1:30 p.m., Saturday, April 14, room 407
Faculty respondent: Eugene Thacker (bio)
Independent Bookstores in New York City: Past & PresentPresenter: Farah Momin (The New School)
New York City has an incredibly long and rich history of book publishing as well as bookselling, dating back to the 19th Century. Created using Parsons’ Urban Research Tool, this project (consists of an interactive map of the locations of a small sample of independent bookstores that have existed in New York City from the late 1890s to the present. The starting point on the timeline is the formation of Book Row, where a high concentration of independent booksellers once occupied a small area on Fourth Avenue from Astor Place to Union Square. In choosing from these dozens of stores to feature - not to mention the dozens more that existed in other parts of the city – the ones chosen stood out for a number of factors: their longevity, cultural significance, and the compelling stories of the people who ran them or frequented them. By weaving together a combination of archival media, secondary research, and primary research, this project makes four main arguments: how the legacy of being a family business can help bookstores survive; how the high cost of rising New York City rents can force stores to close; how independent bookstores function as community or event spaces; and how bookstores serve as a safe haven for writers, artists, and cultural icons.
The History of Artists and Art Production of SoHoPresenter: Danielle Fichera (The New School)
The artists who entered Soho in the mid-1960s established a cultural hothouse. Soho became an educational arena where people would learn and inadvertently teach one another all the time. Soho operated in "a de facto anarchist community". There was no hierarchy, no tests, and no degrees, but there was the unity found in universities. No one ever planned on it becoming an artist enclave. “Although the creation of a single work of art maybe an individual effort, artists have often clustered together to share ideas, offer mutual support and provide a sympathetic audience (James R. Hudson, The Anticipated City, 1987)”, perhaps no where is this (collaboration) more evident then in Soho. What effect did the artists living in SoHo have on one another? Was there a cohesive body of work produced by the artists living in SoHo during the 1960s? And, what effect did artists living in SoHo have on the city of New York? Artists living in SoHo during the late 1950s and 1960s transformed New York's lower downtown into a cultural arena, which enabled the transformation from a wasteland to a culturally rich community.
Interspaces In Art History, Film and Installation Art: How To Detect The In-Between?Presenter: Susanne Wagner (Bauhaus University Weimar)
The paper focuses on the function and the productivity of the interspace between visual elements in the process of montage, especially in selected examples from art history, film and installation art. The interspace marks a rupture, discontinuity and a seemingly blank space. Scientists like Aby Warburg or filmmakers and artists like Chris Marker and Harun Farocki deal with the relationship between images and (historical, reminded, or political) knowledge, by exploring discontinuous and fragmantary forms of montage. Here, the arrangement an re-arrangement of images is not only regarded as an illustration for knowledge, but as tool for generating knowledge. (As you can also find it at Dziga Vertovs or Godards work) The basis of the papers argumentation is the “Bilderatlas Mnemosyne”, created by the art historian Aby Warburg in the 1920s. Referring to Michel Foucault and Georges Didi-Huberman, the paper tries to figure out how the structure of the atlas-tables with its huge black interspaces between the single images contribute to break up a contiuous understanding of art history, that is based on chronological epochs. As Michel Foucault writes in his short text “Nietzsche, The Genealogy, The History”:“History will undermine its own foundations and destroy the pretended continuity. Because knowledge is not understanding, but splitting off.” One hypothesis of the paper is, that especially black interspaces create a dynamic environment for the images, comparable to a “habitat”, that opens new ways of mobilizing, confronting, relating, or separating images. Then the interspace opens up possibilities to grasp correlations and perspectives, that haven't been obvious so far.
Mapping the Mechanism of Graffiti RemovalPresenter: Christo de Klerk (The New School)
Graffiti in New York City plays the part in a well defined administrative feedback loop. After the street art is illegally applied to an urban surface, city administrators begin the process of recording, tracking, and removing it. This process supports efficient administration and maintains a record of measurable results for improving a quality of life issue, all in the fashion of today’s "Smart City".
This multi-modal project attempts to evaluate the production of graffiti removal through an information system supported Situationist practice of dérive and détournement. Through data warehousing, mining, and mapping of the City's graffiti removal data set, we can cook up a tactic to evaluate graffiti removal as a mode of urban management and communication.
The project considers graffiti removal through the lens of Friedrich Kittler’s computer metaphor for the city. Graffiti and its removal is a write-rewrite process with a textuality beyond the urban surface. Rather than focus on the cultural history of graffiti – its practitioners and their methods – we will foreground this write-rewrite information system. A system that operates on a unit of cultural expression that is tagged to a physical location, yet also extended to exist in a mappable, virtual location. The unique opportunity here is to evaluate this system with current data on graffiti. An opportunity to do a kind of digital video recorder like capture of the city in process: to record, rewind, and replay a write-rewrite drama between the city and its people.