Tag Archive: geography


Political Ecology position

We’re been given the green light to announce the following tenure-track position in Environmental Studies and Geography. I’m chairing the Search Committee. Please pass it on to anyone you think will be interested. Review of applications will begin November 15. 

The Department of Geography and the Environmental Studies Program at the University of Vermont invite applications for a tenure-track assistant professor in Political Ecology to begin August 2012. Possible areas of expertise for this position include: critical engagements with conservation and development, ecological displacements and migration, regional and inter-regional adaptations to climate change, environmental governance/governmentality, risks and conflicts of resource extraction, impacts of ecological change on livelihoods, and contested rights to resources. We seek an individual whose primary regional specialty is Latin America/Caribbean or Africa.

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The eco-arts blogosphere has kept simmering through the early summer. Greenmuseum.blog, connected to the excellent online environmental resource and exhibition space Green Museum, has taken on a new look. The blog had recently covered the Earth Matters on Stage EcoDrama Symposium, held at the University of Oregon. Mike Lawler’s EcoTheatre blog also provided coverage of EMOS. Ecoartspace has been blogging from the Seattle Public Arts Conference, the theme of which this year was Renewable Resources: Arts in Sustainable Communities.

Over at Sustainability and Contemporary Art, Maja and Ruben Fowkes have been blogging about the Hard Realities and New Materiality Symposium, which took place at Central European University recently. Antennae magazine has an interview with the Fowkes in which they discuss the sustainability of contemporary art, the ethics vs. the aesthetics of form, Felix Guattari’s ‘three ecologies,’ and other topics. Some of the Fowkes’ writings, including Unframed landscapes: Nature and Contemporary Art and Towards the Ecology of Freedom, can be found at Translocal.org. (Some of these overlap with issues I discussed in my piece Sustainable vision from the 2004 Natural Grace exhibition catalogue; you can find a brief overview of the environmental and eco-art movements there.)

Smudge has been blogging about the massive LAND/ART exhibition/project in New Mexico. In many ways, land art reflects an earlier moment in the evolution of ecological art, one premised on making statements in wild or open landscapes, but much of what’s presented in this exhibition goes well beyond that, for instance, to the documentation, questioning, and interrogation of land uses in their social, perceptual, and ecological contexts. Among the events is an Experimental Geography exhibition, featuring The Center for Land Use Interpretation, Trevor Paglen, and others. See the CLUI’s database of unusual and exemplary sites — which range from nuclear and industrial accident sites and weapons plants to tourist caves, ghost towns, and UFO sites across the U.S. — to get an idea of what this unusual ‘research organization’ does. Artist and “experimental geographer” Paglen‘s work on “black sites” — secret military landscapes and other “blank spots on the map” — has even gotten him onto the Colbert Report; see his media page for articles, reviews, and videos. Paglen writes about Experimental Geography over at Brooklyn Rail, while Rhizome provides a good list of reading materials on the topic. See also art:21′s interview with EG curator Nato Thompson.

Sustainable Practice is a good place to keep up to date with a lot of these types of things, while Critical Spatial Practice focuses more on the geographical interventions.

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One of the more oblique threads I’ve been pursuing on this blog has to do with what new media are doing to aural and musical information. Music is, of course, much more than information: it is embodied affect (in a Deleuzian sense) that carries, channels, activates, mobilizes (sets into motion), transforms, and disseminates cultural meanings as well as culturally imbued bodily affects. In the process music imprints feelings, sensations and meanings into our bodies and, at the same time, outwards into the world that it describes, inscribes, and infuses with rhythm and aural texture. It fills and organizes the spaces of resonance between bodies, but also ‘spaces’, or reterritorializes, our own sense of ourselves – as Deleuze and Guattari’s oft-quoted opening lines to “Of the Refrain” suggest.

Dan Visel’s piece on music & metadata has gotten me thinking about how musical metadata — “things that are outside of the text, but still of primary importance to how we read a text”, which in the case of music includes titles and information about the performers — are becoming part of a more fluid and oceanic datasphere. When I was growing up, the access points to the musical universe were radio stations (a few, like the original CFNY, among the dozens available in the Toronto area), record stores (a few, like the Record Peddler, whose employees I could trust for their cool tips), and a handful of magazines (like Toronto’s Shades and a few of the other free art and music zines, most of which have left not a shred of evidence behind themselves in the digital era). I used to have to keep listening, sometimes for half an hour or more, to find out what it was that I liked on my favorite college radio station, and if I wasn’t listening closely I could miss it — the metadata were so scarce. But once I heard it I knew what to look for (on a trip downtown to the Peddler), and once I bought the album, and maybe a copy of New Musical Express or Trouser Press that featured an interview with the band, I was as metadata-rich as anyone I knew.

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