IMAG-E-NATION the political & philosophical arts initiative blog


(re)imagining the political and philosophical in the 21st century


The Political & Philosophical Arts Initiative is interested in the ways in which people interact with and compose political and philosophical ideas and actions through the various, diverse media of technology and the arts. Participants in PAI seek to explore the ways in which poetry, literature, music, photography, performance and other creative arts interleave with the political and philosophical life, either as vehicles for criticism, elaboration, theorization, intervention or activism.
The Imag-e-nation blog is a forum for interested parties to share stories, images or other contributions. Contributors range from students and faculty to artists and musicians to professional and casual commentators. Pieces can be short opinions, re-postings of appropriate materials, or original compositions. In addition, the PAI at LUC will make a selection of relevant or provocative news items each week for (re)publication here.

Inquiries:
imagenation[at]politicalarts.org




Sign up now for Political Arts Residency masterclasses in June!


Dr. Lien Fan Shen, our Political Artist-in-Residence 2014, will share the political contexts, analytical frameworks, and artistic practices which shape her award-winning comic books and academic inquiry into gender identity, digital culture, and creative expression over three masterclasses on 4, 11, and 18 June.  The series is free of charge, with all texts and art supplies provided, and welcomes participants from all disciplines.  

A triptych of Dr. Shen's work

While each masterclass can be taken separately, active participation in all three masterclasses and the final residency exhibition (on Monday 30 June 2014) will be recognised with 1 EC granted by the Leiden University Honours Academy.  Please register before 10 May 2014 at the very latest, after which a full syllabus will become available to participants.

Stay tuned about all Residency activities here!

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Weighing Work: Reframing Ambition @ Droog


With Labour Day around the corner, 'tis high time to inspect the meaning, value, and performance of work in a 21st-century environment of rapid urbanisation, hyper-information accessibility, ubiquitous social media and digital technologies.  Droog and De Brakke Grond's #Arbeid van de dag exhibition in Amsterdam from now to 1 May invites us to think through and tinker with these choices, challenges, and opportunities in the context of work, work conditions, and work-life balance.

Brussels-based design dream team Thomas Lommée and Christiane Hoegner offers an especially compelling installation, entitled "Reframing Ambition":


where visitors amass those elements which comprise their current ambitions, physically symbolised by generic cans of single activities, and weigh these components against time and money on a sliding age scale to achieve optimal balance.  That we might need to discard some of our current aspirations into the basket marked "outsource" and decide to reserve some cans of desire for the "DIY" container propel us to explore and reconfigure our relationship to work, conceptually and affectively.


Faced with the convenience and creativity of self-branding on the one hand and the distractions and pressures of self-performance on the other, how do we focus and (re)discover what we can do, in addition to what we need to do or want to do?


From the manifesto above (in the spirit of sharper, selective focus):

Today the problem is no longer routine, but multitasking.
The problem is no longer boredom, but constant hype.
The problem is no longer choice, but choosing.
Therefore these times need new aspirations.
[I]f we manage to do so
our imperfections will become features, failure part of the experience.
Work will become a journey, money a medium, satisfaction the reward
and ultimately success will become the ability to do what you want to do.
Reframing our ambitions will allow us to navigate more easily
through the abundance of new options in order to fully enjoy them.

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+HIP Adventure Issue: Out now!

Following Geo-Caching The Hague, as well as our NSS 2014 paper tank urban intervention with i4C and Stroom Den Haag, it is our great pleasure to present the images and imaginings from these activities in the latest edition of +HIP: The Adventure Issue!


You are most welcome to browse through past issues of our street photo-graphics e-magazine, and do keep an eye out for the next call for contributions!

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3...2...1...ACTION!

Wednesday 16 April (tonight!)
Symposium | Photo Exhibition
 18:00 - 20:00 @ The Nutshuis

 Join us for this six-course menu:

Geo-Caching The Hague photography exhibition

Launch of tHIP Adventure issue

Iain Borden on
"Skate-boarding, Play and Politics"

Dan Edwardes on
"Our Wild Nature: Questions of Urbanisation, Freedom and Use of Space"

Chris Goto-Jones on
"Playing the City and the City: Considering Virtual Spaces in Actual Places"

Paper tanks @ NSS 2014
Urban intervention collage

be THERE or be square
be square or be EXTRAORDINAIRE!


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Playing with Space: Creative Utopias in St. Petersburg


From Taiga's courtyard to Etagi's terrace, St. Petersburg, as with Moscow and Yekaterinburg, has seen a proliferation of communal art hubs in the past few years.  Mansions and lofts are being converted into creative spaces by young idealists seeking an alternative to commercialism and commodification, towards community and collaboration for artistic and social ends.  

Sien van der Plank, a Year 2 student at LUC who explored the ludic dimensions of space in last year's Political Arts honours course Politics as Play, recently returned from St. Petersburg with the following reflection:

Politics and space in Russia
April 2014

In St. Petersburg the politics of space is evident in every step you take and every place you visit. There is a stark contrast between the spaces designed in the era of tsars, communist times and by the government, and the spaces that individuals and smaller groups of people have created. The Dean’s Trip of Spring 2014 focused on creative spaces and subcultures in St. Petersburg and through a series of lectures, excursions within St. Petersburg, and visits to the most renowned touristic points, this contrast could be further exposed and examined.

The best way to understand the contrast is simply to describe or visualise each. The first type of space is BIG. It overwhelms the individual. It is beautiful but impersonal. As our tour guide for the Hermitage explained: the rich built palaces and places like the Hermitage to form separate worlds from the rest of the people. Since they felt unable to help the poor, they created worlds without any poor for themselves. The more recent spaces and buildings of the government are created for CONTROL. Anisa Khokhlova from the Faculty of Sociology at the St. Petersburg State University described a new park in Tblisi (Goergia): it is a beautiful park but the individual is constantly controlled within it by means of limited entrances and exits, fences, transparency (there are no secluded spaces within the park) and security guards.

View across the River Neva

By contrast, the projects of locals and smaller initiatives with regards to space breathe and exhale ideas linked to the PERSONAL and TEMPORARY. Whereas the political elites of Russia tend to build structures that last many lifetimes, recent small-scale initiatives are often developed in decrepit apartment buildings – giving the building a final whiff of life before it finally needs to be demolished or fully restored. The projects include the use of an empty building for a café, cooking group and art spaces, or the use of an old baking factory for small exhibitions, a roofspace that can be hired, a café, a hostel, and a few bars. We undertook a tour of a single block of St. Petersburg, led by two locals; we were informed by passionate young master’s students about their potential projects for regenerating nearby Kronstadt. These ideas and places are not big and scary, and their aim is not to overwhelm the individual but to welcome them.

Cooking together in a ‘new’ space

The point is not to discount the old and majestic St. Petersburg: the history of St. Petersburg is rich and beautiful, and the giant structures of statues, bridges and buildings only reflect that. Nor is it to suggest that the spaces created by the power structures and powerful people are what is often imagined of Russia (grey, bleak and cold): the buildings of St. Petersburg are often colourful and the large spaces are likewise majestically designed and awing. No, what is illustrated is that St. Petersburg lives on, that beyond the myth of its creation, of its grandeur in tsarists times and the tragedy of the siege of Leningrad, St. Petersburg is having a new breath of life, in which old and new both have their evident places.       

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Reminder: GAMING THE CITY on 16 April @ The Nutshuis

http://cachingthehague.weebly.com/symposium.html
  
February 2014 saw citizens and visitors of The Hague hunting for QR codes and assembling photo essays of this city of peace and justice. As the finale to Geo-Caching The Hague, the Political Arts Initiative is delighted to invite you to GAMING THE CITY, a symposium on re-imagining urban environments for 21st-century movement and play. This free symposium also marks the official opening of our Geo-Caching The Hague photography exhibition hosted by The Nutshuis, accompanied by the e-publication of the latest issue of our street art magazine, tHIP (The Hague in Pictures).

Join us on Wednesday 16 April 2014 at The Nutshuis for some serious fun:

17:30 Arrive for a drink and a browse through the photo exhibition.
18:00 Symposium begins, with speakers:
          IAIN BORDEN (Prof. Architecture & Urban Culture, University College London)
          DAN EDWARDES (Director, Parkour Generations)
          CHRIS GOTO-JONES (Prof. Comparative Philosophy & Political Thought, Leiden)
          and chaired by Cissie Fu (Asst. Prof. Political Theory, LUC The Hague).
20:00 Symposium ends, with more drinks and browsing if you wish.

There is limited seating, and so please
register now. We greatly look forward to welcoming you on the 16th!

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Interactive Landscapes: Technology, Geometry, and Open Systems

In step with Gaming The City on 16 April, the latest on imaginative design, Escher-esque platformers, and bold architecture.


Daan Roosegaarde's Lotus Dome

Daan Roosegaarde, award-winning artist and innovator known for projects such as 'Dune', 'Intimacy 2.0', and 'Sustainable Dance Floor', integrates digital technology with everyday environments.  He will lecture at the Berlage Institute on 24 April on interactive landscapes.


A few days ago, ustwo released Monument Valley, its newest iOS game inspired by the geometric puzzles of M.C. Escher.  Explore the planes of Penrose triangles, shift perspectives, and defy gravity in the quiet beauty of minimalist aesthetics.




Rounding off with a note on customisation and participation, enjoy Justin McGuirk's ode to Le Corbusier's simple, tailored architecture sparked by the devastation of Flanders in World War I, aptly timed for centenary commemorations in 2014. 

Le Corbusier's La Ville Radieuse, with a housing allocation system
based on family size instead of economic position.

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Gaming The City: Different players in different places

In anticipation of our GAMING THE CITY symposium and photo exhibition on 16 April in The Hague, some inspiring ludic moves around the world to whet our appetite for the discussion later this month!

By Etienne Lavie, who hijacks billboards to pitch art against commercials:

OMG who stole my ads? @ Milan

OMG who stole my ads? @ Paris

By Leon Keer, who plays with space to create fun and awareness:

Space Invaders @ Lausanne

Geological Conflict @ Victoria, Canada

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Artist-in-residence masterclass series: Explore female masculinity and create manga this June!

Dr. Lien Fan Shen, our Political Artist-in-Residence 2014, will share the political contexts, analytical frameworks, and artistic practices which shape her award-winning comic books and academic inquiry into gender identity, digital culture, and creative expression over three masterclasses on 4, 11, and 18 June.  The series is free of charge, with all texts and art supplies provided, and welcomes students from all disciplines.  

A triptych of Dr. Shen's work

While each masterclass can be taken separately, active participation in all three masterclasses and the final residency exhibition (on Monday 30 June 2014) will be recognised with 1 EC granted by the Leiden University Honours Academy.  Please register before 10 May 2014 at the very latest, after which a full syllabus will become available to participants.

Stay tuned about all Residency activities here!
  
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