spaces-of-contestation-talk-series-imageSpaces of Contestation Speaker Series, Talk 3

 What Is Already Going On
by Urban Subjects

Wednesday February 5, 7pm
World Art Centres at SFU Woodward’s (149 West Hastings)

The third talk in the Spaces of Contestation series, “What Is Already Going On” features the Vancouver and Vienna based cultural research collective Urban Subjects.  Picking up from Jamie Peck’s previous talk in the series–on processes of urban neoliberalization and the inversion of creativity–Urban Subjects will discuss cultural possibilities and artistic tactics for our unsteady, contradictory, and unevenly developed present. Urban Subjects will speak of the necessity of collaboration (from making the coffee in the morning to making art at night), of archives that disrupt the trajectory of the future, of what we can ask universities to do, of cities and the civic imagination, and of picturing militancy.  Using artistic research as a form of interdisciplinary work without any guarantees–that is, as a way of thinking and making that does not have a predetermined end–Urban Subjects have made work on self-organized neighbourhoods in Caracas, Venezuela, the student take-over of SFU in 1968 and the politics of solidarity that lead to it, mega-events and social change (whether you wanted it or not) in Vancouver, the anti-nuclear movement and its roots in northern Germany, architecture and publicness, and on what the militant image might be today.

Urban Subjects is a cultural research collective formed in 2004 by Sabine Bitter, Jeff Derksen, and Helmut Weber, and based in Vancouver, Canada and Vienna, Austria. Together they devise research-driven artistic projects that are visual and textual– exhibitions, publications, curatorial work and presentations. Projects include, I Beg Your Pardon, or the Reestablishment of Cordial Relationships (The Vera List Center for Art and Politics, 2005); Not Sheep: New Urban Enclosures and Commons (Artspeak, 2006); collaboration with the Vancouver Flying University (Gallery Gachet, 2008); We Vancouver (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2010); 602,000Works on Housing (VIVO Media Arts Centre, 2011) and Filling the Weak Points (Kunstraum, Lüneburg, 2013). They have edited the publication Autogestion, or Henri Lefebvre in New Belgrade, with a previously unpublished manuscript by Lefebvre (Fillip/Sternberg, 2009) Press), and Momentarily: Learning from Mega-events (Western Front, 2011) edited with Bik Van der Pol and Alissa Firth-Eagland. They contributed to Waking Up from The Nightmare of Participation, edited by Nina Valerie Kolowratnik & Markus Miessen and Caracas, sozialisierende Stadt, edited by Dario Azzelini, Stephan Lanz, Kathrin Wildner.  In 2013, they were artists in residence at Kunstraum, University of Leuphana in Lüneburg where they published the artist’s book The Possibilities Are. They are currently working on an exhibition on the Militant Image for Camera Austria.

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