Session 2 (Friday 29 February):
Revolution and Exhaustion
Programmed & chaired by Jan Verwoert.
Speakers: Babak Afrassiabi & Irit Rogoff

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Duration: 2 hrs 4 mins


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Chair: Jan Verwoert

Jan Verwoert is a Berlin-based critic and art historian. He is a contributing editor of Frieze and writes for various publications including Frieze, Afterall and Metropolis M. He teaches at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam. His book Bas Jan Ader — In Search of the Miraculous was published in 2006 by Afterall Books/MIT Press. He worked with Sheffield Contemporary Art Forum on the ART SHEFFIELD 08 festival for which he wrote the text which provides a conceptual framework for the event and co-curated the city-wide exhibition.

Babak Afrassiabi
A place of eventuality - a reading of Tehran University's forecourt 

After the revolution, when the irregular and theextraconstitutional have already given way to a regulated life, are there any remainders of that revolution in the city...? While the revolution was still being fought in the streets of Tehran in 1978, Tehran University was already re-appropriated into the locale of the revolutionary discourse – a discourse that came to define much of public life, up until today. But one spot that almost entirely escaped this re-appropriation is the forecourt of the university. Since the revolution, the forecourt has remained to be the stage for negotiations between students and the state police, characterized by political headway and retreat, into or from the street and the university. What makes the forecourt bear such encounters is its unique urban layout characterized by a spatial ambivalence in relation to both the university and the city; being neither a part of one nor the other. In time the forecourt has come to signify both the postponement and inevitability of minor revolutions. It is its very spatial ambiguity that provides a disposition for revolt, but also an eventual presence on the streets.

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Irit Rogoff
Temporalities of Political Exhaustion

In inhabiting long term and chronically unresolved political conflicts, such as the one that has been ongoing between Israel and Palestine, we come to moments of total exhaustion. This sense of exhaustion derives from spent energies, disappointed good intentions, numerous conflict related deprivations on both sides, the utilisation of bankrupt models of political analysis, the inability to foresee a constructive future strategy and numerous other dimensions of living out a long term conflict.

At these moments of political exhaustion, we might actually exit a mode that seeks resolution and enter another temporality which is one of 'inhabitation'. In this state we move beyond 'criticism' of regimes and players and intentions and from 'critique' of the underlying political and ideological structures that have captured and seized the conflict and continue to hold it ransom to their logics, and towards 'criticality' - a condition in which we both see through the conditions of our lives while continuing to live out their difficulties. What do the politics of criticality , so much less directed and goal oriented than political resolutions, have to offer to the exhausted?

Irit Rogoff is a writer, theorist and curator who works at the intersections of the critical, the political and contemporary artistic practices. Irit Rogoff is Professor of Visual Culture at Goldsmiths College, London University and was Director of "Translating the Image - Cross Cultural Contemporary Arts" (AHRC Research Project 2001-2006) from which 2 volumes will be published by Koenig Verlag in 2008.  She is currently heading the PH.D program Curatorial/Knowledge at Goldsmiths. She is the author of "Terra Infirma - Geography's Visual Culture" (Routledge 2001). Her upcoming books "Unbounded" and "Looking Away - Participating Singularities - Ontological Communities" will both be published in 2008. Recent curatorial projects include "De-Regulation with the work of Kutlug Ataman" (Antwerp 06, Herzylia 06, Berlin 08); "Academy - Learning from the Museum" (Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 2006) and "SUMMIT: Non-aligned Initiatives In Education Culture" (Berlin 2007).

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All symposium podcasts

Session 1 (Thursday 28 February): Jan Verwoert, with Diemantas Narkevicius.
Session 2 (Friday 29 February): Jan Verwoert with Babak Afrassiabi and Irit Rogoff.
Session 3 (Friday 29 February): Becky Shaw, Jennifer Johns and Annika Eriksson.
Session 3 (Friday 29 February): Breakout session with Nasrin Tabatabai and Babak Afrassiabi.
Session 3 (Friday 29 February):Breakout session with Jeanine Griffin and Katy Woods.
Plenary (Friday 29 February)