Tuesday, 3 August 2010

RSA Animate - First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

Provocative as ever, in the most recent RSA Animate irrepressible Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek proposes that 'it is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property'. The lesson he seeks to establish from this proposition is that the form of charity associated with corporate and social responsibility schemes such as Starbucks 'coffee ethics' is an essentially hypocritical and cynical gesture. What he terms 'capitalism with a human face' then remains complicit with the exploitation of the poor it is supposed to help, and all the more effective for the redemptive good conscience it leaves the consumer.

Personally I've always felt that there is something inherently wrong with the demonically perverse desire people harbour for a cup of Joe. I hate their smugness as they storm down the street brandishing their disposable cardboard and plastic cups, waving them aloft as if they were Prometheus bearing their torch for the people. FILTH! Basically makes me want to punch them in the face.

Spleen aside, the video above is an abridgement of the full lecture here, delivered on the release of his most recent book First as Tragedy, Then as Farce.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Urban Explorers: Quests for Myth, Mystery and Meaning

Those who attended our summer exhibition Transparency and the City: Public Spaces or Forgotten Places? will already have been introduced to the practice of urban exploration through the stunning photography of those participating the Urban Exploration // Behind the Scene installation. However, unless you attended the opening night you would not have seen the accompanying film Urban Explorers: Quests for Myth, Mystery and Meaning by Bradley at Place Hacking.

Including footage taken in the course of Bradley's own ethnographic research the film is comprised of a series of interviews with five scholars (Alastair Bonnett, Caitlin DeSilvey, Tim Edensor, Hayden Lorimer and David Pinder) whose work has engaged either with the practice of urban exploration directly, or with issues of urban decay, dereliction and exploration more generally.

It was my seeing an early edit of the film on Vimeo back in February that encouraged me to contact Bradley in the first place. Major props to Bradley for answering the email and agreeing to participate.

Update (05/10/2010) - A companion article for the above film has just been released in the journal Geography Compass (Volume 4, Issue 10, pages 1448–1461, October 2010). The article can now be read over on the Place Hacking website.