Sunday, December 19, 2010

What is an object

I wish I could tele-transport myself to London for "What is an Object?", a one-day conference at the Anna Freud Centre:

12 February 2011
What is an Object?
Day Conference

An inter-disciplinary symposium
at the Anna Freud Centre, London NW3

Art theory, anthropology, philosophy and psychoanalysis have been brought together by the Freud Museum to wrestle over the deceptively simple question 'What is an Object?

Following hard on the heels of the British Museum's 'History of the World in 100 Objects', and connected to our own 'Objects in Mind' exhibition, the conference examines the many meanings and functions of the objects with which we surround ourselves.

The word 'object' resonates throughout the history of psychoanalysis - love objects, lost objects, part objects, transitional objects, fetish objects, internal objects and object representations.

The Symposium will invite scholars and practitioners from the worlds of art, psychoanalysis, philosophy and anthropology to discuss their differing approaches to the question of 'objects', from children's toys to the world of high fashion, from a can of baked beans to a religious icon.

Confirmed speakers include:

Anne-Marie Sandler (UK)
Psychoanalyst, former director of the Anna Freud Centre, and co-author with Joseph Sandler of Internal Objects Revisited (1998)

Salman Akhtar (Jefferson Medical College, Pennsylvania)
Psychoanalyst and author of Comprehensive Dictionary of Psychoanalysis (2009), Freud along the Ganges (2005), Interpersonal Boundaries (2006), and Objects of Our Desire (2005)

Michael Rowlands (University College, London)
Anthropologist and author of “Remembering to Forget” (1999), Memory, sacrifice and war memorials (1997), co-author Handbook of Material Culture I (2006)

Martin Holbraad (University College London)
Anthropologist, co-editor of Thinking Through Things: Theorising Artefacts Ethnographically (2007) and Technologies of the Imagination (2009).

Kenneth Wright (UK)
Psychoanalyst and author of Vision and Separation (1991) and Mirroring and Attunement (2009)

Cornelia Parker (UK)
Internationally acclaimed artist and Turner Prize nominee. Professor of Conceptual Art at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

Darian Leader (UK)
Psychoanalyst and author of Why do women write more letters than they post? (1997) Promises lovers make when it gets late (1998), Freud's Footnotes (2000), Stealing the Mona Lisa: What art stops us from seeing (2002), and The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression (2008)

Lucia Farinati (It)
Independent curator based in London. She is the co-director, with Daniela Cascella, of Sound Threshold, a long-term research project which explores the relationships between site and sound.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

The bias of the network and analog activism

Working with the bias of distributed networks sends activists offline.

16 December 2010, BBC
Anonymous Wikileaks activists move to analogue tactics

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Disco Edits and Their Discontents: The Persistence of the Analog in a Digital Era

I'm pleased to announce the online publication of "Disco Edits and Their Discontents: The Persistence of the Analog in a Digital Era", my scholarly consideration of Disco Edits in New Media and Society. (Access via a research library or by subscription. Email me if you don't have access to either.)


Disco edits and their discontents: The persistence of the analog in a digital era

Margie Borschke
University of New South Wales


This article foregrounds the distinction between two compositional forms and creative strategies in dance music – edits and remixes – as a way to gain a better understanding of the relationship between media use and media content, between producers and users, artifacts and events. It considers how the earliest disco edits in the 1970s were shaped by listeners (DJs and dancers) working in tandem with the material qualities and functional properties of vinyl records and other analog technologies and argues that while contemporary edits are made with digital tools, they continue to be in debt to their analog antecedents. In doing so this article critiques the enthusiastic adoption of ‘remix’ as a metaphor to describe digital culture and questions whether this rhetorical usage overshadows the aesthetic priorities and political implications of a variety of creative strategies that involve media use and re-use.

This essay takes a media studies approach to the subject, and I'm particularly interested in how media formats shape media content.

For those interested in Walter Gibbons, please see Tim Lawrence's work on Gibbons.

For those interested in disco acetates (and their collectors), see Disco Patrick.

For interest in contemporary edits:
A short documentary, Nu Disco (Re-edit Yourself) from The Art Pack, a video mag from France.

Andy Beta's "Disco Inferno 2.0" in The village Voice.

Or ask your local record store.

And many thanks to all the DJs, producers, dancers, and collectors for many spirited and enlightening discussions about edits in person and online.

Earlier versions of this article were given at the following conferences and workshops:

What’s it worth? ‘Value’ and Popular Music

Annual Conference of IASPM-ANZ
International Association for the Study of Popular Music
Australia-New Zealand branch
27-29 November 2009


ARC Cultural Research Network's Obsolescence Research Workshop
Obsolescence: Media history, policy and aesthetics Project
University of Wollongong
1 & 2 October 2009

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