Monday, August 28, 2006

Pages & Bidoun

Pages began its activities in February 2004 by publishing a bilingual - Farsi/English - periodical pursuing an exchange between Iranian and international authors and artists with critical views on art, culture, urbanism and social issues.

Soon after publishing the second issue of the magazine, Pages began to develop collaborative projects with practitioners in different cultural fields. Its activities transcended the magazine format into other layouts, these may be installation works, video essays, workshops and presentations. As supplements to the magazine, the projects were often accompanied by publications such as a newspaper, posters, booklets, etc.

Pages is interested in those cultural productions that communicate the specific conditions and circumstances in which they are produced, those socio-political conditions against which an artistic production is inevitably read as a discourse. In particular through a series of projects Pages tries to examine the possibilities of interaction and juxtaposition of various local discourses and conditions. As such Pages constantly searches for ways to surpass predefined and geographically bound discourses of subjectivity and locality.

Being a bilingual magazine already forces Pages into constant rethinking of its position within specific social and political contexts. In effect this seems to reassert a certain unpredictability into the pages of the magazine. Pages tries to constantly point to those intricacies and dissonances within local currents that give way to alternative chains of meanings, relations and coincidences.

Current Issue: On the Verge of Vertigo / Issue 05 / August 2006

BIDOUN was created as a platform for ideas and an open forum for exchange, dialogue and opinions about arts and culture from the Middle East. BIDOUN's primary goal is to bring together cultural expressions from a vast and nuanced region. BIDOUN also addresses some of the widespread misconceptions about the region and its Diaspora by inciting readers to take a fresh look at the Middle East and its peoples, too often presented as one-dimensional or stagnant.

BIDOUN means 'without' in both Arabic and Farsi. In our contemporary context, it connotes the statelessness in which many of us find ourselves-sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not.

BIDOUN is not limited by political boundaries drawn onto maps. Its very essence is the fluidity of geographies and a challenge to the myth of singular and absolute representation. Yet we are cautious with our role as culture broker. While we acknowledge the reductionist tendencies of orientalism, BIDOUN also resists obsessing over cultural difference.

This is not about being authoritative. Rather, BIDOUN is an experiment: a collection of voices whose sum total aims to engage.

Current Issue: TOURISM / Issue 07 / Spring 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006

Practice, Power, Politics, and Performance

"The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the "state of emergency" in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with that insight."

Walter Benjamin

"Theses on the Philosophy of History"
Walter Benjamin: Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt (1968)

Practice, Power, Politics, and Performance: A Symposium in honor of Allan Pred

UC Berkeley / Department of Geography
Friday, April 21, 2006

Organized and chaired by Gillian Hart

QuickTime Videos of the Presentations

Gillian Hart, UC Berkeley
Michael Watts, UC Berkeley
Richard Walker, UC Berkeley
Richard Peet, Clark University
Neil Smith, CUNY
Matthew Sparke, U of Washington
Shiloh Krupar, UC Berkeley
Derek Gregory, U of British Columbia
Katharyne Mitchell, U of Washington
Cindi Katz, CUNY
Trevor Paglen, UC Berkeley
Gunnar Olsson, Uppsala University
Allan Pred, UC Berkeley

Allan Pred / UC Berkeley / Department of Geography

Interests: Critical human geography, historical geography of the present, the cultural reworking of "globalization," Sweden, Europe and the U.S.

I am totally unconcerned with the disciplinary limits of geography, but fully concerned with geography as an ontological condition, as an inescapable existential reality. Everybody has a body, nobody can escape from their body, and consequently all human activity-- every form of individual and collective practice-- is a situated practice and thereby geographical. I regard the invisible geographies of power relations and meaning/discourse as every bit as "real" as the visible geographies of the built landscape and actual human activity. Whether exploring the historical geography of past and present urban modernities, or the production of gendered and "racial" difference, I am always preoccupied with the complex and multi-scaled processes through which visible and invisible geographies emerge out of one another.

Although my work of recent years may be characterized as "cultural," I insist there is no way in which the cultural may be entirely divorced either from the social and the political, or from the situated practices of everyday life and the workings of capitalism.

Among my principal influences are Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Raymond Williams and the cultural Marxists who have followed in his wake, and feminist theory.

I take writing and questions of representation very seriously, believing that there should be some congruence between my textual strategy and the subject matter I am dealing with, between the way in which I write and what I am writing about. I look forward to the day when the watchdogs of academic style lose their teeth and it will not be considered out of line to submit Ph.D. dissertations in CD-Rom format, where text, sound and image are fused with one another.

My most recent seminars have gone under the following rubrics: Space, Place and Identity; Walter Benjamin, the City and Urban Modernity; Interrogating and Representing the Present Moment and its Modern Antecedents; Urban Modernities—Culture(s), Space(s), Everyday Life.


Violent Geographies (Forthcoming)

The Past Is Not Dead: Facts, Fictions, and Enduring Racial Stereotypes (2004)

Even in Sweden: Racisms, Racialized Spaces, and the Popular Geographical Imagination (2000)

Place, Practice and Structure: Social and Spatial Transformation in Southern Sweden, 1750-1850 (1986)


UC Berkeley / Geography Commencement 2006
Keynote Address: "What do YOU know?: The Clock is Ticking, The Train is Rolling On"
Allan Pred / May 13, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dictionary of War

"At least, when we create concepts, we are doing something"

Frankfurt Edition: June 2-3, 2006
Munich Edition: July 22-23, 2006
Graz Edition: October 13-14, 2006
Berlin edition: January 2007

DICTIONARY OF WAR is a collaborative platform for creating 100 concepts on the issue of war, to be invented, arranged and presented by scientists, artists, theorists and activists at four public, two-day events in Frankfurt, Munich, Graz and Berlin. The aim is to create key concepts that either play a significant role in current discussions of war, have so far been neglected, or have yet to be created.

DICTIONARY OF WAR is about polemics in various respects: It seeks confrontation with a reality that is characterised by the concealment of power relations the more that one talks about war and peace. But it is also about finding out to what extent war may function as an “analyzer of power relations” that constitutes current changes.

Changes that have been producing ever new wordings: The new war, post-modern war, global war, immanent war - all sorts of labels that indicate that the juridical model of sovereignty would seem to have had its day: war as an armed confrontation between sovereign nation states is a thing of the past.

While this still refers to conflict between different interest groups that are defined by the degree of their intensity and extension, unlike in the past war serves to regulate rather than destroy or renew existing power relations.

War is a “constitutive form of a new order” that no longer knows an inside or outside, that not only destroys but also produces life. In this new world order there is no difference between war and non-war: war is perpetual and everywhere.

So like so many things, war too seems to be subject to a deregulation process that radically challenges old certainties. DICTIONARY OF WAR sets out to oppose war and, at the same time, calls for "desertion" from a war of words in which facts are created with such force in their communication and propaganda that they can no longer be challenged.

The aim of DICTIONARY OF WAR is to make the creation or revaluation of concepts transparent into more or less open processes in which we can and need to intervene; at the same time, the aim is to develop models that redefine the creation of concepts on the basis not of interdisciplinary but rather undisciplined, not co-operative but rather collaborative processes.

“At least, when we create concepts, we are doing something.” The idea of DICTIONARY OF WAR, then, begins by referring to the theory of creating concepts proposed by Deleuze and Guattari: Concepts must be invented, created, produced; concepts refer to problems without which they would be meaningless. It is not about definitions, anecdotes, original opinions or entertainment, but rather about developing the tools with which to attain new ideas.

The concepts are created by conceptual personae, who are not identical to the author, philosopher, artist self, but rather testify to a third person beneath or beside. According to Deleuze and Guattari, “we do not do something by saying it but produce movement by thinking it, through the intermediary of a conceptual persona”.

DICTIONARY OF WAR is not a book in the proper sense. It is not about texts, deadlines or editing but about performativity. The concepts are introduced in alphabetical order by their conceptual personae in twenty-minute presentations.

There are no restrictions with regard to format. DICTIONARY OF WAR will be composed of lectures, choreographies, films, slide shows, readings or whatever format authors, actors, organisers and conceptual personae choose to use.

Finally, DICTIONARY OF WAR may well be a kind of war machine itself: the concepts are not intended to be deployed as means of control that regulate meanings, but which rather activate developments and processes and evoke events. “To draw speech to oneself and bring something incomprehensible into the world.” (Kleist)

DICTIONARY OF WAR consists of a stringent concept on three levels:

1. Presentation

Every concept will be presented in twenty minutes, the conceptual personae may use this period as they wish. At least twenty-five concepts will be created per event in this way. The formulation and selection of the respective concept, the determination of its content, and the decision with regard to the format and mode of the lecture is incumbent on the conceptual persona invited. The concepts will be presented in alphabetical order over two days, each day session lasting approximately seven-hours. The stage set is adapted to the respective premises but will be founded on a concept, as yet to be devised, that will be based on a few recurrent elements that the conceptual persona may arrange in the period available. The respective concepts and conceptual personae will be announced by an off-stage speaker. The speakers will be accompanied onto the stage by a host, who will be available throughout for support, e.g. with technical matters.

2. Documentation

All created concepts will be documented. Two video cameras and a video mixer will be available for this throughout the events. The aim of the documentation is to make the lectures available on the Internet, and as such accountable and reproducable beyond the actual event. The documentation is explicitly not about creating another independent artistic contribution. However, such contributions may of course be submitted as supplements or additional material. If possible, the conceptual personae are asked to provide their manuscript. The documentation may also feature additional material exceeding the twenty-minute time-frame. The video recordings of the presentations will be published under a creative commons licence on the Web shortly after the events. They will thus be available as material for ongoing editing, comment and discussion, although, of course, always referring back to the original contribution and its conceptual persona.

3. Publication

Following the four DICTIONARY OF WAR events, a book will be published by Merve-Verlag, Berlin, to present the 100 concepts, appropriately adapted by the author where necessary, in printed form.


Exergue #1
Exergue #2
Arms Race (Architectural)
Corridors of Subjection
Declaration of War
Join #beirut
Life Support
Moving Forest
National Anthem
NATO (as Architectural Critic)
Police War
Prisoner of War
Relatively Calm
Rhizomic Maneuver
Sound Weapon
Struggle for Ideas
Theatre of Operations
Theatres of Possession Operation Systems
Think Tank
Throne of Blood
United Nations
War Machine
World War

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Sundown Schoolhouse


Sundown Schoolhouse is a geodesic home based educational environment for gently radical design, literary, performing & visual arts. It is founded on the premise that as artists, designers, performers and writers, we should be powerful and active agents in society. We want to confront the truth of our time and place. We want a rich complex dialog that extends out to the world around us.

We may be irritants, activists, problem solvers, catalysts, poets, or simply witnesses. We want to look head-on as our natural and urban environments gradually deteriorate around us. We want to invert the power structure as design and the arts are co-opted as tools for marketing. We want an alternative to the model of the architect, artist, designer, performer or writer as the passive professional who waits to be told how, when and where their work may engage in a public dialog. We want to reclaim the promise of art as the ultimate form of human freedom and expression in a society where it has become either trivialized as entertainment, hijacked as pure commodity, under-valued or even feared.

To live in the 21st century city increasingly means a strange paradoxical life of being both virtually connected {by the web, mobile phones, email, TV, movies, magazines} and physically isolated {in the car, house, office or mall} despite living in close proximity. This lack of meaningful physical connectedness both with other people and with the natural environment prevents the urban inhabitant from understanding the complex interdependence and interconnectivity of people to each other and to their environment. The Schoolhouse will foster an approach to the arts that is outwardly focused, engaged with the people around us and responsive to the place that we are in.


The schoolhouse teachers will come from many backgrounds and disciplines. The core of the regular teachers will be a distinguished group of Los Angeles based artists, designers, educators, performers, scientists and thinkers. There will also be those exceptional people passing through town that we will invite to join us while in Los Angeles. They will spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days at the Schoolhouse. They will be invited to share what ever it is they feel curious, inspired or compelled by at the moment. They may conduct experiments, hold workshops, give lectures, lead discussions, do a reading, organize a performance, give assignments, lead a fieldtrip or use the time with the group in what ever way they think is most effective in relation to the mission of the Schoolhouse and the topic for that season. At times they will follow their curiosity, extending out of the comfort area of their expertise, becoming the visiting 'chief student'.

Autumn 2006 Schoolhouse teachers:

Mark Allen ~ Machine Project ~ {Pomona College faculty}

Lisa Anne Auerbach ~ Steal This Sweater ~ American Homebody ~ {artist - USC & Art Center faculty}

Deena Capparelli ~ Moisture ~

Amy Franceschini ~ Futurefarmers ~ Free Soil ~

Aaron Gach ~ Center for Tactical Magic ~ {artist}

Malik Gaines ~ My Barbarian ~ {artist/writer/performer/critic/curator - UCLA phd}

Fritz Haeg ~ Sundown Salon ~ Gardenlab ~

Marc Herbst ~ Journal For Aesthetics and Protest ~ {artist/activist}

Robby Herbst ~ Journal For Aesthetics and Protest ~ {artist/activist}

Maria Lepowsky {anthropologist}

Carol McDowell {movement artist}

Eileen Myles ~ {writer - UCSD faculty}

Yoshua Okon ~ La Panaderia ~ {artist - founder La Panederia - UCSD faculty}

Emily Roysdon ~ LTTR - Lesbians To The Rescue ~ {artist - co-founder LTTR}

Emily Scott ~ Los Angeles Urban Rangers ~ {educator - UCLA phd}

Hana van der Kolk {choreographer/movement teacher}

Margaret Wertheim ~ The Institute for Figuring ~

Flora Wiegmann ~ Champion Fine Art ~ {dancer/choreographer/curator}

Claude Willey ~ Moisture ~

Rosten Woo ~ CUP {Center For Urban Pedagogy} ~

Andrea Zittel ~ A to Z ~ High Desert Test Sites ~ {artist - USC faculty}


The annual schoolhouse schedule consists of of a fall and a spring session. We convene for a full 12 hour day, one day a week for 12 weeks each season. Each day of the Schoolhouse will begin early in the morning with some form of physical activity such as yoga or dance in the geodesic dome and conclude that evening with a happy hour or dinner. Each seasonal session will have a loose topic or theme. Teachers and visitors will be invited in part based on the direct relationship in their practice to this seasonal topic. On the Sunday of the final week of the season, a salon event will be produced, curated and staged by the students at the Schoolhouse to publicly present the fruits of the season.

Autumn 2006 Schedule ~ Title: tobeapart

This season the Schoolhouse will be in sessions on Tuesdays 8am - 8pm.

The topic/title for the first season will be tobeapart. At times we all need to be individuals acting alone. Being social creatures we also have a profound need to engage with others. What can we do as collectives, communities and groups that we can't do on our own? What can we do as individuals that we can't do as a group? How has our simultaneous need to be both an individual and part of something bigger been complicated and affected by contemporary society, urban sprawl, mass media, political movements...? How can the artist, writer, designer, performer become an active agent in society today as an individual? As a collective? More thoughts and questions coming....! All of the teachers for the Autumn 2006 season in some way deal with these issues in their practice.