Posts Tagged ‘ghost’

Call for Papers: Absence. Materiality, embodiment, resistance.

Friday, December 18th, 2009

I am happy to announce that I will be co-organizing a session at next year’s RGS-IBG conference in London (September 1-3). Here is the text of the call for papers:

Convenors: Lars Frers (University of Oslo); Lars Meier (Institute for Employment Research, Nürnberg); Erika Sigvardsdotter (Uppsala University)

What is missing, for whom and why? How does that, which is absent, relate to the things and people that are present? In this session we wish to engage with the intersections of the material and emotional qualities of absence, focussing on the fact that absence is all but a void, manifesting itself in concrete places, people and things; that it is embodied and enacted.
To feel something’s absence, it needs to be part of a temporal pattern, it has to be a part of what is expected; something that used to be present. A factory is shut down, workers gone, and with them the sounds and smells of work. Yet all of these sensual experiences may be evoked by a whiff of a machine’s scent, by a familiar chink or a rusty tool laying around. Exploring the materiality of absence, we want to improve the understanding of how remembrances of things past and people gone are realized in things and people present. Establishing absence may also be part or result of power-related negotiations. As legal residuals of border regulation, irregular migrants are absent in a jurisdiction; off the grid, uncountable and unable to complain if abused or exploited. Yet, their presence is unquestionable. Although being able to exercise that presence may be a long term goal, absence – from conspicuous places, from view and immigration officer’s radars, can be a situational tactic necessary for their survival. However, managing absence, controlling the traces and the materialities that might make the absent present can also be a long-term strategy. Research into climate change can be understood as work trying to overcome the resistance of the material by digging up traces that show that something is there even it may usually be absent.
The absence–presence ambivalence can be worked in various ways; a presence suggesting the absent, the seemingly absent becoming present in flesh and blood, or as a merely suggested, ghostlike presence.

Possible session topics:

  • Remembrances: Emotions, memory and the materiality of absence.
  • Contestations of what and who is absent/present.
  • Practices and the managing of absence.

In the session, we want to discuss different characteristics of absence and their interrelations. To achieve this we will focus on concrete experiences and examples of absence and we welcome presentations that display the sensual and material qualities of absence.

Please submit a 300 word abstract for a 20 minute presentation (including title, presenter’s name and affiliation) before 31st January 2010 to:

Echte Gespenster.

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Der neue Film von Christian Petzold lief vor einiger Zeit in den Kinos. Eine bestimmte sehr persönliche Stimmung hat für mich schon den Film Die innere Sicherheit ausgemacht. Auch in Gespenster ist eine junge Frau die Hauptfigur, eine Frau, die eine große Distanz zu ihrer Umwelt hat, die vorsichtig ist sich umschaut und zögernd durch’s Leben geht. Die Art der Regie, die Kamera und die zurückhaltenden Dialoge zusammen mit den sehr guten Schauspielerinnen machen es möglich, sich in die Ängste und Hoffnungen des Mädchens Nina einzufühlen. Gleichzeitig behalten Handlung und Charaktere etwas mystisches. Mir hat es sehr gut gefallen. Ein Film, den ich weiterempfehlen kann.
IMDb entry