Seminar 59 // 20, 21, 22 Oct 2016 // London


Curatorial/Knowledge Seminar, 20–22 October 2016


Thursday, 20 October 2016, 11am–5pm

Location: Richard Hoggart Building, Room 325


As this is the first seminar of the academic year and a number of PhD researchers, MRes researchers and guest researchers are newly joining Curatorial/Knowledge, we will dedicate this morning to general introductions of C/K, all participants and their projects.

1.30–2.30pm: Lunch Break


Introduction to the seminar program for the year, articulating aspects of the ‘Infrastructure’ project in Bergen

As freethought, three of whose members are at Goldsmiths with others passing through, have been curating the Bergen Assembly over the past 2 years, we thought that it would be a good idea to take up some of the open research/curatorial questions over this year. The proposal is to invite members of the group to present their projects and pose the questions they have both to the research and to the overall framework of the event. The question about exhibiting research and about the potentials of intersecting discursivity and display remain open and complex ones.

Our continuing overall thematic for the program at this time is ‘Can Culture Counter?’ and the contribution of the Bergen Assembly project to this problematic is probably around the ability of research to politicize and actualize the curatorial.

Thursday, 20 October 2016, 5–7pm
Location: Richard Hoggart Building, Room 309

Film Screening and Discussion:

Safrana ou le droit à la parole (Safrana or Freedom of Speech) by Sidney Sokhona, 1978, 99min (French with English subtitles)

In the mid-1970s, a political group made up of members of the West African diaspora in Paris decided to turn their back on factory work, to become apprentices with French farmers and to found the cooperative Somankidi Coura in Mali. The Mauritanian director Sidney Sokhona features this process in a collective, fictional work in which the actual protagonists themselves play central roles. One of the leading figures is the photographer Bouba Touré whose political activity also included film.

To be followed by a discussion with Raphaël Grisey (filmmaker, artist and collaborator with Bouba Touré on the research project Becoming Cooperative Archives, including image and film productions around the Somankidi Coura cooperative and the migrant workers movements in France in the 1970s)

Chairs: Nicole Woolf (Visual Cultures) & Sheila Sheikh (Centre for Cultural Studies).


Friday, 21 October 2016, 11am–5pm

Location: Richard Hoggart Building, Room 325

This day will be devoted to the ‘Archives’ part of the Infrastructure project. There will be a general presentation of the entire archives project and a discussion of the Curatorial/Knowledge project ‘An Anecdoted Archive of Exhibition Lives’ which researches living accounts of significant art exhibition experiences and covers areas outside the canonical art world.

Specific readings for the day are:

– Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, pp. 128–129
– Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse, pp. 30–37

We will have a presentation from Vali Mahlouji on his project ‘Archaeology of a Lost Decade’ which revolves around several moments in the undocumented histories of Iran’s transition from monarchy to student revolution to Islamic revolution within a short space of time. Vali has conjured up documentation and produced a narrative for a chaotic and invisible moment of political and social history.

Below are some links to critical responses to the project:

– Archaeology of the Final Decade,
– ‘Rare Glimpses of Iran’s Underworld’, New York Times,
– A Utopian Stage: Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis, at the Whitechapel Gallery,
– Kaveh Golestan: Prostitute, at Photo London,
– ‘An Anthology of the Final Decade’, The Guardian,

1.30–2.30pm: Lunch Break

7.30pm: Dinner together, place to be confirmed


Saturday, 22 October 2016, 12–4pm

Location: Raven Row, Seminar Room (56 Artillery Lane, London E1 7LS; closest tube: Liverpool Street Station)

Reading Group

In this first reading group session of the new year, we will be discussing two chapters from Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou’s 2013 book Dispossession: The Performative in the Political. The conversations in this book revolve around a central paradox: How can we critically think ‘dispossession’ today, if at the same time, on equally critical grounds, the subject can no longer be conceived of as ‘one who possesses itself and its object world’ (Butler)? In the text, Butler and Athanasiou discuss multiple forms of contemporary dispossession, but also insistently enquire into the ‘subject’ of such dispossession – and hence also into the question how and by whom dispossession can be countered.

We will also discuss general plans for the reading group this year.


– Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou, ‘The Logic of Dispossession and the Matter of the Human’ & ‘A Caveat about the “Primacy of Economy”’


Seminar Dates: 
Thu, 20/10/2016 - 11:00 - Sat, 22/10/2016 - 16:00