Taksim, Tahrir, Occupy & Co
Session 2: Visuality and Urban Space

Thursday, 26 November 2015

The second event in a Lab Talk series in collaboration with Dr. Nadine Godehardt, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik / German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) focussing on the interdependencies between urban space, society and international politics in times of crisis

Part 1: Welcome and Introduction
Hans-Jürgen Commerell, Director, ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin - 00:00:00 - 00:03:17
Christoph Geisler, Deputy Director, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin -
00:03:18 - 00:09:54


Dr. Nadine Godehardt, Deputy Head of Research Division Asia, SWP, Berlin - 00:09:55 - 00:19:27


Part 2: Presentations
Prof. Peter Mörtenböck, Professor for Visual Culture, Goldsmiths College, London - 00:04:33 - 00:20:30
Dan Garrett, PhD candidate, City University of Hong Kong, political scientist, visual sociologist and former career US national security professional - 00:21:03 - 00:40:54
Dr. David Shim, Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations and International Organization, University of Groningen - 00:41:18 - 00:51:25

Part 3: Panel Discussion
Panel Discussion - 00:00:00 - 00:50:20
moderated by Dr. Andrea Despot, Deputy Head of the European Academy, Berlin

The following Front-Row Peers accompanied and furthered the discussion:
Dr. Muriel Asseburg, SWP, Berlin
Christopher de la Garza, Corporate Designer, Hemispheres Graphic Novel, Potsdam
Dr. Rune Saugmann, University of Tampere
Roman Wilhelm, Graphic Designer, Berlin

Video Screening: Hemispheres Graphic Novel, Potsdam

This second event concentrated on specific ways of political articulation, particularly regarding the visualization of urban spaces during civil resistance incidents and protests. After all, protest movements in everyday urban spaces are directly visualized through photographs, video clips and artwork (protest logos, street art etc.) that is usually produced by the demonstrators. The digital sharing of these visuals on social media ‘virtualizes’ and instantly ‘internationalizes’ these spaces. Consequently, the protests in Egypt, Istanbul or Hong Kong are not only visible but also accessible for everyone everywhere. Thus, we have protest communities on the ground and growing digital communities that not only facilitate the immediate production and transportation of news (in form of visual imagery and others) from distant places to our home and to our national governments but also lay the ground for interaction among protesters and between protesters and non-protesters. Further questions: Is it possible to identify spatial characteristics that provide spaces with the potential to transform from ‘everyday’ to ‘icon of international politics’? How does the distribution of these visual representations in social media influence the style of protests and demonstrations? And to what extent does the visualization of protest movements affect the discussion on the control of digital information?

BACKGROUND: The series
Incidents on everyday urban spaces increasingly raise global attention. Civil resistance and protest movements frequently occupy public squares, financial and governmental districts or central city parks. People demonstrate against their national governments or join into spontaneously organized protests in support of (inter-)national issues. Images of demonstrations on Tahrir Square in Egypt (2011), Taksim Square in Turkey (2013), the Maidan in Ukraine (2013-4), of Occupy Wall Street (2011), the Sunflower-Movement in Taipei (2014), the Umbrella-Revolution in Hong Kong (2014) or the Pegida-Movement in Dresden (2015) strongly influence the global understanding of specific (inter-)national actors and crises situations. Everyday urban places are in the process of becoming icons of international politics that are interpreted very differently depending on the chosen viewpoint (European, Russian, Chinese, Media, Politics, etc.). They reveal new forms of political articulation that underscore the intertwining of everyday and international politics.

This Lab Talk series is a collaboration with the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and generously supported by the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, Hamburg, and by the Forum Ebenhausen e.V. (Freundeskreis der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP).


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