[spectre] Call for Papers and Artworks: Speeding and Braking – Navigating Acceleration

Joanna Zylinska jo.zylinska at gmail.com
Thu Mar 10 12:34:38 CET 2016

Call for Papers and Artworks: Speeding and Braking – Navigating Acceleration

12-14 May 2016,  Goldsmiths, University of London

Confirmed keynote: Prof. Frances Dyson (UC Davis)

Confirmed speakers: Susan Schuppli, Joanna Zylinska, Mark Fisher, Kodwo 


Marx says that revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But 
perhaps it is quite otherwise. Perhaps revolutions are an attempt by the 
passengers on the train – namely, the human race – to activate the 
emergency brake. (Walter Benjamin)

The only way out is through. (Robert Frost)

Acceleration has been characterised as both reason and remedy for the 
challenges presented by an increasingly fraught global economy, marked 
by financial crises, ecological ruination, neo-colonial oppression and 
forced displacements of an unprecedented scale. Concurrently, the 
contemporary political and cultural imagination is caught between 
opposing temporalities: the accelerationist affirmation that “the 
increasing immanence of the social and technical is irreversible and 
indeed desirable” (Avanessian & Mackay, #Accelerate, p. 7) on the one 
hand, and “regressive, decelerative or restorative ‘solutions’” (ibid., 
p. 6.) on the other. The conference Speeding and Braking: Navigating 
Acceleration aims to explore critical techno-practices in screen and 
sonic media that eschew this conceptual deadlock by extending across and 
beyond such totalising and mutually exclusive attitudes – of immersion 
vs. rejection – with regard to the contemporary technosphere.

The conference is concerned with the material and phenomenological 
consequences of accelerations and decelerations as well as aesthetic 
strategies afforded and/or precluded by them. It seeks responses 
concerned with the material inscription, practical harnessing and 
phenomenological experience of varying speeds, from the perspective of 
contrasting temporalities. We are particularly interested in transversal 
approaches reading across, and drawing into dialogue, seemingly 
incompossible positions within the fields of sonic and visual arts, 
cultural and critical theory, and media and communications: 
accelerationism vs. post-growth or ‘folk’ politics; afro-futurism vs. 
afro-pessimism; techno-feminism vs. feminist emphases on care and other 
forms of reproductive labour reliant on human agents etc.

A suggested (but by no means exhaustive) list of topics for consideration:

     Alternate futures: What are examples of speculative fantasies and 
hi-tech futurisms that problematise the modernist rift between 
techno-utopias and techno-phobias? What are the internal debates 
involved in discourses thinking race, gender and sex in and through 
technology and progress? What role do pessimisms responding to these 
discourses play in their recuperation of the future?

     Particle Time: Rust, dust and other particles point to the mutual 
entanglement of man-made and environmental change, blurring the 
boundaries between historical and natural (biological, geological) 
durations. What temporal ontologies might a reconsideration of the 
geochemical particles involved in the making of media (art) help emerge? 
How do artists address this “deep time of the media” (S. Zielinski)?

     Spectrality and Ruination: Ghosts and ruins occupy the longue durée 
of history; they are negative inscriptions of the obsolete, the 
uncanny/unhomely return of the repressed and the unrealised, persisting 
as spectral/ruinous present against capital’s double telos of perpetual 
growth and progress. How and by way of which temporal logic may ghosts 
and ruins converse with the past? How do they inflect our understanding 
of the present (as future ruin/spectrality)?

     24/7: Neoliberal urban and domestic experiences are marked by an 
acceleration of visual mediation as a means of social regulation and 
capture. What critical and aesthetic tools might allow us to recuperate 
the lost dimensions of social-spatial practice in both private and 
public spaces?

     Slow motion: Both the contemporary “slow cinema” and certain 
instances of structural film enact a systematic deceleration of the 
moving image, emphasising its stillness, silence and uneventful 
duration. Usually defined in aesthetic terms (e.g. as an affective 
economy that resists the logic of consumption), these slow currents may 
also be framed as poietic strategy – with particular resonance in 
marginal or ‘underdeveloped’ moving image ecologies of the Global South. 
What are the aesthetic and political stakes involved in slowing down the 
moving image?

We invite abstracts for 20 minute presentations and proposals for 
artworks (audio, video and performance). Deadline for 
abstracts/proposals (300 words max) is March 20th 2016 23:59 GMT. 
Applicants will be notified of acceptance by April 7th. Please send 
submissions as an attachment including a title, a brief biography and, 
if relevant, documentation of your artistic practice to 
screenandaudiovisual at gmail.com

Professor Joanna Zylinska
Department of Media and Communications
Goldsmiths, University of London


NEW BOOK, Photomediations: A Reader, available open access:

More information about the SPECTRE mailing list