Call for Papers
3rd and 4th June 2016
Queen Mary University of London
Keynote Presentations: Deborah Cowen (University of Toronto) and Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)
The so-called “logistics revolution” and its attendant technologies have made possible capitalism’s reproduction and restructuring over the past half century. Among other things, logistics sped up the loading and unloading of ships and helped establish the “global factory,” thereby drastically reducing the labor time required to produce and circulate commodities. This allowed capitalism to expand its economies of scale and relocate manufacturing to wherever worker militancy and the costs of labor were lowest. While the logistics infrastructure has transformed social life the world over, it also has opened up new opportunities for resistance to exploitation. Since the onset of the financial crisis, an array of movements internationally have turned to logistics as a terrain of political struggle, from the work slowdowns of logistics employees to the port and highway blockades of social movements as various as Occupy, the “Boycott, Divest, and Sanction” campaign, and BlackL ivesMatter. Logistics is also increasingly material for art, from representations of global trade in photography and literature to the use of actual shipping containers as performance spaces and pop-up galleries.
“The Arts of Logistics” brings together scholars, activists, and artists from across the humanities and social sciences to interrogate how social movements and the arts respond to a world remade by logistics. Long an important topic for economists, management theorists, and sociologists, logistics is only recently emerging as an object of substantive study by artists and researchers in the humanities. Thus, this conference seeks to further define scholarly, political, and artistic conversations on the nexus of political economy, anti-capitalist struggle, and art.
Possible topics participants could engage include the following:
-The politics and aesthetics of mapping logistics or infrastructure – Container art and architecture
-Historical representations of empire, trade, and commodity flows
-The emergence of counter-logistics as an anti-capitalist strategy
-Cultures of surveillance and security
-Labour and consumer activism around the “global factory”
-Data and network visualisation
We invite proposals for 20-minute papers in a variety of formats. As an interdisciplinary conference, we also welcome practical demonstrations by artists, performances lectures, roundtables, and more.
Please submit an abstract of 300 words (max) and a short bio of 50 words (max) to both conference organisers: Shane Boyle (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Aylwyn Walsh (email@example.com) by February 22. Please make sure to include your preferred contact information and specify ‘The Arts of Logistics’ in your subject line. If you are interested in making a proposal that involves multiple contributions or lasts longer than 20 minutes (like a roundtable or screening) please be in touch with the organisers as soon as possible.
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