Posts Tagged ‘presentation’

Opening, Closing, and Revolving – Studies in Doorology.

Monday, February 6th, 2006

Things are working out very well conference-wise: the abstract I submitted for the panel on Everyday stuff: narrating the social lives of material objects of the annual meeting of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (CSAA) in Toronto, May 30th – June 2nd, has just been accepted. The abstract:

This contribution will unfold the life of an artifact on the border: the door. Based on field observations and digital video recordings of doors and their use in railway and ferry terminals I want to present the door as an entity that participates in the everyday lives of commuters and travelers, old and young, men and women. The door has many aspects that make it a very peculiar and highly interesting object of study for researchers in the social sciences. One of the most prominent aspects is its inherent duality – it is one of the most basic devices of exclusion and inclusion. It can be inviting and open but it can also shut out the unwelcome or unable. The door establishes a visual and material barrier that has to be taken to access whatever lies on the other side. But the door also is a mundane technological artifact with quite specific properties depending on the way it is designed. Sliding doors make up a very thin barrier while revolving doors cover a large amount of space. Doors may work automatically or be pushed and pulled by the hands, feet and shoulders of the people that walk or roll trough them. The presentation will focus on the way in which the life of different kinds of doors is intertwined with the lives of the people that use them. Some of the stories that will be told are linear narrations that talk about reaching a goal lying far away from the door itself. Other stories will be of a more Kafkaesque nature – they will revolve around doors that confront some people with a weakness they probably do not like to display in public while others pass through seemingly undisturbed, pursuing their everyday lives and ignoring the door as an entity with its own curious life. Telling these stories, the presentation will alternate between talk, the showing of video clips, and still photographs of doors or the people using them. Particular focus will be put on the social reconfigurations that happen in contact with the door.

The only backdraw is the funding. I do not have any money to pay for the flight and the conference fees. To my shock, the four month deadline for the German Research Foundation’s (DFG) conference grants has passed one week ago. Perhaps they will accept a late submission, but probably not. I’ll have to look for other sources, which probably won’t be easy to find…

Moving through the terminal – Investigations into material practices.

Monday, January 30th, 2006

My proposal for the session on Landscape, Mobility and Practice has been accepted, allowing me to participate in the annual conference of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) in London. Following is the abstract on which my presentation will be based:

This presentation will accompany people who use railway and ferry terminals, demonstrating how the materiality of these terminals interacts with people’s movements, their bodies and perceptions. The terminal itself is located at an intriguing juncture between travel and rest, between movement and pause. It is both a place of rushing through and of lingering or loitering. Based on ethnographic observations and many hours of video recordings, both subtle details of bodily arrangement and spatial relations on the scale of the terminal as a whole are examined from a phenomenological perspective. How do the practices of people in the terminal reconfigure the socio-spatial constellations that permeate these places? How does the rigidity of walls, rails, gangways and doors participate in the production of localised normalities? These questions will be answered by examining sensual experiences and material practices. Perceiving their environment by sight, hearing, smell and touch, opening doors, managing bodily movements, interacting with machines, displays and people – a wide array of subtle but powerful practices produces the dynamic socio-spatial setting that is the terminal.

I am very happy to finally be visiting London – the city about which I read more than about any other city, but that I never visited in spite of the relative ease of getting there. So many novels, so many remembrances about a place I have never seen with my own eyes…

Multimedia ahoy.

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

Frers Productions is proud to present: Perception, Aesthetics and Envelopment a video recording and the outline of my talk at our post-graduate college’s concluding conference. Thanks to Lars Meier for recording it – and of course for co-hosting the session, thanks to the rest of the grandiose organization team of the conference and thanks of course to the other participants of the Larses’ panel Urban Spaces and Private Quarters for a good and constructive discussion.

I was made aware of a two people who developed similar ideas to the concept of envelopment: Georg Simmel (could have thought of that myself, since I read and even lectured about the relevant essay on Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben several times. The other hint was on the term personal bubbles which seems to be used quite frequently in the anglo-american world – I am still looking for more info on this term, but it seems that it carries some different connotations. Furthermore, I don’t think of the envelope as something that can burst or pop like a bubble. It is more like a field or sphere or a ball of cotton. Nonetheless, good to know about it. Another idea came back to me later: Richard Sennett, of course, has also talked about a sphere of comfort that is produced in city of today in the book that still has the most pivotal influence on my current work: Flesh and Stone.

Back to the title: I have embedded the video into the new page using valid XHTML code without any fiddling & CSS tricksing. That means that the embedded video won’t be displayed in all browsers though. I would be very happy to hear about the cases where it does / doesn’t work – please write a comment (if you have been a lurker until today: you can write a comment by clicking on the ‘x notes’ link below) and tell me about it. In case the embedded stuff does not work, one can just download the .mp4 file and then play it. I would like to hear about the minimum requirements for playing this, too (for example, I have no idea what version of Windows Media Player is required for playing this file).

Automatic Irritations.

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Following is my abstract for the session Ordering / Disordering Space and Matter of the 2006 Meeting of the AAG, March 7-11, Chicago, Illinois.

Based on ethnographic research in railway stations and passenger terminals for ferries, this paper wedges itself between people and the things they encounter. Detailed analysis of digital video recordings allows insight into the brief exchanges between men, women and artifacts. Sometimes, these exchanges do not unfold as planned, irritations arise and expectations are thwarted causing a reordering of conduct. Artifacts like the ticket selling machine or the materiality of a revolving door can break established routines thereby opening spaces for play or interaction with others. Terminals with their ticket selling counters, their shops and waiting facilities are places of a distinct phenomenologically accessible materiality; this paper will get involved in this materiality, tracing the relations between people, things, and socio-spatial constellations to understand how the rule of a certain normality is established in terminals and when and how it is destabilized.

Abstract for Negotiating Urban Conflicts.

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

The following text summarizes what I currently think I will talk about in the upcoming conference Negotiating Urban Conflicts this April. If this sounds interesting to you – take a look at the even more exciting multitude of other talks held by people from far away places like Singapore, Nigeria, India, Russia and other countries from around the globe! And come to attend. This is it:

Conflicts take place in concrete environments. This talk will explore some of the subtle processes that channel conflicts into specific paths. Where these paths are leading to and what might happen while following them is influenced by certain spatial relations and by the materiality of urban places. The placement of things, the way visibility is established or barred, the closing or accessibility of areas, the marking of territorial boundaries – all of these aspects of built space participate in the production of human action in the city. Drawing on ethnographies of the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, of railway stations, and of passenger terminals in harbors, this talk will focus on the processes through which normalities are produced by tangible socio-spatial constellations. These places are centrally located and of a high symbolic and economic importance; the strategic socio-spatial constellations channeling human action in these places will be exposed in this talk.

Been busy, having visitors.

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

Last week I had a presentation at the post-grad college (which went reasonably well, as I might discuss in more detail in another post), over the weekend I’ve been in Hamburg, and yesterday I came back together with my mom, whose Windows machine I am currently de-sassering… Soon!


Sunday, January 25th, 2004

This weekend I will not indulge myself in any work/science related activities anymore. The presentation on Friday went well, I am motivated to continue, but first I will enjoy the wintry whiteness outside through my windows. Hehe.

PS: Happy birthday Tino!

My first multimedia presentation.

Thursday, December 4th, 2003

At the end of the last semester I gave an oral presentation in the seminar “Space, Place, Power” offered by Helmuth Berking and Martina Löw – today I put the presentation file that I used on this server in form of a QuickTime movie file. (Of course I made the presentation with Apple’s Keynote, not with Microsoft’s PowerPoint, therefore the export to QuickTime’s .mov format is no hassle; if you cannot install the QuickTime Player on your machine or .mov don’t work for some other reason you should contact me.) It may be a bit spartanic and not too informative without an audio commentary. However, I want to wait until the college gets the microphones we ordered recently before I record the audio. Otherwise I would have to rely on the internal microphone of my PowerBook or the tacky headset that I have at home and there would be a lot of noise in the recording. So, if you’re interested take a look at it, otherwise it might be wise to wait a bit until I have done the audio (at that point I might also use a different format such as .mp4 or some such thing). As soon as that is done I will reannounce it here and then post links to the file on my static pages concerning my dissertation.

The presentation itself was intended to be a methodological and theoretical statement or manifesto. It succeeded, and we had a very lively discussion in the seminar, which helped me to orient myself and my project.

Productive travelling.

Friday, July 4th, 2003

During today’s railroading from Berlin to Frankfurt I suffered a real outburst of productivity. Being ignorantly creative, I had to hastily stuff my stuff into my bag so that I wouldn’t miss leaving the train on time at Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof. How could that happen? What did I do? I read all the exposés for this and last week (ok, this doesn’t sound too exciting) and I made an outline for my presentation at the colloquium Space, Place, Power, offered by Martina Löw and Helmuth Berking. But what’s even more astonishing: I also prepared my first presentation via laptop+projector (using Apple’s Keynote, not Microsoft Powerpoint, as you hopefully would have guessed). So, people at the colloquium will witness my first dabblings into digital presentation technology.
Formwise, I will be following established standards. Contentwise, I will try to do a Different Thing™. Stay tuned for more information. I will probably put the presentation online after I gave it. Perhaps in a “Manifesto” style…