"Tight clusters of traditional mud-brick-and-palm houses have stood for centuries in Ghadames, a pre-Roman oasis town in the Sahara. Rooftop walkways allowed women to move freely, concealed from men’s view" (NatGeo).
ATROPOS: A TOPOLOGY OF DISASTER
A One-Day Event of Speculative Fiction, Collaborative Storytelling and Aesthetico-Ethical Creation
Open Call for Participation // August 10, 2013 // OISE – University of Toronto
curated by Department of Biological Flow
Atropos: one of the three Greek goddesses of fate and destiny, the eldest of the sisters, the one known as both inflexible and inevitable. It was Atropos who determined the end of life for each mortal by cutting their thread with a pair of shears. Mortality: one is alive and spinning a fibre at one moment, only to receive an untimely severance the next.
But this is not to gender the forthcoming disaster. Rather, we are interested in exploring the potential of the cut itself: its tempo, decisiveness, beauty and trauma—in short, its gesture. We approach disaster as a woven and folded tapestry of relations rather than as an accumulation of solitary threads, complicating the idea of a single fateful cut in the process. We suggest that while some cuts are more surgical and others more ragged, affirmative potentials may be found within each context.
Finally, we understand that the disaster is not some unknown future to come. It is already here—not forthcoming, but instead coming forth: the spectre of Atropos writ large over planetary destiny as an increasingly forceful precondition of the everyday. Collective imagination as gravitational force.
How does the artist or thinker respond as the blades slowly close?
The Department of Biological Flow invites artists, thinkers, movers, activists and healers to participate in a one-day event of research-creation titled Atropos: A Topology of Disaster. While we will be engaging the topic of disaster as a potential throughout the day, this is meant to be an affirmative opportunity for imagination rather than one of nihilism and violence: various creative activities will take place during the workshop, and beyond that there are some secret twists which we won’t reveal until the event proper.
There is no fee to attend, save for some sort of contribution to a communal luncheon we will enjoy together as a group that day. The event is being graciously hosted by Dr. Stephanie Springgay, who studies contemporary art and pedagogy in the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning program at OISE.
installation of hand-cut acid-free paper, foam board, glue
42” x 35” x 30”
A sphere lit from the top, four sides, and all their combinations
Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt)
Ocho cuadrados [Eight Squares]
welded and painted iron
66 15/16” x 25 3/16” x 15 3/4”
pen drawing on parchment
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"Let us try to understand in the simplest terms how space escapes the limits of its striation. At one pole, it escapes them by declination, in other words, by the smallest deviation, by the infinitely small deviation between a gravitational vertical and the arc of a circle to which the vertical is tangent. At the other pole, it escapes them by the spiral or vortex, it other words, a figure in which all the points of space are simultaneously occupied according to laws of frequency or of accumulation, distribution; these laws are distinct from the so-called laminar distribution corresponding to the striation of parallels. From the smallest deviation to the vortex there is a valid and necessary relation of consequence: what stretches between them is precisely a smooth space whose element is declination and which is peopled by a spiral. Smooth space is constituted by the minimum angle, which deviates from the vertical, and by the vortex, which overspills striation. The strength of Michel Serres’s book is that it demonstrates this link between the clinamen as a generative differential element, and the formation of vortices and turbulences insofar as they occupy an engendered smooth space; in fact, the atom of the ancients, from Democritus to Lucretius, was always inseparable from a hydraulics, or a generalized theory of swells and flows. The ancient atom is entirely misunderstood if it is overlooked that its essence is to course and flow. The theory of atomism is the basis for a strict correlation between Archimedean geometry (very different from the striated and homogeneous space of Euclid) and Democritean physics (very different from solid or lamellar matter). The same coincidence means that this aggregate is no longer tied in any way to a State apparatus, but rather to a war machine: a physics of packs, turbulences, “catastrophes,” and epidemics corresponding to a geometry of war, of the art of war and its machines. Serres states what he considers to be Lucretius’s deepest goal: to go from Mars to Venus, to place the war machine in the service of peace. But this operation is not accomplished through the State apparatus; it expresses, on the contrary, an ultimate metamorphosis of the war machine, and occurs in smooth space.”
— Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 489
(via fractal ontology)