The Cultural Techniques of Law (17-19 January 2024)

Workshop logo

The deadline for the call for papers has passed, so the workshop itself is now restricted to speakers and presenters. The keynote address by Professor Markus Krajewski is, however, open to all who are interested. If you would like to attend Professor Krajewski’s keynote address but are not a workshop participant, kindly register your interest to do so by filling in this e-form by Monday, 15 January 2024.

Continue reading “The Cultural Techniques of Law (17-19 January 2024)”

Senate Square, Helsinki (19 October 2022)

This is a transcript of how I had intended to present my lengthier paper on Helsinki’s Senate Square at the Workshop Institutional Architecture event organised on 19-20 October 2022 by VU Amsterdam’s Legal Sightseeing project. In the end, the actual oral presentation turned out to be much shorter, so this may clarify some arguments. Thanks to the organisers for having me.

Continue reading “Senate Square, Helsinki (19 October 2022)”

Repurposing GPS devices for fieldwork

A map depicting a walk.
Urban walk (test).

Earlier this year, I was given a present that made my old clunky sports watch redundant. Luckily I didn’t throw it away. Today I started investigating ways in which I could use the old watch to record the basic data of my urban walks in the ‘Seats of Power’ project. The app can seemingly visualise only a minimal amount of data, but perhaps with some tweaking I can make it display everything I deem necessary.

Colonial constituted space as a realm of memory (LSA 2022)

El Zócalo, Mexico City. Photo: unknown.

My paper for the LSA 2022 conference in Lisbon is part of the larger ‘Seats of Power’ project that investigates the spatial dimensions of the political and legal institutions that are typically established in constitutions, a configuration that I have elsewhere called ‘constituted space’. The paper is aligned with the LSA 2022 general theme ‘Rage, Reckoning, & Remedy’ in the sense that it focuses on colonial constituted space. I use the notion of ‘realms of memory’, coined by French historian Pierre Nora, to show how the coloniser’s public architecture and town planning imposed on the former colonies serve as powerful symbolic transplants that perpetuate colonial rule even after decolonisation has been nominally completed with independence. By doing so, colonial realms of memory continue to support inequalities and discriminatory practices that colonialism itself introduced. The paper draws link’s between a critical reading of Nora’s notion of commemorative sites and how Latin American cultural theorists like Néstor García Canclini and Armando Silva discuss the ‘imagined’ quality of urban identities. I use Mexico City as an illustrative example. You can find a pdf version of my full paper ➜ here. I welcome all criticisms and suggestions.

Remembering Ari Hirvonen in Perugia (7 July 2022)

Our beloved friend and colleague Ari Hirvonen passed away a year ago tomorrow. This summer includes a string of events that all celebrate his memory and honour his work.

The first takes place in Italy. Next week, the international Symposium Phaenomenologicum will celebrate its 25th anniversary meeting at the Casa del sacro cuore in Perugia, Umbria. As part of the celebrations, a special session has been dedicated to Ari, a long-time Symposium member. The commemorative session will take place on Thursday, 7 July 2022, from 5.30pm CET to 7.30pm CET. The speakers will discuss Ari’s final book The Ethics of Tragedy (Counterpress, 2020) that you can download from the publisher’s website ➜ here.

The session is chaired by Philippe van Haute, and the speakers include Sami Santanen, Lyat Friedman, Rick Lee, Marcia Cavalcante-Schuback, Cecilia Sjöholm and Simon Critchley. Here ➜ is a Zoom link for participating remotely if you can’t make it to Perugia.

Cornelia Vismann and the cultural techniques of law

Friedrich Kittler.
Friedrich Kittler with computer and library in his apartment in Berlin-Treptow. Photo: M. Lengemann.

This is a presentation that I gave online to my colleagues at a Warwick Law School staff seminar in early March 2022. Most legal theorists will know German legal historian Cornelia Vismann (1961–1980) as an innovative and observant interpreter of continental philosophy, most notably of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida and Pierre Legendre. Vismann’s numerous contributions to the development of so-called German media theory are, however, hardly known among her Anglophone legal peers. Legal theory’s apparent lack of engagements with German media theory is even more surprising if one considers that Vismann’s breakthrough monograph was translated into English as Files: Law and Media Technology (Stanford UP, 2008). This presentation attempts to outline the beginnings of a materialist and anti-hermeneutic framework that is indebted to Vismann as well as to her media theory collaborators. It discusses judicial artefacts such as courthouse designs as cultural techniques, that is, as chains of operations that link together humans, things and media. Continue reading “Cornelia Vismann and the cultural techniques of law”

Law, politics and emptiness

This is my presentation for the Law, Space, Matter online seminar that took place all over the globe on 9 September 2021. Our session was called ‘Law, Politics and Emptiness’, and it was organised and chaired by Dorota Gozdecka. This was developed from material that you may have seen elsewhere.

‘Femicidio es genocidio’ protest in Buenos Aires. Photo: Unknown.

Continue reading “Law, politics and emptiness”