[SYMPOSIUM]#31 Eagleton & Zizek Idea of Communism. Flyer by Neil Lamont.

[SYMPOSIUM] BOOK CLUB

Jared Diamond: Collapse. How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive

Friday, 8 March 2019, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Closest stations: Whitechapel / Aldgate East
Facilitated by Alter Us
Suggested donation £2, booking via Eventbrite

Ahu Tongariki. Tere Chad, 2016.
Ahu Tongariki. Tere Chad, 2016.

DOWNLOAD Jared Diamond (2011 ). Collapse / Chapter 2: Twilight at Easter Island. Penguin Books.

In this compelling book, Jared Diamond, professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, takes us on a journey to show us how past and contemporary civilisations have collapsed. This session will focus on Chapter 2, ‘Twilight at Easter’ which narrates the archaeological discoveries of Easter Island, the most isolated inhabited place in the world.

Easter Island is renowned for its ‘Moai’ (headstone statues), however both, the reason for their erection and the building methods are still somewhat a mystery to us. The legend tells that the Moai were created to conserve the ‘mana’, the energy from a wise chief, to bring fertility over the tribe.

Research has shown that slaves built the beautiful statues that now are a tourist attraction; amputated hands that were found under some of them speak of the human cost. There is evidence that the Moai altars were a source of competition between different tribes and that many sculptures were destroyed in moments of conflict and war. Not only human lives were sacrificed, but also all natural resources of the island fell victim to the ambitious constructions. One could argue that parallels can be found to the contemporary transnational competition for the biggest skyscraper.

Climate Change is one of the most pressing challenges of humankind today. According to the latest UNESCO report the international community has only 12 more years to act upon the ongoing changes, yet an unwarranted, paralysing optimism persists. How can we learn from Easter Island’s civilisation which caused their own tragic end? How must the person have felt who cut down the last tree of the Island?

In this session, we will discuss the history of Easter Island and its similarities to our contemporary society. It will be led by Tere Chad who has visited the Island twice and has collaborated with Cristián Arévalo Pakarati for her Jewellery Project ‘Fusión-Haka Piri’. Cristián is an Easter Islander archaeologist and designer, Co-Director of Easter Island Statue Project, who contributed with her research to Diamond’s chapter.

  • How can a society choose complete deforestation in order to construct sculptures?
  • Why did representation become more rational and minimal during times of crisis?
  • Which role played fertility and the representation of the vulva.
  • Why is iconography repeatedly binary?
  • What are our contemporary Moais (stone sculptures)?
  • How is the arts scene in Easter Island nowadays?
  • How can society be so fragmented on only 163,6km2?

Alter Us is an emergent London based multidisciplinary collective that attempts to question and offer solutions regarding our contemporary context. Their concerns relate to the challenges presented by the Anthropocene, sustainability, disconnection, individualism, Artificial Intelligence, inequalities, among others.

Suggested further reading

  • Easter Island Statue Project
  • Wondering God: A study in Nomadic Spirituality / Morris Berman
  • Deshumanización del Arte / José Ortega y Gasset
  • The Naked Ape / Desmond Morris
  • Easter Island / Jo Anne Van Tilburg
  • Touch / David Linden
  • Psychopolitics: Neoliberalism and New Technologies of Power / Byung – Chul Han

Monthly reading group for artists, researchers and anyone interested in the intersections between art practice and critical theory. Everyone is welcome to propose a text and facilitate the reading group. Please book your place and download the shared document. For more information and an archive of previous events please scroll down.

Free & open access

The reading group is free and open to everyone who wants to join as long as they commit to the reading. Please register and arrive early, doors will close when we reach maximum capacity. Don’t forget to download the shared document and bring a hard-copy to the book club. Please consider donating to help cover our expenses and keep us going. Alternatively, you can donate via this link.

Discussion & decision-making

Texts are selected by group consensus on the basis that they reflect on the relationship between practice and theory. This includes a broad variety of texts, from philosophy to politics and aesthetics to science fiction – there is no limitation.

Facilitating the book club

[SYMPOSIUM] is a supportive community of peers who discuss and unpack their research interests. All participants have the opportunity to facilitate the book club on a text of their choice. If you would like to propose a text, you can start preparing right now:

[1] Decide on a text that you want to discuss.

[2] Do some background research and write a short introduction to provide some context, from your own perspective. When was it written? Why was it written? Who wrote it? Was it a response to something else? Why are you interested in the text? How does it relate to, or inform, your practice or your research?

[3] Pace the reading. How long is the text? If it is short, can we discuss the entire text in a 2-hour book club? If the text is long you may need to divide it up between two or more sessions.

[4] Write down some questions that you would like to bring to the discussion. Suggest some further reading and an image or two, with captions.

[5] Download the infosheet and send us your proposal.


[SYMPOSIUM] ARCHIVE

#33 Claire Bishop: Artificial Hells
Friday, 8 February, 7pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Eva Ruschkowski

#32 Eagleton & Zizek: The Idea of Communism
Friday, 14 December 2018, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Neil Lamont

#31 Mark Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.3
Friday, 9 November 2018, 6:30pm – 9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Silvia Bombardini & Elliot C. Mason

#30 Debord: The Culmination of Separation
Friday, 12 October 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Penelope Kupfer & Darshana Vora

#29 Deutsch: Why are flowers beautiful?
Friday, 14 September 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by John Fortnum

#28 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.2
Saturday, 9 June 2018, 2:30pm – 5:30pm
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-15 June 2018

#27 Derrida: Signature Event Context
Friday, 11 May 2018, 18:30–21:00
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott & Sophia Kosmaoglou

#26 Derrida: Structure, Sign and Play
Friday, 13 April 2018, 6:30pm–9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#25 Fisher: Capitalist Realism Pt.1
Friday, 9 March 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Facilitated by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#24 Cohn: Representation and Critique
Friday, 9 February 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aris Nikolaidis

#23 Adam Curtis: HyperNormalisation
Friday, 12 January 2018, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by
Neil Lamont

#22 Debord: Negation and Consumption
Friday, 8 December 2017, 6:30pm-9pm
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Aristotelis Nikolaidis

#21 Adorno: Commitment
Friday, 10 November 2017
LARC, 62 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1ES
Facilitated by Nat Pimlott

#20 Foucault: Of Other Spaces
Sunday, 15 October 2017
UNISON/Yurt Café, Limehouse, London E14 8DS
Facilitated by Dasha Loyko

#19 Bishop: Pedagogical Projects
Monday, 24 July 2017
Guest Projects, 1 Andrews Road, London E8 4QL
Chaired by Renata Minoldo
Part of School of The Damned‘s Common Room

#18 Virno: The Dismeasure of Art
Friday, 9 June 2017
Grow Elephant, New Kent Rd, London SE17 1SL
Chaired by Rubén Salgado Perez

#17 Judd: Specific Objects
Friday, 21 April 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Richard Burger

#16 Deleuze & Guattari: Rhizome
Friday, 10 March 2017
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Katie Tysoe and Sophia Kosmaoglou

#15 Marx: The Fetishism of the Commodity & its Secret
Friday, 10 February 2017
Wimbledon Art Studios, London SW17 0BB
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#14 O’Sullivan: The Aesthetics of Affect
Friday, 13 January 2017
Louise House, Dartmouth Rd, London SE23 3HZ
Chaired by Katie Tysoe

#13 Foucault: The Four Similitudes
Friday, 9 December 2016
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH
Chaired by Penelope Kupfer

#12 Foster: Post-Critical?
Friday, 11 November 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Dasha Loyko

#11 Badiou: Art & Philosophy
Friday, 14 October 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Kerry W. Purcell

#10 Sontag: Against Interpretation
Friday, 9 September 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D.

#9 Groys: Under the Gaze of Theory
Friday, 8 July 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou, respondent Johanna Kwiat

#8 Rancière: Problems & Transformations of Critical Art
Friday, 10 June 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Stephen Bennett
Part of Antiuniversity Now 9-12 June 2016

#7 Sewell: Tate Triennial III
Friday, 13 May 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Richard Lloyd-Jones

#6 Duchamp: The Creative Act
Friday, 8 April 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by F. D., respondent Penelope Kupfer

#5 Latour: On Actor Network Theory
Friday, 11 March 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Johanna Kwiat

#4 Barthes: The Death of the Author
Friday, 12 February 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Henrietta Ross

#3 Owens: The Discourse of Others
Friday, 8 January 2016
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

#2 Abu-Lughod: Writing against Culture
Friday, 11 December 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury

#1 Kant: What is Enlightenment?
Friday, 13 November 2015
The Field, 385 Queens Road, London SE14 5HD
Chaired by Sophia Kosmaoglou

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