Aldous Huxley’s science fiction novel Brave New World was written between World Wars I and II in 1932. At the time technological optimism was in full swing in the Western world. The book warns of the danger of giving totalitarian state control over new and powerful technologies. By now, Huxley’s predictions of totalitarianism have taken a form of consumer totalitarianism cutting through the globe, and technology has become our second nature. What Huxley could not predict are the racial, social and human rights inequalities that have grown to unsustainable proportions. And even less so could he foresee the current pandemic that has brought us in a planetary scale onto one and the same threshold. Since early 2020 a significant portion of our standard practices center on physical distancing, isolation, and private spaces. The conditions for smooth coexistence seem to have at one stroke changed into different kinds of temporary states of emergency. The pandemic is linked to biological, ecological and social causes that we by any means were not ignorant of, yet were as if hit by a wave of a biblical magnitude. Where do we go from here, no one has certainty of. What we do know, is that if ever, now is the moment to meditate upon – together, with each other – what needs to be left behind and what to reach for. It’s time to come together in and out of isolation, take utopias for real, and trust on what just second ago seemed fantasy, nonsensical even.
peripheries in parallax
BRAVE NEW PERIPHERIES
is a Conference mapping out the implications and alliances of ‘peripheries’ and ‘peripheral approaches’ through art, artistic research and related fields in society. Alongside the Conference, a durational, curated Art Event ‘MATTER’ takes place at the Aalto University Campus
The Conference and Art Event (with related online openings) have been split in two parts during Spring 2021: the main conference is on April 9th(see the Open Call!), following the opening event which was on January 22nd. Both 1-day events have specific sub-themes (see: ‘Call for Proposals’ and ‘Call for Artworks’)
peripheries in parallax: BRAVE NEW PERIPHERIES examines peripheries as concrete or immaterial fields, approaches, phenomenon, practices or epistemologies that are in different ways framed as ‘marginal’ in relation to presupposed ‘central’/’centralized’ systems and mediated global assumptions. We live in an age where societal, political and biological phenomena have become interconnected in new and exceptional ways, and it is urgent to address, speculate and acknowledge the implications in arts and artistic research. Correspondingly, different kinds of ‘marginal’, ‘extreme’ and ‘exceptional’ phenomena have become pressing subjects in the political and social discourse as well as in everyday human interaction and coexistence.
We seek new understanding of peripheries and peripherality through cross-exposures in arts, artistic research and related fields and disciplines. We invite approaches from several disciplines where the spatial, conceptual and theoretical hierarchies and biased assumptions of ‘peripheries’ or ‘peripheralities’ are challenged within the disciplines themselves, as well as in relation to each other.
In the light of today’s guidelines, the events will be held and shared in an online format (TBC if changes). peripheries in parallax: BRAVE NEW PERIPHERIES pays specific attention to how art and artistic research come alive and materialize on the borderlines of different kinds of physical and virtual means, interfaces and tactics.
peripheries in parallax: BRAVE NEW PERIPHERIES is organised by the four-year “Floating Peripheries – mediating the sense of place” artistic research project funded by the Academy of Finland (2017–2021). The research group members often work in a situation-specific way. We take the current situation and the spaces/sites it creates both as a delineation, as well as an opportunity to be curious and exploratory in how to present and share artistic research.
The conference experiments with combinations of presenting artistic research in the borderline of the actual and the virtual. We hope that the participants bring topics related to the peripheral phenomenon into the discussion in a way that leaves room for speculation in the development of the argument, are sketchy or includes improvisation.
Originally a geometric term, periphery (περιφέρεια, periphéreia, ‘circle, circumference, outer surface’) also hints of ‘moving around’ and to a form that is ’round’ or ‘circular’. There seems to be a hierarchical stigma associated with ‘peripheries’ in relation to their supposed counterparty, ‘central’. How to make of use of this bias? If ‘periphery’ is forever an underdog position, how can the dichotomy between center and fringe serve as an enabler in different discourses, cases, materialisations? How to negotiate the in-betweenness, characteristic to peripherality, in each specific case? How to question the boundaries of peripheries themselves?
Parallax (παράλλαξις, parallaxis, ‘alternation’) is understood here as a displacement or difference of a conception or notion, viewed from two or more different positions or disciplines. We warmly invite colleagues in arts, artistic research and related fields to examine the cross-exposures that a peripheral viewpoint or approach may put on the move in the frames of sites/senses/sensibilities, materiality, politics, and ecologies.