Two observations about contemporary culture have become commonplace in recent years. On the one hand, the claim that we are living through a social revolution, driven by technological c
hange, is virtually accepted as a truism. On the other hand, the apparent slowdown of rates of actual innovation in fields such as music and fashion is also widely observed; Simon Reynolds’ diagnosis of ‘retromania’ as the contemporary condition has been widely appreciated, for example. Can we understand both of these phenomena as symptomatic of a world in which the hegemony of Silicon Valley forces certain kinds of innovation while retarding and containing others? And what can we do about it?
Jeremy Gilbert is Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at the University of East London. He is the author of Anti-Capitalism & Culture: Radical Theory & Popular Politics (Berg, 2008) and Common Ground: Democracy & Collectivity in an Age of Individualism (Pluto, 2013). He is also editor of the journal New Formations.
Open School East
The Rose Lipman Building
43 De Beauvoir Rd
London N1 5SQ
CCSR in association with Guerrilla Zoo is proud to present a special screening of Kill Your Darlings and Q&A with film director and co-writer John Krokidos.
Ginsberg. Kerouac. Burroughs. And Lucien Carr. The last name may be less familiar, but the real-life character was the linchpin who first brought together these three icons of American literary and cultural revolution in a galvanizing drama of murder and obsession.
Shot from a script by director Krokidas and Austin Bunn, KILL YOUR DARLINGS features a compelling young ensemble that includes Daniel Radcliffe (the Harry Potter series) as the young Allen Ginsberg, Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Jack Kerouac, Ben Foster (The Messenger) as William S. Burroughs, Dane DeHaan (In Treatment) as Lucien Carr and Michael C. Hall (Dexter) as David Kammerer. Rounded out by a supporting cast that includes Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Margot at the Wedding), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and David Cross (Arrested Development), KILL YOUR DARLINGS delivers a picture of the nascent Beat Generation that we‘ve never seen before, and tells the true story of the emotional crucible that shaped its voice and vision.
Docklands Campus, Main Lecture Theatre, University Way, E16 2RD
We live in an epoch of personal choice, hyper-mobility, celebrity-worship and fiercely competitive labour markets. But this is also the age of networked communication, of global culture, of Occupy and the new politics of ‘the Commons’.
What are the connections and tensions between such apparently diverse tendencies, and do they help democracy to develop, or render it impossible?
This public seminar, marking the launch of Jeremy Gilbert’s book Common Ground (Pluto Press), will discuss the relationship between collectivity, individuality, affect and agency today, asking whether personal freedom is the great achievement of our era — or if individualism is actually forced on us by capitalist culture, fatally limiting our capacity to solve the problems that we can only solve together.What forms of politics, culture and philosophy might take us beyond the limits of traditional conservatism or banal individualism?
“Ghosts Of My Life confirms that Mark Fisher is our most penetrating explorer of the connections between pop culture, politics, and personal life under the affective regime of digital capitalism. The most admirable qualities of Fisher’s work are its lucidity, reflecting the urgency of his commitment to communicating ideas; his high expectations of popular art’s power to challenge, enlighten, and heal; and his adamant refusal to settle for less.” Simon Reynolds, author of Retromania and Rip It Up and Start Again.
Information and communications technologies have had a profound effect on political activism in the 21st century. In the hybrid space of contemporary cities, movements for social change are co-ordinated through social media and, effectively, take place both on the street and in information space. At the same time, as the Snowden files have revealed, digital communications are routinely monitored by government agencies and military applications of the same technologies facilitate drone surveillance and targeting. In the lead up to our annual lecture, this seminar brings together specialists in the field of social media, activism and surveillance to assess the impact of digital activism and its future development. How is the use of social media changing in the face of increased surveillance? What are the connections between activist and military applications of information technologies? And how do people respond to monitoring and surveillance in daily life? Continue reading Social Media, Activism & Surveillance→
The Centre for Cultural Studies Research at the University of East London is delighted to announce that our annual lecture for 2014 will be given by Glenn Greenwald, who came to the attention of the world in June 2013 as the journalist responsible for the publication of documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents, which were published simultaneously in The Guardian and The Washington Post, revealed the extraordinary extent of US and UK government surveillance of both private citizens and foreign governments. Since then, the UK government has threatened Greenwald with criminal investigation and his partner, David Miranda, has been arrested and held for nine hours while passing through Heathrow airport on the pretext that he was carrying encrypted electronic documents. Greenwald, who is currently living in Brazil, has publicly stated that ‘not being able to visit the UK is not something that I regard as a punishment’. Continue reading Annual Lecture 2014: Glenn Greenwald→
Stuart Hall, the globally-respected and much-loved public intellectual and giant of cultural studies, who has just died, had a huge influence on the development of Sociology and Cultural Studies at the University of East London.
A series of seminars which will take place in Spring, 2014 assessing the impact of the Snowden papers with interventions from scholars in surveillance studies, journalists and hackers. Exploring the world of the ‘dark net’ , visibility and everyday life, surveillance and polity and digital resistance.