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20 Jun 2014

'But does it float?' A Summer School at The Barber Shop

'But does it float?' A SUMMER SCHOOL


Application deadline:
26th June
From July 28th to August 1st

Margarida Mendes

Rua Rosa Araujo 5

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A summer school at The Barber Shop
28July – 1Aug 2014

Application deadline: 26th June

In the peak of summer, The Barber Shop invites you to an intensive programme dedicated to the investigation of geophilosophy and processes of mattering.

By inquiring into how matter functions as a time capsule or a black box, this programme reflects on our comprehension of geological and planetary frontiers as tools for communal decision-making. While necessarily probing the processes of deterritorialisation and subsequent virtualisation that structure our surroundings, this investigation encompasses also the impact of inhuman forces and nonorganic life in the game at play.

How do we include invisible cartographies and virtual matter in the day-to-day human action? Can we recognize the dimension of deep time as intrinsic to the development of matter, and furthermore of our own cultural actuality? How do we position ourselves within this Anthropocenic moment?

To explore these issues, The Barber Shop invites researchers, writers and artists to lead a series of lectures and group debates over a week period The programme also includes a sound performance, a film night and a collective walk. The sessions will take place daily from 28th July to 1st August, as the afternoon heat fades.


Adrian Lahoud
Godofredo Pereira
Ben Woodard
Jonathan Saldanha
Joana Rafael
Paulo Crawford


deep time, processes of mattering, climatology, territorial fiction, opaque topologies, geophilosophy, sonic resonance, dark matter.


'Ungrounded Life: Natural Complicity and the Conditions of Movement' by Ben Woodard

Examining the depth of the material contingencies between the inorganic and organic registers of the Earth has become commonplace whether in vitalism, New Materialisms, or Media Archeology. The ramifications of such a complicity however, are often made safe for humans whether via an abstract sense of life, affect, or a generic humanist sense of materialism. I wish to argue that such safety can only ever be methodological, that there can be no ultimate separation of ourselves from the grounding forces of the Earth. Through the work of FWJ von Schelling I will argue that an unbound notion of nature allows for a more rigorous articulation of an inhumanism than the strategies mentioned above. This seminar will examine how the geological and the biological (as articulated by Schelling) leads to a naturalistic inhumanism that is a consequence of, and not an exception to, the naturalness of human beings and human thoughts. B.W.

'Underground Fetishism' by Godofredo Pereira

This lecture is an investigation into the underground as a planetary frontier. Focusing a series of resource intensive territories - from the Niger Delta in Nigeria, to the Orinoco Oil Belt in Venezuela and the Atacama Desert in Chile - as paradigmatic cases of an attraction for the underground, the lecture will trace a series of exhumations (from symbolic political leaders and victims of genocide, to geological strata and mineral riches) to unground entangled histories of human rights violations, environmental destruction and resource extraction that result from the quest for El Dorado. Foregrounding the fetishistic relation between objects and the territories of which they are evidence, manifest in the contemporary emergence of geoforensic practices, this lecture will show how exhumations have become increasingly central to the constitution of new territorial imaginations. G.P.

'Floating Bodies' by Adrian Lahoud

In recent decades two major shifts have transformed our understanding of the Earth in relation to the irreversible impact of seven billion human beings. Firstly, we can now look up through the sky and make out the structure of our shared atmosphere, or look down through the ground, making visible the Earth's geologic architectures. Secondly, the barriers of past and present begin being breached, as computational simulations are able to reveal our geo-climatic futures. These two shifts constitute a revolution that is both political and aesthetic, as in revealing the Earth's invisible geometries they link economic activity in one part of the world, to conflicts and devastation in another. However, they do so in ways that reveal how existing legal, political and philosophical resources are ill equipped, as they are built on histories of human experiences that are proximate in time and in space.
This presentation will depart from a case study that links aerosol emission in the Northern Hemisphere to drought and desertification in Africa's Sahel. The argument will suggest that if this case can be seen as a kind of paradigm for new forms of environmental violence – then forums for negotiating climate change might be considered crime scenes.

'Mutually Assured Survival and the reserves of future catastrophe' by Joana Rafael

This talk will examine reserve realities of the nuclear and their proliferation in an ever more extensive network, that envelops other activities and extends towards a permanent, unified and world-scale techno-sphere. These nuclear reserves will be explored in relation to an eschatological economy of salvation that governs attempts to predict, contain and even eradicate the risk of a catastrophic crisis, and the great socio-political, technocratic and cultural frameworks built around this. A specific focus will fall on how their architecture is developed in relation to the governance of risk, being defined by constraints that aim to manage the future and fix natural and historical time, drawing a horizon line that encloses and protects spatial and temporal integrity in order to prevent any contamination that threatens it. The talk will examine how these architectural measures attempt to construct a temetos, an autonomous world, set apart and held in forced stasis. J.R.

'Vibrational Mediations' by Jonathan Saldanha

Presentation and listening session taking on some aspects from Jonathan Saldanha's work, navigating into the realms of resonant choir constructions, visceral mediation of space, black matter and intra-cranial Dub. The conversation will be followed by a listening session operated in a live dub situation were the different pieces are put together to invoke the sonic membranes that connect them. J.S.

'Past and Future of the Universe: the presence of dark matter and the role of dark energy in the expansion of the universe' by Paulo Crawford

If general relativity, Einstein's theory of gravity, is correct, most of the universe is dark. Almost a third of the universe seems to be made of dark matter, some sort of heavy invisible stuff that swarms around galaxies, whose observational evidence is overwhelming. The other two-thirds is in the form of an ethereal ingredient, dark energy, which is repulsive in a way that accelerates the present expansion of the universe. Only about 4 percent of the stuff of the universe is made of the familiar atoms. Should we conclude that we are reaching the limits of general relativity and Einstein's theory is beginning to fail? How all this could affect our notions time and space? P.C.


LOCATION: The Barber Shop Rua Araujo 5, Lisboa.

FEE: 100 Euros. Housing solutions may be suggested for foreign applicants.


CV + portfolio (or 1page description of recent work and research focus).
All applications should be sent by email to:

DEADLINE: 26th June

Invited applicants will be announced in the end of June by email



Adrian Lahoud is an architect and teacher working on concepts of scale and their architectural, urban, and geopolitical consequences. Currently he is leading the M.Arch Urban Design at The Bartlett, University College London and an external advisor at Projective Cities at the Architectural Association, London. He joined the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths in 2011 as director of the MA programme and research fellow on the Forensic Architecture ERC project. Prior to this he was Director of the Urban Design Masters at the University of Technology Sydney.

Godofredo Pereira is an architect and researcher. He is currently completing his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London. His research Underground Fetishism investigates territorial conflicts within the planetary race for underground resources, with a particular focus on the parallel exhumations of minerals and political leaders as re-imaginations of the body politik. Together with lawyer Alonso Barros and as part of Forensic Architecture he is coordinating the Atacama Desert Project, a geo-forensic analysis of human rights and environmental violations in the Atacama Desert in Chile. He is also the coordinator of History and Theory at the MArch Urban Design program at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, co-founder and editor of Detritos, a journal of art and critical theory, and editor of the book Savage Objects, INCM, 2012.

Ben Woodard is a PhD student at the Centre for Theory and Criticism at Western University. His work focuses on the philosophy of FWJ von Schelling, naturalism, pragmatism, and contemporary continental philosophy. He has published two monographs: Slime Dynamics with Zer0 Books and On an Ungrounded Earth: Towards a New Geophilosophy with Punctum. He also writes on horror film, weird fiction, and philosophies of pessimism.

Joana Rafael is an architectural practitioner based in London and Porto. Having graduated from the University Institute of Architecture in Venice (UIAV), she has continued her studies through the Metropolis Master Program at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB) and the MA programme in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College, London, where she is currently completing a PhD in Visual Cultures. She has been a recipient of several funding bodies including the Portuguese FCT. Joana is a contributor to San Rocco and other European architectural publications and a Associate and Visiting Lecturer (Critical and Contextual Studies) at Central Saint Martins School of Communication, Product and Spatial Design and Canterbury, University for the Creative Arts. Current research is focused upon an expanded view of systems architecture, its logistical, aesthetical, epistemological and spatial history and applications. She is interested in what ways can we imagine architecture exceeding itself?

Jonathan Uliel Saldanha is a producer and composer, concerned with the relations of sound with its resonance, negative territories, echo and recursivity, pre-language, visceral voice, subsonic frequencies and intra-cranial-dub. Saldanha operates sonically in the projects HHY & The Macumbas, Fujako, Mécanosphère and Beast Box among others. Founding member of SOOPA, a proteiform, multicephalous, sound & visual laboratory with headquarters in Porto, Portugal. In 2012 he co-curated the program 'SONORES - sound/space/signal' for Guimarães European Capital of Culture and composed the piece KHŌROS ANIMA for mixed choir and empty resonant space. In 2014 Saldanha presented SANCTA VISCERA TUA, a sonic and scenic piece constructed from the archetypes present in the structure of a Via Sacra, a vibrational action of sound, gesture, light and voice. His music has been released under the labels SOOPA, Ångström Records, Wordsound, Rotorelief, SILO and Tzadik

Paulo Crawford is a retired professor of physics at the Universidade de Lisboa (UL) and a researcher at the Centro de Astronomia e Astrofísica of UL. Tapada da Ajuda, Edifício Leste.
He studied Graviation at King's College University in London with Prof. John Taylor, and completed the first PhD within this field by Lisbon University in 1987. Successively he created a research center for Gravitation and Cosmology, which has been active since the late 80s, first in the Nuclear Physics Center of Lisbon, and from 2000 in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Center.