Architecture of Agonism from the Kitchen Table to the City Street. As a series of talks, workshops, actions, and playful experiments, Discourse and Discord aims to explore the structures or "architectures" - whether the built environment, online protocols, songs.
In an era of cultural conservatives and the liberal elite, Occupiers and Tea Partiers, civil uprisings and government crackdowns, perhaps the one point of agreement today is there's no shortage of disagreement. But if that's true, then why isn't there more debate—not online flame wars, not the televised jockeying of political candidates, not hollow calls for unanimity, but genuine, full-throated dialog.
That question was a starting point for this three-day symposium on agonism in the public sphere, co-presented by the Walker Art Center and Northern Lights.mn. A term unfamiliar to many, agonism describes an approach to politics that embraces difference and disagreement as an important part of democracy.
As a series of talks, workshops, actions, and playful experiments, Discourse and Discord aims to explore the structures or "architectures"—whether the built environment, online protocols, songs, or recipes—that can draw people together for the serious task of dialogue and debate. It also reinforces the notion that democracy thrives on and even requires an agonistic foundation: the friction of varied publics and participation by people of different mindsets, views, and beliefs.
Symposium events include:
Mack Lecture: In Dialogue: Krzysztof Wodiczko and John Rajchman
Thursday, April 12, 7pm
A conversation on art, design, and agonistic democracy with artist Krzysztof Wodiczko and philosopher-theorist John Rajchman.
Conversation: Structures for Discord
Friday, April 13, 10 am–12 noon
Designer Carl DiSalvo, artist Marisa Jahn, computer scientist Warren Sack, and architect Mark Shepard discuss agonism as a political philosophy and the channeling of discord. During the conversation, the D+D Tweet Choir will translate selected tweets from the audience into an interrogatory chorus.
Pecha Kucha: From the Table to the Streets
Friday, April 13, 3–5pm
A rapid-fire presentation of projects oriented to public space, including recent recipients of Art(ists) on the Verge commissions, and a range of artists and academics.
Friday, April 13–Saturday, April 14
Team up with a media theorist, designer, landscape architect, choir director, and other experts from across the country for a unique hands-on approach to exploring the architecture of agonism. Workshops include: Embodying Agonism (Warren Sack), Harmony from Discord (Jacquie Fuller and Molly Balcom Raleigh), Engaging the Avenue: Agonistic Tactics for Social Design (Carl DiSalvo and Carl Skelton).
Voices in Residence: Prairie Fire Lady Choir
Featured throughout the symposium
Jacquie Fuller and Molly Balcom Raleigh draw on their experience in "creating harmony through discord" to lead informal vocal and choral expressions with participants of the symposium.
Publication: Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition
A new book and deck of cards by Marisa Jahn explores the productive possibilities of agonism. Illustrated in black and blue—the colors of a good bruise—Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition brings together writings by interdisciplinary thinkers, artists, scientists, CEOs, crackpots, war strategists, psychotherapists, and philosophers who raise questions about the importance of political dissent, the function of discord in discourse, the rules of escalating conflict, the roles of parasites within systems, and more. Download a PDF of the book at www.rev-it.org.
Lectures will be webcast live and archived on the Walker Channel at channel.walkerart.org. Full program information is available at walkerart.org.
Mack Lectures are made possible by generous support from Aaron and Carol Mack. Additional support is provided by the Jerome Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and US CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative.
Walker Art Center
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