What Time Is It?

Technologies of Life in the Contemporary

14th, 15th, 16th December 2017
Sarai-CSDS, Delhi and Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi

Conference Convenors: Ravi Sundaram, Ravi Vasudevan (Sarai-CSDS), and Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Jeebesh Bagchi, and Shuddhabrata Sengupta)

The conference brings together academics and artists, archivists and architects, sound artists and scholars, teachers and practitioners to experiment with ideas, through a series of hybrid formats, interlacing lectures, performances, screenings, pavilion, sound works, online networks, publishing, and public debate.

The Backdrop

Have we finally entered the “End of the End of History”? (E-flux, Journal #57, Sept 2014). Recent media technological transformations have thrown into confusion many existing political and social theories; art, media philosophy, politics, biology; in fact all ideas of life presented in the last century. Are these the jumbled signs of ‘our’ contemporaneity? The idea of the contemporary has been around for a few decades, seen variously as a period, a critical gesture, and a disciplinary frame for literature and art. We believe the time is right to revisit the idea of the contemporary from a different lens, outside the closeted frameworks of a Euro-American debate where contemporaneity appears as an unstable successor to modernity and postmodernity.

In the past decade we have seen the worldwide spread of media and information networks. Since value is now gained from experience, new corporations and political parties deploy strategies of agglomeration using digital media technologies. Growing computational grids inaugurate storage and surveillance technologies that are affecting fields like the environment, finance and law. Machine time disturbs historical continuity and sequence. Genetic engineering and life storage technologies disrupt the idea of the biological life span; media memory and recording technologies have already transformed the lives of mobile phone users in the world. Media-enabled populations in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now part of a new infrastructure of the senses. These infrastructures have produced a new generation of art and media practitioners. Like everywhere, such transformations have set in motion a sense of indetermination and flux, providing opportunities, shadow zones and critical discourses.

This conference seeks to explore experience from the vantage point of these media-informational transformations. We will be debating art practice, cultural theory, media aesthetics, social theory, forensics, urbanism, and the landscape of the political. Time horizons and philosophies are a major concern of the conference, as we seek to displace the idea of the contemporary as (just) a ‘present’ without limits.

The conference is part of the Leverhulme International Network of Contemporary Studies (LINCS).

The Landscapes of the Digital, Video and Post-Cinema, The Unstable Archive, Technics and Forensics, Spectres of the Political, Money, Media, Space, Cinema as a Migratory Form.

Aarti Sethi (Providence), Ashish Rajadhyaksha (Bangalore), Berno Odo Polzer, (Berlin), Keller Easterling (Yale), Lantian Xie (Dubai), Lara Khaldi (Jerusalem), Liu Tian (Hangzhou), Lorenzo Pezzani (London), May Adadol Ingawanij (London), Michelle Wong (Hong Kong), Mochu (Chennai), Mohammad Salemy (Berlin), Moinak Biswas (Kolkata), Orit Halpern (Montreal), Pallavi Paul (Delhi), Prasad Shetty (Mumbai), Prathama Banerjee (Delhi), Ravi Vasudevan (Delhi), Sabih Ahmed (Delhi), Santhosh Sadanandan (Delhi), Susan Schuppli (London), Venkat Srinivasan (Bangalore)

Public Lecture: “Medium Design” by Keller Easterling, Architect and Professor, Yale University

Reading Performances:  Lantian Xie and Raqs Media Collective.

Pavilion: Five Gardens, by architect Samir Raut, Mumbai, proposed by School of Environment and Architecture, Mumbai

Special Screening: Liquid Traces: The Left-to-Die Boat Case (2014) (Directors: Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani)

Screening Room featuring works by participating artists and academics.

14th December (11AM to 7PM) @ CSDS, 29 Rajpur Road, Delhi 110054
15th December (10 AM to 8 PM) @ Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi
16th December (10 AM to 9 PM) @ Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, New Delhi

Programme schedule and other information coming soon.

For queries, write to us at contemporaryconference2017@gmail.com

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