender studies (FGS), cultural studies (CS), and science and technology studies (STS) have re-invented its core analytical concepts and reconfigured interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences, this lecture examines the possibilities for practicing a critical and creative form of the posthumanities today. In this lecture we look first at the basics of “the body trouble” of feminist analysis, especially from the vantage point of feminist science studies. As such, it turns into a larger question of nature, of the very nature of nature (ontology), the culture-of-no-culture (natural science) and the post-natural as approached in queer feminist cultural theory. But the ontological questions within feminist theory (emerging as new materialisms), inseparable from epistemological questions, have also given rise to ethical questions. Especially if posed in relation to “the posthuman”. But what does that imply? Well, as humans – in our gendered, racialized, animalized, medicalized, acclimatized and “civilized” corporealizations – are more and more obviously entangled in co-constitutive and reciprocal relationships with technology and science, with other animals and with the environment, anthropocentric approaches (and unreflected humanisms) have simply become difficult to sustain analytically. The posthuman and various posthumanisms appear thus on the methodological horizon as a promising monster. Posthumanities is here the proliferation of such performativities. Indeed a hydra with many heads; this is a promising monster already in action within the critical and creative humanities eg in the shape of environmental humanities, human-animal studies (HAS), medical humanities, or science and literature studies (SLS). But what are the affordances, risks and limitations involved in such posthumanist exercises of interdisciplinarity? It is from such questions, with analytical concepts and coordinates from aforementioned interdisciplinary approaches, and with examples from popular eco-culture, the science laboratory, the technoscience of genetics and Alzheimer’s Disease, that this lecture aims to map out a corner of the emerging analytical toolbox of a feminist form of the posthumanities.”

19 Mar, 10-12, Aktersalongen (Kranen room E203): Luca Simeone – 50% seminar (opponent: Joachim Halse)
Luca Simeone, PhD candidate in Interaction Design, will present his dissertation work in dialogue with opponent Joachim Halse (Assistant Professor, The Danish Design School). The current title of Luca’s work is An ethnographic analysis of the organizational approaches of three academic labs and how they use design to foster collaboration within and beyond academia. If you want to would like to read some or all the papers before the seminar, please email Luca directly (me@luca.simeone.name)

Seminar abstract: “This 50% dissertation presents a compilation of 4 papers that investigate three academic labs – MEDEA at Malmö University, MIT SENSEable City Lab and metaLAB (at) Harvard – that use design to foster collaboration with multiple stakeholders (industry, government, NGOs, citizens, etc.). More specifically – using concepts such as ‘multi-sited’ from anthropology, ‘boundary organization’ from organizational studies and ‘strategic ambiguity’ from organizational communication – this study adopts different interpretive perspectives to describe the organizational approaches of the three labs and how they use design as way to set up and sustain collaborative processes.”

21 Mar, 15-18, Aktersalongen (Kranen room E203): Peyman Vahabzadeh & Gregor Noll – THIN(G)KING Heidegger BEYOND PHILOSOPHY
Martin Heidegger is generally considered to be one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. However, his relationship to the discipline of philosophy is fraught. This fraying can be traced through two of his most provocative concepts: the idea that THINKING as an activity is concealed in the present age and that THINGS are made to retreat in the face of mere stuff. Bringing THINGS and THINKING back from their forced exile is one way of working on Heidegger’s legacy.

In the spirit of THINGS and THINKING, Peyman Vahabzadeh, professor of sociology at the University of Victoria, Canada will talk about how Heidegger’s “thinking” might become productive of a “sociology of possibilities” and Gregor Noll, professor and chair of International Law at the Faculty of Law, Lund University, Sweden will talk about how Heidegger might help us understand the current development of Neurotechnological weaponry. Opening remarks by Berndt Clavier.

Peyman Vahabzadeh, “Ontology, or in other words, sociology of facticity”
Abstract: This paper engages with the sociological tradition to argue the relationship between the discipline and modernity as an age that is running its course to a possible epochal destitution. As philosophy and sociology increasingly lose their sway to found and maintain unshakable grounds for thinking and acting, and thus for shared and collective human and nonhuman life, the task of a thinking attuned to our age of irreducible diversity becomes increasingly sociological. The paper makes some preliminary observations regarding the way in which things in their myriad appearances call thinking to the fore. Sociology of facticity is therefore always already sociology of possibilities.

Gregor Noll, “Neurotechnological weaponry and Heideggerean technicity”
Abstract: As drones fly more hours, and carry more sensors, advanced militaries experience an overload of information that they cannot tackle by an increase in personell. Neurotechnology seems to offer a way out by drawing on unconscious human recognition and the power of algorithms so as to faster identify targets. Neurotechnological targeting systems are merely at the experimental stage. I think, however, that it is urgent to reflect on the question whether such systems can be used in compliance with existing laws or war. This brings me to reflections on the reductive moves that they presuppose in the ontological domain. Heidegger’s texts on tools, technology and language proved to be useful to answer why a loss of cognitive unity and language might undermine the preconditions for applying the laws of war.

28 Mar, 13-16, Ubåtshallen auditorium: Mads Høbye – dissertation defence (opponent: Professor Bill Gaver, Goldsmith’s, London)
Mads Høbye, PhD candidate in Interaction Design, will defend his dissertation, Designing for Homo Explorens: Open social play in performative frames, in dialogue with Bill Gaver, Professor of Design at Goldsmith’s, University of London.

9 Apr, 10-12, Aktersalongen (Kranen room E203): Erliza Lopez Pedersen – new ComDev PhD introduction
Erliza, new PhD candidate in Communication for Development, will introduce her research around transnationalism, cultural citizenship and the media, with a focus on the Filipino diaspora in the five Nordic countries and Spain.

23 Apr, 10-12, Aktersalongen (Kranen room E203): Tobias Denskus – Performing international development – non-places, empty spaces & tired faces
Tobias Denskus, Senior Lecturer in Communication for Development, will present on his latest research. Seminar abstract: “While undergoing visible changes at the surface – from celebrity humanitarianism to micro loans or voluntourism – international development, or more precisely: the growing professional aid industry, is also a space for traditional rituals, performances and illusions about social change. Based on organisational ethnographic fieldwork in bureaucratic aid organisations, at global conferences and localised workshops this talk will try to link old anthropological metaphors to the emerging ritual economy around ‘helping the poor’. The guiding question for the seminar will be: ‘What is development’s interpretation of reflexive capitalism in the 21st century?’”

7 May, 10-12, Aktersalongen (Kranen room E203): Susan Jackson – Militarization 2.0: Methodology on militarized corporations and their (gendered) social media presence
Susan Jackson is a senior lecturer in international relations at the Department of Global Political Studies. She is working on the four year research project, “Militarization 2.0: Militarization’s social media footprint through a gendered lens” and will discuss a working paper on the topic, whose abstract is as follows:

“With an estimated two billion Internet users worldwide, new media in the form of Web 2.0 applications and their user-generated content (UGC) increasingly rival traditional media as a means of gathering information. Mainstream International Relations (IR) research is only just beginning to explore the implications of this growing phenomenon, yet social media is already influencing the functioning of the national security state in both domestic and international relations and in terms of state-society relations. Given the integral part the military plays in definitions of national security and the importance of national security to mainstream IR, research that addresses the intersection between social media and militarization is both timely and vital. This paper is the first step in developing a methodology for a larger project that maps and analyzes the online activities of militarized corporations (arms producers, private military and security companies and producers of ‘military entertainment’ games) and the resulting social effects. In particular, a key aspect of our approach is understanding the role that gender (in terms of representation of both masculinities and femininities) plays in both militarization and social media, and in their intersection.”

14 May, 10-12: Henrik Frisk – Artistic and creative collaborations – dismantling the creative genius
Henrik Frisk is a lecturer and research at Musikhögskola Malmö. Seminar abstract: “Much of my work is based on collaboration and interaction, and in this talk I will discuss a couple of different projects and how their collaborative aspects were carried out. A point of departure is that interaction of several forces will only properly function if neither of the collaborators is claiming authority.”

21 May, 10-12, Aktersalongen (Kranen room E203): Åsa Harvard Maare – Designing for peer learning (discussant: Maria Hellström Reimer)
Åsa Harvard Maare, lecturer in arts and communication, will speak on designing for peer learning. Abstract:

”…in schools themselves, the education that children give each other freely by imitating each other […] brings them much that is more important than that which they receive and submit to by force” (Tarde 1895, cited in Vargas, Latour et al, 2008)

The aim of my PhD project is to study learning processes in children’s peer groups from a design perspective: how can educational designers take advantage of the dynamics in children’s interactions with peers as a resource for designing games or learning activities. My study is based on video recordings of children age 7-9 playing mathematical card games, and the setting is afterschool care in a Swedish school.

For the seminar, I will send out draft versions of two chapters of my dissertation, Design and Method. The design chapter discusses card games in relation to learning mathematics, and details the prototypes and games used in my project and how they have informed the research.

The methods chapter deals with video as a research material, and how visual communication can be approached using an ethnomethodological perspective how do visual artifacts acquire meaning through the activities they are part of? I will also discuss tools and methodologies for analyzing video data captured “in the wild”, and present how I have done my analysis, building on models and tools from psycholinguistics and design-based research in the learning sciences.

4 Jun, 10-12, Aktersalongen (Kranen room E203): Zeenath Hasan – Mediating Malnutrition
Zeenath Hasan will discuss a book proposal (co-authered with Ramnath Bhat) situated within the rubric of Participatory Approaches to Researching Social Change: A Methodological Appraisal. The chapter, Mediating Malnutrition, reflects on the set of interventions conducted by a citizen-based initiative organised by the authors in the matter of malnutrition in two slums of Bangalore. In the chapter, the authors contend that malnutrition in India is skewed in a discursive and mediated reality, where the scope of state supported, development oriented and media interventions are instrumental acts robbing the subject of its agency while treating the malnourished as objects to be intervened with. In their reflections on the organized interventions, the authors intention is to call attention to the pragmatic possibilities of participatory action approaches in citizen based intervention. The authors maintain that in as much as previous studies on the malnutrition landscape in India call attention to malnutrition as a societal and economic scourge to be gotten rid of, the studies also digress from portraying subject positions of the malnourished. The authors provide a picture of media sensationalisation that does serve to call attention to the matter of malnutrition, but again end up treating the malnourished as an abject object. As a way to hark in the subject positions at play by both the affected and the intervenor, the text in the chapter employes the grammatical device of shifting position between first person to second person. The authors’ effort is to highlight the pragmatic, quotidian, cross-disciplinary and collaborative aspects of citizen-based interventions with reference to modes of intervention as practiced in participatory action research. The chapter ends with a note from the first position by the elusive character in the play of malnutrition, the food. By highlighting food as actor in malnutrition, the effort is not to anthropomorphise but to offer a portrayal of the contingent, inter-connected yet incommensurable relationships between the actors in the malnutrition landscape

18 Jun: To be confirmed

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