Art and Geography Conference (Lyon: Feb. 2013)


[reblogged from URB-GEOG-FORUM listserv]

Art and geography: aesthetics and practices of spatial knowledge…


International interdisciplinary conference (Lyon, Feb 2013)
Call for papers, presentations and proposals

With affiliation and support from Médiagéo, a program of the French National Research Agency, we are pleased to invite proposals to participate in a conference which will explore the contours of geographic and artistic practice, examine their porous boundaries, and delve into all manner of art-geography linkages, interrelationships and hybridizations.

Context: The contemporary art world has gravitated toward notions of space and place with terms such as “in situ”, “outdoor” and “alternative space” becoming ubiquitous in its terminology. Further examples of art-geography hybridization include use of geolocation, georeferencing, fieldwork methodologies, and other geographical input in the creative process and in the appearance or significance of resulting works. Consequently, art critics and scholars increasingly view issues pertaining to public space, environment, and virtual space as prime topics of concern. Yet if art practice is engaged with a “spatial turn” then geography too is adopting and adapting art practice to the geographical imagination. Indeed, maps may be viewed as artworks; map-making as a creative process; and fieldwork methodologies as essentially artistic practices. A further aspect of the art-geography nexus concerns art’s engagement with contemporary spatial development planning and practice. From the branding of artist districts to festivalisation and local policies based on cultivating, promoting and clustering “creative industries”, artists are now seen as key players in the urban development game. This poses a new set of opportunities and challenges for artists to engage with revitalization processes, and also opens up new areas for critical research.

With such developments in how space and place are experienced in contemporary art, and how art is conceptualised and utilised in geography and allied disciplines, we believe now is a good time to take stock and cast a critical eye over the various art and geography interrelationships. Consequently, this conference brings together artists and geographers, as well as representation from throughout and beyond the academy, for discussion, exchange, and mutual learning. Guiding topics for include but are not limited to:

•         the emergence of contemporary art in geographical knowledge; its various theoretical underpinnings and methodological foundations. When and how conversations between geography and other better-established art disciplines started. How geographers claim, complement or challenge extant approaches.

•         the forms of “the spatial turn” in contemporary art and the ways in which geography (and its theories of space, place and spatiality) contributes to define art’s “relational” or “contextual” nature. The use of the tools and modalities of geographical knowledge in contemporary art, including maps and map-making, fieldwork, and documentary practices.

•         relationship(s) between art and geography in the making of knowledge of/about space and place, their relation to space, place and to regimes of geographical knowledge production.

•         the strategies used by artists to address social concerns and engage with spatial development and engineering. How do artists, art scholars, and geographers, with their diverse approaches, register and critically reflect on these new developments?

The conference is not only open to anyone interested in contemporary art and geography it also welcomes many modes of presentation and exhibition, including  documentary media, installations, performances, paper presentations, and roundtables…

Session and presentation abstracts (400 words max.) and sketches/ documents for artistic projects (2 pgs max.) to be emailed by 30th Oct 2012

Key words:

Spatial turn; spatial aesthetics; cultural turn; representational/ non-representational geography; cultural economy, urban regeneration; art and politics/ power

Practical information:

•         Conference takes place February 11-13th in the University of Lyon (France) and will be bilingual (French and English).
•         There is no registration fee but participants are expected to pay for flights and accommodation. However, a limited number of scholarships are available for artists to cover travel, accommodation, and performance fees. Candidates must apply for the scholarships when answering this call.
•         Abstracts and proposals will be reviewed by the scientific committee by 15th Dec. 2012 with the following responses: accepted; accepted with recommendations; not accepted.
•         Conference proceedings will be published in the form of a book and CD-Rom with ISBN.

A conference website is under construction A full version of the call is available Please email the conference organisers with any further queries

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