Led by: Julian Brigstocke (Cardiff University, UK)
This research, which forms part of a wider project on Participation's Others: A Cartography of Creative Listening Practices, explores forms of ‘creative listening’ to the voices of future generations. It draws upon contemporary theories of futurity, materiality, and affective life to explore the latent, lost, imagined, and feared futures that inhabit material urban spaces. In doing so, the project is developing experimental and creative ways of ‘listening’ to the voices of future generations that haunt the spaces of the contemporary city.
Recent urban cultural geographies and anthropologies have drawn attention to the ways in which urban spaces are saturated with multiple, non-linear and partly nonhuman temporalities (Edensor, 2013; Hetherington, 2013; Wylie, 2009). They are home to multiple forms of voice and material agency. Cities are ‘haunted’ by past events that reverberate through places long after they have occurred. Spaces and times are folded together, allowing distant presences, events, people, and things to gather together into unsettling forms of intimacy (Maddern & Adey, 2008). Whilst such hauntings have most often been considered in terms of the lingering presence of the past in the future, this project places greater emphasis on the haunting of the present by lost futures. It responds to a growing foreboding that the future has been occupied, colonised or destroyed through a capitalist cultural economy that erases our capacity to imagine the future otherwise (Fisher, 2001), saturates or capitalizes the future through speculative debt (Lazzarato, 2012; Atkins, 2014), and lures us into an optimism that exhausts us through our debilitating attachments (Berlant, 2011). The project searches for material traces of absent or barely sensed futures in the contemporary city.
Methodologically, the project weaves together participatory photo elicitation, archival research and fictocriticism (Taussig, 1997) to develop a vantage-point on the city that is viewed sub specie aeternitatis, collapsing together past, present and (absent) futures (Benjamin, 2002). It works with residents of Bristol, UK to identify material spaces which inhabit pasts and futures in specific ways, whether through hope, forboding, memory, or other temporal loops (Anderson, 2010). In doing so, the project involves an ongoing experimentation with the form of academic writing, attempting to find ways of weaving past, present and future into a multiple narrative voice. The project will also curate an art project that solicits the views of unborn generations.
Aims and Objectives
Anderson, B. (2010) ‘Preemption, precaution, preparedness: Anticipatory action and future geographies’, Progress in Human Geography, 34(6), pp. 777-798.
Atkins, L. (2014) ‘Speculative Futures in Austere Times’, paper presented at the Austerity Futures conference, Goldsmiths College, University of London, 11th September.
Berlant, L. (2011) Cruel Optimism, Duke University Press.
Benjamin, W. (2002) The Arcades Project, trans. H. Eiland, ed. R. Tiedemann, Belknap Press.
Edensor, T., (2013) ‘Vital urban materiality and its multiple absences: the building stone of central Manchester’, Cultural Geographies, 20(4), pp. 447-465.
Fisher, M. (2011) Capitalist Realism, Zero Books.
Hetherington, K. (2013) ‘Rhythm and noise: the city, memory and the archive’, The Sociological Review, 61:S1, pp. 17–33.
Lazzarato, M. (2012) The Making of the Indebted Man: Essay on the Neoliberal Condition, MIT Press.
Maddern & Adey (2008) ‘Spectro-Geographies’, Cultural Geographies, 15, pp. 291–295.
Taussig, M. (1997) The Magic of the State, Routledge.
Wylie, J. (2009) ‘Landscape, absence and the geographies of love’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 34, pp. 275–289.
Retreat: The Voice of the Other
Symposium: Participatory Democracy's "Others"
Research project: Enfolded Futures
Research project: Encounters with Psychedelics