Material Assemblages and Affective Atmospheres Autumn 2012

This Critical Studies seminar examines the relationship between ‘material assemblages’ and ‘affective atmospheres.’ The distribution of different materials produces affective atmospheres that are both mood-enhancing as well as mood-dampening, and such compositions of materials and affects have micro-political implications. By engaging in critical discourse we will examine how transforming compositions of matter, or material assemblages manifest as affective atmospheres that are composed of the micro-politics of relations and encounters between human and non-human actors. We will examine the rise of a ‘new materialism’ as identified by such theorists as Manuel DeLanda, Jane Bennett, and Nigel Thrift to rethink the ecological implications of contemporary compositions of matter and affect. New materialism offers revised understandings of what constitutes matter and materiality, in part by responding to historical philosophical understandings of materialism. New materialism demonstrates how matter can be considered in an expanded and vital sense, extending from building materials to our own living human bodies. We will address what a critical, creative and feminist rethinking of our assumptions about ‘mute matter’ offers us in terms of new approaches to our built environments. Through the use of text and diagrams participants will be asked to study specific material assemblages and the affective atmospheres they produce in the local Stockholm city context, and they will be asked to compose a Material Assemblages and Affective Atmospheres Colouring-In Book. To undertake our work we will be using a seminar blog, where readings and participant responses will be disseminated:

SCHEDULE Wednesdays 10.00-12.00: 19 September; 10; 17 October; 7; 21; 28 November; 5; 12 December



(NOTE: your assessment is made up of two parts, please read carefully below!)

01::PART ONE: 50% Discussion and BLOG activity

Every week in response to the given readings you will be requested to submit an image and text BLOG post. Image: You will be asked to produce a line drawing that will be developed toward an Affective Atmospheres and New Materialism colouring-in book. Text: You will also be required to write a 300-500 word response to the given reading. You should offer a brief summary of the weekly reading as well as your critical and creative response. Be sure to upload your image and text before each seminar! We will use your BLOG posts during our seminars as an inspiration for discussion. NOTE: to thematically organize your responses to the seven weekly readings

To be uploaded on the discussion link of our BLOG: 

and presented each week in class.

 02::PART TWO: 50% Colouring-In Book

You will develop your responses to the weekly readings as an interactive Colouring-In book, to be uploaded as a pdf file to ISSUU: (login will be supplied in class) and create a link back to the Projects link on the archandphil BLOG. You will also submit a hard-copy to my office (KTH C506) or in my pigeon-hole (staff box).

Your Coloring-In Book must include: 1. a title page, and don’t forget your name!; 2. Contents page (with 7 chapters, one dedicated to each weekly reading); 3. a brief introductory essay that summarizes what you have discovered during the seminar, with an emphasis on your chosen ‘material assemblage’; 4. revised responses to each of the weekly readings, as well as revised images; 5. a bibliography where you should include not only all the references you have made to the readings (and whatever other references you have found useful), but also references to any appropriated imagery or creative projects you might have used.

To be compiled and completed as an A4 colouring-in book by Monday 17 December 2012. (Submit as a hard copy to my office and to ISSUU, as noted above).

To further develop the final Colouring-In Book, especially your brief introductory essay, some of the questions you might ask yourself are: 1. What material assemblage will I use as my example; 2. What atmospheric affects and ecologies are produced in these material assemblages? 3. How are minoritarian identities (women, children, migrants, others) affected in the given material assemblage, and how do they affect that context? You might even consider imaginatively inhabiting the world of a ‘minoritarian’ character, including even an ‘inanimate’ material and attempting to write from their point of view.

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