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With What Must a Journal That Will Not Be Read Begin?

A fundraising appeal

What is Cured Quail?Cured Quail is a journal of critical theory that takes seriously the aesthetic, social and conceptual problems of literacy. By literacy we don’t mean simply the ability to read and write. Rather, Cured Quail poses the question of illiteracy as a historically specific hindrance to fully experiencing the words on a page, the patience of an idea, or the particulars of a work of art. Cured Quail is concerned with discussions on culture, philosophy, political economy and modern and contemporary art, featuring critical essays, reviews, polemics, interviews, and other formats.However, as our commencing editorial describes, the redundancy of already existing publications devoted to the nomenclature society-art-culture presents us with a challenge; foremost derived from the experiential chasm nourished by the refreshing content of curated feeds that in its rapid-fire shots of interest prepares any but the most recondite reader for a diet of distraction.We thereby ask ourselves: what does it take to be convincingly exceptional? While shouting toward a mural depicting a cave we’d like to assure the potential reader we haven’t expected an echo. This suits the editorial board of Cured Quail and the crux from which we will write and our writers will write, and from which we now entreat your support for the necessary funding to print our inaugural volume.For the thought and readership of Cured Quail—like everything else today—money stands as the transcendental condition for the possibility of experience. Your support will help finance a first run of Cured Quail Volume 1.

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Fund-raising appeal: Cured Quail

Johnny B.

January 8, 2017 — Leave a comment

Johnny B.

I read John Berger―no. I read over John Berger. No, not even that, not quite. I slowly scan through the pages and investigate his words, returning to favourite passages and devouring new ones. I try to find what it is that makes these such a pleasure to read. I come to realise it is not the use of words alone―aberrant, disconcertingly, urgent and mute. No, it is not the use of the beautiful words. For all the joy I derive from encountering these, there is something in the mastery of their use, something in the way in which they have been moulded, crafted, slowly taken over. There is something in these words that radiates, in glaring lucidity, how they have travelled from afar to land onto the page, and how they have done so slowly. Slow: this great, unreachable luxury of a time that devours and diminishes; a time of so much action yet so little interaction where, from skimming through a text to skirmishing with the police, there is never the depth, never quite the prolonged quality that will turn the fleetingness of an ever-nonsensical moment into the substance of a coherent present.


Against the electric-like shock and violence of the current, Berger was the grounding: a serene reminder to stop if we are to ferociously act in any meaningful way. I pause. I find myself unable to put together any further thoughts. I listen to one of the last recordings, I suspect perhaps even the last one; an audio-recorded interview with a frail John Berger calling in from a Parisian suburb somewhere. A broken voice that pauses longer than the usual. I quickly travel back to a long Greek summer evening, back home, when I had the pleasure of taking a similar call myself. A request for a written interview turned down in the most humble of ways. “In transcribing an interview”, you tell me, “there is so much that is lost”. Pause. “There are the gestures”. Another pause. “There is the significance of the pauses, of the silences”. The sturdiness of a sonorous voice wrapped in a fleeting French accent: “Do you see?” I do see. A text, then? A text it will be.


A text that was―as always―not like most. I read it over. There is something in these seemingly fragmented notes that brings together the hard-to-remove packaging of modern-day commodities, the calculated rigidity of modern work, the Goulag, undocumented Mexicans in the States, and a young girl learning how to swim in a municipal indoor swimming pool. The images are jotted down in a stream of consciousness; separate but not fragmented, they come together to sketch out the great mystery of experiencing freedom in our prison-like world. Their prose, weaving fragments into a constant, has the serenity of playing punk music and the viciousness of painting a portrait. Their energy smells nothing of an auditorium. It reminds me of the scent of a favourite basement, where friends come together every now and then to enjoy the rawness of an improvised gig.


Friends tell me a sense of loss is near-irrational for someone your age. Of this I am not sure. I have now stood enough on this planet as it orbits around the sun to have witnessed what might very well be, statistically speaking (if this is even a fathomable quality), my fair share of loss. From the utterly unexpected―the loss of a dear childhood friend―to what would, I imagine, count as the “expected”: the departure of those up in the genealogical line. What is rational, anticipated or logical in the timing of our loss? There is of course the calculation of biology, the linearity of life, its trajectory, the timing of its end. But what remains of life when you break these linearities and trajectories apart? The timing becomes irrelevant. It would never be too soon or too late to say goodbye. Still, there is something deeply poetic in losing you at this moment of utter absence of meaning, when time whizzes so agonizingly fast, leaving us struck, frozen.


In the days passed since your passing, Athens has descended into a paralysing cold; vehicles coming to near-halt on its roads, passers-by evaporating from its pavements. Our freezing city might be trying to freeze time. I think it might even be trying to say goodbye.


Punk painter of words, prophet of the present: so long, so beautifully long, Johnny B._

The (in)hospitable city: spaces of co-existence and exclusion.

Thursday December 15, 5.30, room D28 at the Gallos campus. Department of Sociology, University of Crete. Postgraduate programme of studies in Sociology.

  • Reggina Mantanika, Université Paris Diderot – Paris 7
    (border policies)
  • Antonis Vradis, Loughborough University
    (Hotspot, Lesbos)
  • Loukia Kotronaki, Panteion University
    (City Plaza occupation, Athens)
  • Samy Alexandridis, University of Crete
    (migrant movements, Chania)

Two Fully funded PhD studentships in the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences

PhD applications on Space and Communication – Loughborough University

The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University (CRCC) welcomes applicants for ESRC funded doctoral studentships in Communication and Media.

The CRCC is a large, interdisciplinary research centre that has been at the forefront of research in the field internationally for twenty five years. The CRCC has a large, vibrant and cosmopolitan post-graduate community working on a range of subjects in the fields of sociology, media and cultural studies, social psychology and geography.

Dr Antonis Vradis (Geography) would be particularly keen to support applications from students with an interest or expertise in the intersection of space and communication, with a particular focus in one of the following areas:

  • Critical urban studies at a time of crisis, including but not limited to both the communication and representation as much as the actual marginalisation of urban populations; the shifting representations of public space and the communication of dissent and the right to protest in cities across Europe.
  • Critical migration studies, particularly on the dynamics of dominant and mainstream representation of the current migration wave in Europe and the transformations of media, state and other institutions in the process. Research here could lead up from Transcapes (http://transcapes.net), the ESRC/DFID grant where Vradis acts as PI.
  • Social movement studies, including the portrayal and representation of grassroots social innovation, alternative currencies and grassroots resistance in face and in spite of the prevalence of neoliberal policies in Europe. Research here would relate to PURSI (pursi) the ESRC Urban Transformations project where Vradis acts as Co-I.
  • Contemporary Brazilian social and spatial studies, with a particular focus on the representation and the lived experience of the country’s marginalised urban populations and its communication in the mainstream, in the midst of the country’s currently unfolding crisis.

For further information or to discuss your proposal, please contact Antonis Vradis at a.vradis [ a t ] lboro.ac.uk.

The CRCC leads the communication and media pathway of the ESRC Midlands Graduate School doctoral training partnership, a consortium of six research intensive universities based in the English Midlands. Full details of how to apply can be found here:
www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/mgsdtp/

Co-organised with my colleague Yorgos Mattes as part of our research project, Police Science in Digital Environments, funded by Greece’s Research Centre for the Humanities in 2016. Our other research collective, Transcapes, will also partake in the conference, which will take place at Athens University’s Department of Philosophy and History of Science (Lecture B at UoA’s Zografou Campus) on December 7, 2016 from 5 to 9pm. Programme follows (in Greek).

Continue Reading…

via OpenDemocracy

Trump is the logical culmination of a culture: the narrator of a democratic apparatus that has come to conceal itself behind the mother of all TV shows: the US Presidency.”

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President Barack Obama and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at Maximos Mansion in Athens, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Press Association. All rights reserved.

Yesterday, as I began to write these lines, Air Force One was descending on Athens’ airport, bringing the US President to our city: not the delirious orange-haired one, but the One Still There Even Though Most Of US Have Forgotten He Is Actually Still In Charge. Obama, the liberal darling of so many inside and beyond the US border, is the president under whose watch 2.5 million people were deported – more than any other US president in history and directly comparable to the “2-3 million” pledged by Trump.

Under Obama, the US has continued and excelled in its business-as-usual war, carnage and destruction the world over. But admittedly, under his watch this hell was now delivered with some impeccable puns, flawless speeches, making us feel warm inside and a sense of humility we can all relate to. Right?

A superstar, a great showman of a President? Check. But Trump is also those exact same things – perhaps in many ways more skilful than the Great Man himself: Trump read into the anguish of millions and tapped into it before the liberal elite had time to utter “let us respect and uphold the values of the US constitution”, or some gibberish of that kind.

Trump is the logical culmination of a culture that commenced with Obama: a complete and utter reliance upon the single showman (and yes, it will be a man) as the narrator of a democratic apparatus that has come to conceal itself behind the mother of all TV shows: the US Presidency. Continue Reading…

via Verso Books

There was a time when the world felt like an ocean of normality, bar your occasional pocket of carnage and destruction: I am talking way, way back in early 2016. Up until that time the Greek territory was hailed or vilified (depending on how you would see it) as one of these unruly exceptions, an impressive outlier that would grip so many to the point of coming to experience it first-hand. Upon descending in Athens, these far-flung visitors would invariably comment on how eerily peaceful it all was: cars were still driving up and down streets strikingly devoid of any enormous craters spitting out lava or fire. Despite the crisis, people were still walking around peacefully, not running nor screaming in agony. The fact that the signature Athenian cafés and bars were still in their place would become the object of scorn, something of a proof that the crisis was not much more than a bloated exaggeration on the side of us unruly Southerners who had it too good to let things change now.

Roads, pavements and street lamps (minus the odd defunct one, it must be told) were also still there: an impressive feat for those who had been caught in the swarm of the apocalyptic-talk, seemingly believing an austerity package (or three) ought to create, right there and then, an enormous rupture in the ground that would instantly swarm the screaming thousands, syphon them in and spit them out into a new urban streetscape of endlessly burning cars, knocked-down buildings, vacant lots and the smell of sulphur only just overshadowing the roar coming from the tilting ground as the next legal package was being voted in parliament: you get the picture. Continue Reading…

via society and space. Part of the forum “Governing mobility through European Hotspot Centres.”

 

On a quiet spring morning on the promenade of the port of Mytilene, on the Greek island of Lesbos, a strange sight caught our attention: flying high on a mast just inside the port gates were two peculiarly selected flags, the French and the Finnish. Perhaps something of a random choice, maybe even a computer error picking up the two EU member-states starting with an “F”, we joked at that time. But a few hours later, during our meeting with the European Commission’s representative on the island as part of our research on the migration crisis, the record was put painstakingly straight: far from a mistake, this was a strategic choice ahead of the visits of the French and the Finnish ambassadors to Greece to the island that week.

The Office of the Commission stationed in Mytilene was tasked with presenting these two state representatives with a pristine image of the hotspot on the island: the image of some seemingly unhindered and seamless operation of the hotspot, along with all of its ancillary mechanisms. Like salespeople charged with selling a future car model, or real estate agents promoting an apartment through a brochure while construction is still taking place, the Mytilene-stationed officials have been commissioned with convincing EU member-state representatives of the efficiency of the hotspot while the mechanism itself is still under construction. Continue Reading…

Joining Loughborough

September 15, 2016 — Leave a comment

I am excited to have joined Loughborough’s Geography Department as Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow as of last week – one of the five that have been recruited across the entire University. The fantastic post comes with fully-funded, nationality/residence-free PhD studentship – do consider applying if you want to join a great cohort of critical geographers in the East Midlands!

The last 2,5 years at Durham have been absolutely wonderful. I will of course still be working with Joe Painter, Sue Lewis, Paul Langley and Colin McFarlane on the PUrSI project – and looking forward to the projects to come!

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