Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam University and Site Gallery, Sheffield
14.00… JASPAR JOSEPH-LESTER: INTRODUCTION
Malcolm Miles: No Violence for Posters: Language, Evolution, and LiberationPRIVATE
An attempt to introduce a 'Rotterdam code' in January 2006 that included a requirement to speak Dutch in public spaces raises several issues: the relation between language and national identity in a period of globalisation; the juxtaposition of language requirements in some places and the role of languages in struggles for national liberation in others; and the evolution of languages as coded yet self-reflexive, non-teleological cultural systems.
In a society in which the visual is privileged over the aural it is interesting to reconsider the role of aural language, as spoken and heard in public streets, in the maintenance of dominant structures and their deconstruction by resistant tendencies. The paper cites contrasting cases of linguistic assertion, and moves to discussion of the development of language as a complex self-reflexive process comparable to biological adaptation (drawing on Elizabeth Grosz' reading of Darwin). This is linked to Henri Lefebvre's theory of moments of liberation within the routines of everyday life, and in turn to the possibility to intervene in the coding of reality. The paper's point of departure is a poster seen by the writer in Amsterdam in 2004 stating ‘No violence for posters’ (in English).
Malcolm Miles is Reader in Cultural Theory at the University of Plymouth, UK, where he convenes the Critical Spaces Research Group in the Faculty of Arts, and is an external doctoral research supervisor at the University of the Arts, Helsinki, and at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design; he is author of Urban Avant-Gardes (2004) and Art Space & the City (1997), co-author of Consuming Cities (2004, with Steven Miles), and co-editor of The City Cultures Reader (2nd edition 2003, with Tim Hall and Iain Borden). He is currently researching utopian and alternative settlements for a forthcoming book, and continues to work in a field triangulated by contemporary art, critical theory, and aspects of the social sciences.
Amanda Beech: Culture and the Real World: The Folly of Critique
The notion that our everyday experiences are neutral, unstaged, obvious, familiar and therefore real is a construction. Culture says this more than anything else. In other words, it is culture that tends to approach such things as ‘truth’ as being man made, and as such it decentralises concepts of ‘world’ - such as an intrinsic human quality that is shared by all, an agreement about goodness or evil, or what it is to be just. However, it is also clear that the desire to find grounds, or reliable structures in an unstable post-modern world, remains an issue in our lives. Whether conservative or liberal these attempts to find ground for an ethics produces the same problem, making them difficult to tell apart. This is because in order to critique power, they claim the hegemonic space of truth as their sole property, a world beyond images that paradoxically produces the type of universals - dead metaphors – that they seek to dismantle.
Taking this into account, I examine the relationship between politics and aesthetics in theories that seek to define universal ethical grounds and in a culture that often destabilises it. Looking to Richard Rorty’s Neo-pragmatic Nietzschean/Darwinian inspired conception of the cultural field as political possibility, as well as the realist depiction of everyday life in contemporary TV sit-coms, I claim that the critical faculty of authors in culture is based not in our distance from, or over, language (culture is not the medium between the subject and the polis) but rather our contingency with language, that we make it, receive it and change it.
Amanda Beech’s produces art works, writing and collaborative curatorial projects in the UK and internationally. Through these various strands, she explores the relationship between notions of freedom that are central to democracy and anaesthetics of violence. Her art works and writing centre on narratives of crime and justice in Western contemporary film and literature. Exhibitions include The Patriot, The Economist, London, 2003; Gewalt, Loushy Art and Editions, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2003; ‘Death of Romance’, 2004, Soho, London, ‘Episode’, temporarycontemporary, London, Leeds Met Gallery, Leeds. and South Florida Arts Centre, Miami, 2005-6; and ‘Little Private Governments’, University Gallery, University of Essex, 2006. Publications include Out For Justice, exhibition catalogue, Strategies Against Marketecture, temporarycontemporary, 2004, and ‘On Violent Ground’, Inventory issue 14, 2005. Beech lectures in Postgraduate Critical Studies at Wimbledon School of Art and Goldsmiths College.
Chris Oakley: Hearing is being Heard
It is a cliché, a truth worn out through repetition, that the (daily?) psychoanalytic encounter is 'ineffable' (Wilfred Bion). In other words is 'beyond representation'. Whatever else is going on in such situations a space for listening is being installed. Psychoanalysis operates as an influencing machine, perhaps not so much concerned with a production of meaning but rather with seduction, those transformations that may occur through trance states. Contemporary art is frequently in difficulties when it comes to dealing directly either with the emotions or the affections, often preferring to allude to them only obliquely, so one might be led to think that a collision between the two discrete genres of psychoanalysis and art would not necessarily be especially profitable with regard to how it might be possible to mark our having been affected by others. By tracing out the story of one of the more remarkable encounters from over 30 years of working in psychoanalysis I seek to show how wrong such presuppositions would be. How with particular sensitivity and intelligence, plus that crucial ingredient of the random (so everyday), the artist Breda Beban was able to render that which we might take to be invisible, irrepresentable, unspecularisable, namely listening...the sine qua non of the 'talking cure'...as spectacular.
Chris Oakley is a member of The Site for Contemporary Psychoanalysis and is a psychoanalyst in private practice in London. He teaches and writes about psychoanalysis extensively. He has contributed to various books including Thresholds between Psychoanalysis and Philosophy (London 1989), Beyond the French Freud: Freud, Lacan, and beyond, (London 1996), and Where Id Was: Challenging Normalisation in Psychoanalysis (London 2002). He is the editor of What is a Group? (London 1999) and author of the forthcoming Terrace Tourettes for the Sane Man: a psychoanalytic exploration of football delirium (London 2006). He has spoken on contemporary art and psychoanalysis at the ICA and the Hayward Gallery, among other venues.