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Experiments on uncertain terrain: extensions as re-composition

Event information>


Photo credit: Marion Poussier, 2023  

About this event

In the context of ULIP's Banister Fletcher Global Fellowship, this event is part of Professor AbdouMaliq Simone's research project entitled 'Urban Life at the Extensions', a 5-day series of dialogue in Paris. Centred around five working themes, this programme brings together scholars, activists and urbanists to draw from their respective domains and locations.

The inclinations to interrelate everything and the inclinations toward singularity or particularism intersect to challenge the available holds. Distinctions among territories and geographies become blurred—e.g. what is the rural, the urban? People living in the same place increasingly find themselves distant from each other; physical distances sometimes become irrelevant as new forms of adjacency and intimacy are configured across scales. Precarity operates as a kind of “architectural design”, pushing inhabitants into new arrangements of residence, income generation, and interdependency, but with the tacit presumption that nothing will last for very long. Institutions are not being built, but rather temporary arrangements, even autonomous zones, whose experimental nature is driven more by the inability to assume a normal life than a progressive social imagination. 

The ability to jump scale, to suture together innovative connections among media, materials, cultural norms, physical settings, and money is less the curation of a new collective sensibility than a series of tactical improvisations in the midst of sociality falling apart, being dissolved into an expanding archive of details strewn across vast distances not really distant given the reach of social media.

So what kinds of experiments centred on new intermingling are taking place? Intermingling of so-called natural and human worlds, of different games of power, of discordant materials and ways of doing things? That provide inhabitants of particular settings with new affordances, opportunities. And the same time, usher in new forms of security, new holds - holds that both signify a sense of taking care, of stability in the midst of turbulence, but also forewarn of the holds of capture, of tying things down. 

Here, extensions as speculative futurism, as various practices of reaching out, continuously unsettle existing arrangements—and so what happens with this unsettling, in the intersection of vulnerability, dispossession, care, justice, and sustenance? What might be spaces beyond the proletarianisation of life, beyond poverty, beyond the aspiration to cohere as a “free subject”, instead emphasising the extensions of self and collective across a body that is beyond race, ethnicity or any of the other social categorisations that might be applied. 


The event will be moderated by Anna-Louise Milne

Followed by an apéritif and film-screening « Vorrei Tanto Tornare A Casa", Anna Rispoli (TBC)