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<nettime> imaginary property
Florian Schneider on Sat, 10 May 2008 11:47:42 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> imaginary property

dear nettimers!

below you find the call for applications for a new project i am going
to initiate at Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. please circulate
and forward it to anybody who might be interested.

i hope you allow me to add a few personal remarks before. IMAGINARY
PROPERTY is a concept that can be read in at least two directions:
property produced by imagination, as well as: images turning into
properties. the bourgeois or modern conception of property has been
characterized by anonymity and pure objectivity. the fundament
of western individualism, often characterized as "possessive
individualism" is the ability to "own" something and "own up" to
something. today, in the age of immaterial production, digital
reproduction, and networked distribution - property relations need to
be made visible in order to be enforced. property exists first of all
as imagery and rapidly becomes a matter of imagination.

my work on IMAGINARY PROPERTY began more than two years ago when
i came across a sequence of nine seconds news footage taken by
surveillance cameras of the spanish border police in the night of the
29th september 2005. animated in fast motion these images show how
hundreds of immigrants are climbing with self-made leddars across the
three meter high fences that sorround the spanish enclave of ceuta. in
the following days the news around the globe were gabbling on a "storm
on fortress europe". both, the self-authorized and self-organized
transgression of the border as well as its subsequent scandalization
in the mainstream media refer to a concept of the border that is not
anymore just a demarcation line. it is a border that is performed
through a scandal; it manages its violations rather than ignoring, let
alone preventing, them.

since the very begining i was intrigued by the question of "ownership"
of these images. not in the trivial sense of possession and copyright,
maybe rather in a sense of: what are these images owning up to? what
does it mean to "own" these images? and what could we learn by this
example about the "future of images"?

the project at Jan van Eyck will be presented at a symposium on june
6th, 2008 in Maastricht. invited guest speakers are: anselm franke
(antwerp) and franco berardi bifo (bologna).

if you have any questions, comments and proposals, please do not
hesitate to contact me. i am looking fwd very much to any form of

very best,



Call for applications:

Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht

Imaginary Property, a new research project of the Design department,
initiated by Florian Schneider, aspires to explore new potentials
for design practices across various registers. The project is set up
as a realm of experimentation at the intersections of design-theory
and image-production. It is a laboratory where emerging concepts and
terminologies are set to a series of tests.

What challenges emerge from the paradoxes that research into
‘imaginary property’ has given rise to? How could these
potentially generate new rules of production, bearing in mind that
property relations are constantly exchanging meanings? Against this
background: do we have to rethink and re-evaluate the notion of
‘design’ as such?

The research project Imaginary Property consists of three parts that
are inextricably linked up with each other and are to be addressed
simultaneously rather than consecutively.

The first part is analytical in nature and traces the primarily
non-juridical impact as well as the practical implications of the
concept of ‘imaginary property’ through various disciplines such
as philosophy, psychoanalysis, economics, cybernetics, architecture,
new media and design theory. The analytical part will start off with
a symposium (on 6 June) that shows the scope of the project and its
impact on contemporary design practices. The symposium will bring
about an interview and lecture series in which guest speakers partake.

The second part consists of a series of evaluations and examinations
of experimental design, ‘counter-design’ or ‘re-design’
projects. open-source and free circulation of networked images will be developed
and realized. Supposing that images are the products of struggles
for imagination, this part examines in a practical way how social
relationships are configured, designed and performed in connection
with the images that are supposed to be owned, used and displayed as
one's property.

Imaginary Property deals with the imagination and the redrawing
of social relationships with people who could also use and enjoy
images, modify or alter images, play images or play with images. Is
it possible, practically and conceptually, to (reverse) engineer
‘imaginary property’? How to show highly valuable images and
visualize processes modulations, modifications and unpredictable proliferation? Can a
museum redesign a show and make it or even parts of its collection
freely accessible through the digital public domain? Is it possible
for a political campaign to go fully ‘open
source’? How can such a public release be realized and what would it
actually look like?

Thirdly, the results of the analytical part and the examinations will
be documented more or less in real-time and made accessible on a
multimedia website. The idea is further to make a publication in print
as well as a collaborative, networked video project.

The research project Imaginary Property is looking for design
practitioners who wish to tackle fundamental issues and query
conventions of disciplines such as film, multimedia, web design,
networking and architecture. It further seeks to involve theory-minded
researchers who are not afraid of ‘an image’.

Symposium: 6 June 2008, 4 PM Speakers: Franco Berardi, Anselm Franke,
Florian Schneider

Candidates interested in this project can apply with a research
proposal. Selected candidates gain the position of researcher at the
Design department of the Jan van Eyck Academie.

Deadline applications: 15 June 2008.

The project will start as of Fall 2008.

For application details and form, see:

or contact
leon.westenberg {AT} janvaneyck.nl

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