An online platform featuring a series of eight seminars organised by the University College London (UCL) explores contemporary emigration and its literary and artistic representations. Launching the series is Exhausted Geographies, a lecture on borders and freedom in contemporary art, with a commentary from Polish artist Joanna Rajkowska
The seminars are open to the public and free of charge, and engage writers, artists, journalists, and scholars from Poland and the U.K. in dialogue on displacement and the crossing of diverse borders. The series has been created to initiate and stimulate transnational, transcultural and transdisciplinary dialogues on emigration and migration.
Emigration has become a significant trait in contemporary Europe since the post-communist transformations after 1989 in Eastern and Central Europe and the enlargement of the EU in 2004. It is an increasingly important factor in social conflict affecting various parts of the continent, and has brought a new political rhetoric and social turmoil as well as new cultural, literary and artistic production. In the UCL seminar series, these problems will be scrutinized in presentations and discussions on particular literary and cultural events within Polish culture.
The project will cover the following problems within émigré cultural production:
• Notion of generations: Is this new emigration different in terms of generational experiences?
• Gender: Is gender a chief factor the new art and literature in the emigration context?
• Social background (class): Who is Polish émigré culture directed to and produced by?
• Excluded communities / transgression: How are 'aliens' processed by the law and what is their experience in a foreign country?
The eight seminars planned for 2013 are hosted by UCL SSEES and generously supported by the Polish Cultural Institute in London and the UCL European Institute.
The seminars take place from March through June.
The Exhausted Geographies lecture by Irit Rogoff and talk with Joanna Rajkowska takes place on the 13th of March 2013, at 5 pm. A note on the event introduces the parallels between negative differentiation in cartography and the structure of language, and sets up Derrida’s thought as a point of departure for the lecture. While arguing that geography is knowledge of who we are, and the perpetual link between heritage and geography, the proposed concept of 'exhausted geographies' is "trying to work against the grain of both the boundaries of the possible and of location as the site of identity and knowledge."
Irit Rogoff is a writer, curator and organizer working at the intersection of contemporary art, critical theory, and emergent political manifestations. She is Professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, London University, where she heads the PhD in Curatorial/Knowledge program and the MA in Global Arts program. Rogoff has written extensively on geography, globalization and contemporary participatory practices in the expanded field of art. She lives and works in London.
Joanna Rajkowska (born 1968 in Bydgoszcz, Poland) is a visual artist. She is the author of public projects, objects, films, installations and ephemeral actions commissioned by numerous institutions in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Poland and France. She is currently developing a public project within the framework of the Made in Peterborough commission programme. Rajkowska is one of the boldest artistic voices in Poland today. She works with and within politically, historically and socially charged contexts in order to shift the aesthetic, ideological and cultural biases and assumptions about the places we inhabit, and, as a consequence, the assumptions we make about each other. Rajkowska's strategies, based on the human body, its position in the public space and positioning towards other human bodies, redefine the definitions of the political, the community and relations inside them. Her book Where the Beast Is Buried will be published in 2013 by Zero Books.
The next event in the series takes place on the 20th of March 2013. "New Europeans?" is a debate on contemporary Europeans, new ideas and new borders, with Grażyna Plebanek and A.M. Bakalar. The debate is hosted by Urszula Chowaniec, with discussion and commentary by Tim Beasley-Murray and Agata Pyzik.
Full list of paritcipants in the eMigrating Landscapes series:
All of the events in the eMigrating Landscapes series are free, but registration is essential. For registration and more information on the series, see: www.emigratinglandscapes.eventbrite.com