Admission Price: £10.00
Keynotes: Professor Keller Easterling (Yale); Professor Matthew Gandy (Cambridge); Professor Caroline Levine (Cornell, via weblink)
Artist’s Talk: Sarnath Banerjee
This day-long workshop sets out to explore how literary, visual and other narrative forms mediate and intervene into current debates on cities, urban spaces and sustainable infrastructure developments. In particular, it will ask: how are the forms represented in literary and visual texts connected to the often violent infrastructural layouts of urban space, especially (though by no means only) in the Global South? Can we trace the shape of the built environment, its underlying circuitries and systems, in the forms of such texts? And can literary and cultural texts allow practitioners of urban design – from architects and policy makers to engineers and urban planners – to reflect critically on their methods?
The concept of ‘infrastructural reading’ included in the title of this workshop is explicitly designed to facilitate interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration. ‘Infrastructural reading’ encourages readers to focus on the representation of infrastructures and the built environment in literary writings, as well as other visual materials such as photographic essays, graphic narrative and poetry, as a way to answer the following questions: how do depictions of infrastructure alter these literary and cultural materials at the level of narrative, textual form and genre, and do these shifts tell us something about those infrastructures? In particular, do they reveal anything of the violence, discriminations and inequalities (cultural, social and economic) of infrastructural developments that took and take place under colonial, racial and capitalist regimes of socio-spatial organisation? Most importantly, might literary and cultural texts fragment such infrastructural regimes, offering points of critical purchase in and through their forms? Can these forms, infrastructural or otherwise, be suggestive of new modes of urban habitation, spatial organisation and engineered modes of development?