Bracket [Takes Action] CFS
Posted by Neeraj on December 10, 2013 | PERMALINK

“When humans assemble, spatial conflicts arise. Spatial planning is often considered the management of spatial conflicts.” —Markus Miessen


Call for submissions

Hannah Arendt’s 1958 treatise The Human Condition cites “action” as one of the three tenants, along with labor and work, of the vita active (active life). Action, she writes, is a necessary catalyst for the human condition of plurality, which is an expression of both the common public and distinct individuals. This reading of action requires unique and free individuals to act toward a collective project and is therefore simultaneously ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’. In the more than fifty years since Arendt’s claims, the public realm in which action materializes, and the means by which action is expressed, has dramatically transformed. Further, spatial practice’s role in anticipating, planning, or absorbing action(s) has been challenged, yielding difficulty in the design of the ‘space of appearance,’ Arendt’s public realm.

Our young century has already seen contested claims of design’s role in the public realm by George Baird, Lieven De Cauter, Markus Meissen, Jan Gehl, among others. Perhaps we could characterize these tensions as a ‘design deficit’, or a sense that design does not incite ‘action’, in the Arendtian sense. Amongst other things, this feeling is linked to the rise of neo-liberal pluralism, which marks the transition from public to publics, making a collective agenda in the public realm often illegible. Bracket [takes action] explores the complex relationship between spatial design, and the public(s) as well as action(s) it contains. How can design catalyze a public and incite platforms for action?

Consider two images indicative of contemporary action within the public realm of our present century: (i) the June 2009 opening of the High Line Park in New York City, and (ii) the January 2011 occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo. These two spaces and their respective contemporary publics embody the range within today’s space of appearance. At the High Line, the urban public is now choreographed in a top-down manner along a designed, former infrastructure with an endless supply of vistas into an urban private realm. In Tahrir Square, an assembled swirling public occupies, and therefore re-designs, an infrastructural plaza overwhelming a government and communication networks. This example reveals a bottom-up, self-assembling public. But what role did spatial practice play in each of these scenarios and who were the spatial practitioners and public(s)? The contrast of two positions on action in a public realm offers an opening for wider investigations into spatial practice’s role and impact on today’s public(s) and their action(s).

Bracket [takes action] asks: What are the collective projects in the public realm to act on? How have recent design projects incited political or social action? How can design catalyze a public, as well as forums for that public to act? What is the role of spatial practice to instigate or resist public actions? Bracket 4 provokes spatial practice’s potential to incite and respond to action today.

The fourth edition of Bracket invites design work and papers that offer contemporary models of spatial design that are conscious of their public intent and actively engaged in socio-political conditions. It is encouraged, although not mandatory, that submissions documenting projects be realized. Positional papers should be projective and speculative or revelatory, if historical. Suggested subthemes include:

Participatory ACTION – interactive, crowd-sourced, scripted

Disputed PUBLICS – inconsistent, erratic, agonized

Deviant ACTION – subversive, loopholes, reactive

Distributed PUBLICS – broadcasted, networked, diffused

Occupy ACTION – defiant, resistant, upheaval

Mob PUBLICS – temporary, forceful, performative

Market ACTION – abandoning, asserting, selecting

The editorial board and jury for Bracket 4 includes Pier Vittorio Aureli, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Adam Greenfield, Belinda Tato, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto as well as co-editors Neeraj Bhatia and Mason White

Deadline for Submissions: February 28, 2014

Please visit for more info.

Infrastructural Archipelagoes
Posted by Neeraj on November 13, 2013 | PERMALINK


Please join us for a discussion on "Infrastructural Archipelagoes" and the launching of two new books examining the confluence of infrastructure, ecologies, and economies through the act of territorial design.

Speakers include:
Neeraj Bhatia (The Open Workshop/ InfraNet Lab/ CCA), Luis Callejas (LCLA Office / Harvard GSD), Mary Casper (Rice University / PLAT), and Brian Davis (Landscape Archipelago / Cornell University). Presentations will be followed by an open roundtable discussion moderated by Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG).

Information on the books:


Pamphlet Architecture 33: Island & Atolls
Luis Callejas / LCLA Office

Format: Paperback, 80 Pages
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Amazon Link


Islands and Atolls asks how architecture might critically repurpose its traditionally limited disciplinary tools in order to make a meaningful impact at a territorial scale. Functioning as a landscape architect in a country that has no infrastructure for such a profession, Callejas questions pedagogical, disciplinary, and political norms at macro levels using micro tactics. As a result, PA 33 provocatively expands devices such as repetition and aggregation beyond their limits in scenarios where sociopolitical constraints seemingly prohibit what would normally be understood as an architectural intervention.

Interviews with Geoff Manaugh and Mason White, afterword by Charles Waldheim.


The Petropolis of Tomorrow
Neeraj Bhatia & Mary Casper

Format: Hardcover, 576 Pages
Publisher: Actar / Architecture at Rice
Amazon Link


In recent years, Brazil has discovered vast quantities of petroleum deep within its territorial waters, inciting the construction of a series of cities along its coast and in the ocean. We could term these developments as Petropolises, or cities formed from resource extraction. The Petropolis of Tomorrow is a design and research project, originally undertaken at Rice University that examines the relationship between resource extraction and urban development in order to extract new templates for sustainable urbanism. Organized into three sections: Archipelago Urbanism, Harvesting Urbanism, and Logistical Urbanism, which consist of theoretical, technical, and photo articles as well as design proposals, The Petropolis of Tomorrow elucidates not only a vision for water-based urbanism of the floating frontier city, it also speculates on new methodologies for integrating infrastructure, landscape, urbanism and architecture within the larger spheres of economics, politics, and culture that implicate these disciplines.

Articles by: Neeraj Bhatia, Luis Callejas, Mary Casper, Felipe Correa, Brian Davis, Farès el-Dahdah, Rania Ghosn, Carola Hein, Bárbara Loureiro, Clare Lyster, Geoff Manaugh, Alida C. Metcalf, Juliana Moura, Koen Olthuis, Albert Pope, Maya Przybylski, Rafico Ruiz, Mason White, Sarah Whiting

Photo Essays by: Garth Lenz, Peter Mettler, Alex Webb

Research/ Design Team: Alex Gregor, Joshua Herzstein, Libo Li, Joanna Luo, Bomin Park, Weijia Song, Peter Stone, Laura Williams, Alex Yuen


Copies of the books will be available for purchase. 


Studio-X NYC
180 Varick Street, Suite 1610
New York
February 25, 2013


Territorial Infrastructure Lecture Series
Posted by Neeraj on February 7, 2013 | PERMALINK


InfraNet Lab, The Petropolis of Tomorrow and Cornell University AAP is happy to announce the line up for the Territorial Infrastructure Lecture Series.

All lectures are in the Milstein Hall Stepped Auditorium at Cornell University and open to the public. 


Eva Franch i Gilabert

“Ecologies of Excess”

February 13th, 2013; 10am

MH Stepped Auditorium



Kelly Doran

“Extraction Urbanism - Resource Development & Infrastructural Territories”

March13th, 2013; 10am

MH Stepped Auditorium

regionalArchitects / Harvard GSD


Brian Davis

“A Thousand Years of Frontier Technologies”

April 15th, 2013; 5pm

MH Stepped Auditorium



Felipe Correa

“Hinterland Urbanisms”

April 24th, 2013; 10am

MH Stepped Auditorium



The Territorial Infrastructure Lecture Series was curated by Neeraj Bhatia with the support of Cornell University, Department of Architecture

Bracket [Goes Soft] Book Launches
Posted by Neeraj on February 5, 2013 | PERMALINK

Studio-X NYC is delighted to host the New York City book launch and discussion for[bracket] goes soft. Edited by Neeraj Bhatia and Lola Sheppard of Infranet Lab, this second volume in the impressive [bracket] series “examines the use and implications of soft today – from the scale of material innovation to territorial networks.”

In a back-to-back series of short presentations, [bracket] editorial advisors and contributors Neeraj Bhatia, Fionn Byrne, Michael Chen, Leigha Dennis, Sergio Lopez-Pineiro, Geoff Manaugh, and Chris Perry will discuss some of the collection’s most innovative soft proposals—a diverse set of projects ranging from sonic urbanism to repurposed pay-and-display whose softness lies in the way that they propose “systems, networks, and technologies that are responsive, adaptable, scalable, non-linear, and multivalent.”

Refreshments will be served and copies of the book will be available for purchase. Free and open to the public; no RSVP necessary.


Bracket [Goes Soft] Toronto book launch will be hosted by creatures:collective on March 1st, starting at 7pm. Editors Lola Sheppard and Neeraj Bhatia will launch the book, which will be available for purchase. 
Free and open to the public, no RSVP is required. 

Bracket 3 [at Extremes] - Call For Submissions
Posted by InfraNet Lab on December 29, 2011 | PERMALINK

Bracket 3 invites the submission of critical articles and unpublished design projects that investigate the potentials when situations extend beyond norms – into the extremities. We are conditioned, as designers of the built environment, towards the organization of people, programs and movement. Indeed the history of modern urbanism, architecture and building science has been predicated on an anti-entropic notion of programmatic and social order. But are there scenarios in which a state of extremity or imbalance is productive?


Ulrick Beck, in “Risk Society’s Cosmopolitan Moment” suggests that being at risk is the human condition at the beginning of the twenty-first century. While risk produces inequality and destabilization, he argues, it can be the catalyst for the construction of new institutions. The term extreme is defined as outermost, utmost, farthest, last or frontier. Bracket [at Extremes] seeks to understand what new spatial orders emerge in this liminal space. How might it be leveraged as an opportunity for invention? What are the limits of wilderness and control, of the natural and artificial, the real and the virtual? What new landscapes, networks, and urban models might emerge in the wake of destabilized economic, social and environmental conditions?

Bracket [at Extremes] will examine architecture, infrastructure and technology as they operate in conditions of imbalance, negotiate tipping points and test limit states. In such conditions, the status quo is no longer possible; systems must extend performance and accommodate unpredictability. As new protocols emerge, new opportunities present themselves. Bracket [at Extremes] seeks innovative contributions interrogating extreme processes (technologies, operations) and extreme contexts (cultural, climatic). What is the breaking point of architecture at extremes?


Guest Editorial Board: Keller Easterling, Michael Hensel, Alessandra Ponte, François Roche, Hashim Sarkis, Julien De Smedt, Mark Wigley


Deadline for submissions: February 20th, 2012


For more information on Bracket and submission requirements visit:

New Northern Cartographies
Posted by InfraNet Lab on February 23, 2011 | PERMALINK

[New Northern Cartographies, Phyllis Lambert Seminar, 25-26 February, at the Univertsity of Montreal.]

The 2011 Phyllis Lambert Seminar, organized by Alessandra Ponte, is centered on the theme of the North. It is titled “New Northern Cartographies” and we are honored to be among the architects, artists, film-makers, geographers, and climatologists included in what will be a fascinating two days. Ponte positioned the North relative to geographer Louis-Edmond Hamelin who identified that there are “many Norths in this North.” She goes on to describe the context of the seminar to acknowledge an intensity of interest today in the North that parallels that of the 1960s and 1970s. Ponte writes: “During the last two decades, the end of the Cold War and subsequent realignment of the balance of powers, together with massive climate changes, have in fact redefined, once again, the map of the Arctic region and rekindled a passionate interest in the North.”

Should you be in or near Montreal this weekend, here is the schedule:

Friday, February 25, 2011
Opening Remarks: Anne Cormier, Directrice, École d’architecture, Université de Montréal Introduction: Alessandra Ponte
First Session, 10:20 – 13:00
Respondents: Philippe Poullaouec-Gonidec, Université de Montréal
Peter Fianu, architecte, atelier braq, Montréal
Lateral Office/InfraNet Lab (Lola Sheppard, Mason White, Toronto, Prix de Rome 2010):Next North: Infrastructures for a Shifting Landscape. [10:20 – 11:00]
Caroline Desbiens (Chaire de recherche du Canada en géographie historique du Nord, Université Laval, Québec): Nordicité et culture de lhydroélectricité au Québec: science, paysage, tourisme. [11:00 – 11:40]
Marie-Hélène Cousineau (cinéaste,, Montréal): Montre-moi sur la carte : cartographie virtuelle sur, portails des réalités autochtones contemporaines. [11:40 – 12:20]

Second Session, 14:30 – 17:00
Respondents: Denis Bilodeau, Université de Montréal
Kelly Crossman, Carleton University, Ottawa
Arctic Perspective Initiative (Matthew Biederman, Montréal): An Open Sourced North. [10:00 – 10:40]
Territorial Agency (John Palmesino, Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, Architectural Association School of Architecture, London): North: Escalation. [15:10 – 15:50]
70°N arkitektur (Gisle Løkken / Magdalena Haggärde, Tromsø, Norway): Impacts of Global Pressure on Vulnerable Landscapes and Societies: Planning for Unknown Futures in Maniitsoq, Greenland. [15:50 – 16:30]

Saturday February 26, 2011
Third Session, 10:00 – 12:40
Respondents: Patrick Evans, UQAM, Montréal
Stephan Kowal, Université de Montréal
Charles Stankievech (artist, Yukon School of Visual Arts, Dawson City): Under The Rainbow: Outpost Architecture + Electromagnetic Infrastructure in the Arctic. [14:30 – 15:10]
Future Cities Lab (Jason Kelly Johnson, San Francisco): The Aurora Project and other Dynamic Cartographies. [10:40 – 11:20]
Kelly Nelson Doran (regionalArchitects, Toronto, Prix de Rome 2009): Repositioning the Remote. [11:20 – 12:00]

Fourth Natures: Mediated Landscapes
Posted by InfraNet Lab on January 31, 2011 | PERMALINK

[Fourth Natures Conference]

InfraNet Lab is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a conference entitled ‘Fourth Nature: Mediated Landscapes’ at the University of Waterloo, School of Architecture, in Cambridge, ON, this Friday, Feb. 4th and Saturday, Feb. 5th. The conference brings together scholars and practitioners working at the disciplinary intersection of architecture, infrastructure, landscape and environment to present research and projects that propose emerging models for understanding ‘nature’, in its various scales and guises, in the 21st century. From the territorial to the nano-scale, mutant environments which fuse natural and artificial, technologic and infrastructural have been proliferating. Natures are monitored and controlled, ecologies are amplified or manufactured and interior landscapes are conditioned, with the intent of augmenting performance, controlling the flow of resources, monitoring data or redressing environmental imbalances. In the current scenario, the dialectic is no longer nature versus city, or natural versus artificial, but positions within a spectrum of mediation and manipulation of nature, landscape and built environment.

Speakers include:

François Roche (R&Sie(n))

Fourth Natures: New Contexts
Cary Wolfe (Rice University, Series Editor of Posthumanities )
Alessandra Ponte (Universite de Montreal)
Christine Macy (Dalhousie University)
Andy Payne (University of Toronto) (Moderator)

Fourth Natures: New Disciplines
Lydia Kallipoliti (Cooper Union, Columbia University, Director of Ecoredux)
John J. May (UCLA and University of Toronto, Millions of Moving Parts)
John McMinn (University of Waterloo) ( Moderator)

Fourth Natures: New Practices
Martin Felsen (Illinois Institute of Technology, Archeworks, Director of UrbanLab)
Janette Kim ( Columbia University, Director of Urban Landscape Lab)
Sean Lally (University of Illinois at Chicago, Director of WEATHERS)
Liat Margolis (University of Toronto) ( Moderator)

Detailed information about the conference schedule and speakers can be found at:

Call for Submissions: Almanac 2, Bracket [goes soft]
Posted by InfraNet Lab on November 10, 2010 | PERMALINK


[bracket goes soft!]

We are excited to be launching the second almanac of bracket with our fantastic team of Actar,Archinect and graphic designers, Thumb.  We are also thankful of the generous support from theGraham Foundation.

Bracket 2 invites the submission of critical articles and unpublished design projects that investigate physical and virtual soft systems, as they pertain to infrastructure, ecologies, landscapes, environments, and networks. In an era of declared crises—economic, ecological and climatic amongst others– the notion of soft systems has gained increasing traction as a counterpoint to permanent, static and hard systems.

[soft and mobile skins]
The notion of ‘soft’ systems had considerable impact on the design disciplines in the 1960s and 70s. In management, ‘Soft Systems Methodology’ was developed to address complex situations with divergent readings and stakeholders. The ability to deal with imprecision and uncertainty, with the aim of achieving more malleable, robust solutions is at the core of ‘Soft Computing’. Bridging disciplines,Nicholas Negroponte, in Soft Architecture Machines (1970), proposed a responsive built environment, wherein the computer acts as a tool for creativity and design, repositioning the role of the architect.  While designers such as Cedric Price, Yona Friedman, Archigram, and Buckminster Fuller embraced the early soft project, envisioning alternate models of urbanization, mobility, and infrastructural networks, this project has remained dormant for the past decades, only to reemerge with increased urgency today. Acknowledging fluid and indeterminate situations with complex feedback loops that allow for reaction and adaption, the possibility of soft systems has re-entered the domain of design, necessitating a repositioned role of the designer.  The present era, characterized by crisis, provides a new platform to revisit the soft project in the 21st century.

[temporary/ relief/ soft shelters]

Bracket 2 seeks to critically position and define soft systems, in order to expand the scope and potential for new spatial networks, and new formats of architecture, urbanization and nature. From soft politics, soft power and soft spaces to fluid territories, software and soft programming, Bracket 2 questions the use and role of responsive, indeterminate, flexible, and immaterial systems in design. Bracket 2 invites designers, architects, theorists, ecologists, scientists, and landscape architects to position and leverage the role of soft systems and recuperate the development of the soft project.

[soft systems on the tarmac]

The editorial board and jury for Bracket 2 includes Benjamin Bratton, Julia Czerniak, Jeffrey Inaba,Geoff Manaugh, Philippe Rahm, Charles Renfro, as well as co-editors Lola Sheppard and Neeraj Bhatia.

[the mobile hospital]

Deadline for Submissions: December 10, 2010

Please visit for more info.

InfraNet Newsletter: Summer 2010
Posted by InfraNet Lab on August 12, 2010 | PERMALINK


[WeatherField by Paisajes Emergentes + Lateral Office for the Land Art Generator Initiative, 2010.]

It has been a very exciting and busy summer at InfraNet Lab. We are delighted to announce a few recent projects--some completed, some on-going, and some only just starting. We have had a phenomenal team of InfraNetters this summer including: Fionn Byrne, Andria Fong, Cecilia Hui, Matthew Spremulli, Fei-Ling Tseng, Ceara Watters, and Shannon Wiley.

[Bracket 1: On Farming in the recent Actar 2010 catalogue.]

1) First, we are happy to announce that the launch issue of Bracket, our collaboration with Archinect, is officially at the printers. Through the stunning graphics and coordination of Thumb, and the editorial work of Maya and Mason, we expect to see copies of Bracket: On Farming on shelves this October. The fine folks at Actar will be publishing and distributing the issue. We will have information forthcoming about launch events in various locations: Toronto, Los Angeles, New York, and Houston. And we are only a few weeks away from announcing a call for issue #2, which has a fantastic jury lined up (including Benjamin Bratton, Julia Czerniak, Jeffrey Inaba, Geoff Manaugh, Philippe Rahm, among others) and a theme that we think is timely and potent. Neeraj and Lola will be editing the second volume with generous support from the Graham Foundation. More on that soon.

[Working mock-ups of Pamphlet Architecture #30, aka Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism, by InfraNet Lab / Lateral Office, forthcoming from Princeton Architectural Press.]

2) We are also delighted to announce that Pamphlet Architecture #30, co-authored with Lateral Office, is almost at the printers. We are in the home stretch in working with Princeton Architectural Presstoward a tight complete representation of our work. We cannot write too much but we have 6 projects and texts from 3 guest authors whose thinking and writing have percolated through ours (via the work). The issue, titled Coupling: Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism is available Dec 1, 2010.

3) Neeraj has recently been selected as a Wortham Fellow at Rice School of Architecture, so we will be consoling ourselves over his departure from Toronto (for now!), and scheming on the next phase of our international cross-climate collaborations with him down there in the city of no zoning. Neeraj was also awarded the prestigious L B Anderson award from MIT for research he will be conducting on housing in the Arctic, related to the on-going Next North project.

[Next North is a research project on the current and speculative infrastructures that maintain and operate in the unique context of the Canadian Arctic. The work will be published and part of a traveling exhibtion in 2011. Let us know if you are aware of an interested venue.]

4) Lola and Mason (Lateral Office) were recently awarded the Professional Prix de Rome from theCanada Council for the Arts. The award recognizes a portfolio of work and a research travel proposal titled Emergent North. They will be traveling in 2 or 3 individual trips to the Canadian Far North during 2010-11.

It has been a busy few months, so we apologize for the infrequent blog postings. We hope to be back on to a more regular schedule in September. In the meantime, thanks for visiting, reading, and commenting.

[WeatherField by Lateral Office + Paisajes Emergentes. Diagrams of Public Experience types and Weather Events.]

Expanded Territories
Posted by InfraNet Lab on July 7, 2010 | PERMALINK


[99th Annual Conference, ACSA. Montreal, March 3-6, 2011.]

We are hosting a topic session at the 99th ACSA Annual Conference next March in Montreal. Our topic is titled Architecture’s Expanded Territories. If you are interested to submit a paper for the session (or any of the other great topics) read below for more. Here is how to submit. (Submissions are dueSeptember 15, 2010.)

Architecture’s Expanded Territories
Topic chairs: Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo / Mason White, University of Toronto

In Rosalind Krauss’s 1979 essay “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” (PDF) Krauss observed that the practice of sculpture had been obscured and could only qualify itself in opposition to architecture and landscape. Krauss identifies three additional practices of sculpture that sculpture had previously been burdened with and names them “site-construction,” marked sites,” and “axiomatic structures.” Taking up a similar cause in 2004, Anthony Vidler offered emergent practices for “Architectures Expanded Field,” (DOC) by arguing that “underlying the new architectural experimentation is a serious attempt to reconstrue the foundations of the discipline, not so much in singular terms, but in broader concepts that acknowledge an expanded field, while seeking to overcome the problematic dualisms that have plagued architecture for over a century: form and function, historicism and abstraction, utopia and reality, structure and enclosure.”

Vidler’s potent proclamation and offer to architecture to evolve with its time has incubated for more than 6 years. Where are we now in this (still) expanding field? This session will table the messy and contentious territory between architecture, landscape, ecology, and urban design. A territory whose foundation was cultivated by Benton MacKaye, planned by Constantinos Doxiadis, designed by Cedric Price, with recent developments chronicled by Keller Easterling, among others. In short, the session will look at where the XXL and the S meet, or a new architecture within our expanding territories.

It could be argued that the potential of an expanded territory is increasingly being hijacked by an agenda of “good practice,” in the name of sustainability, often reducing architecture to the operational concerns of construction efficiency and building performance on a particular site. This session asks what form, format, and programs might exist in the new territory afforded by a deeper understanding of site? Or, what is sustainable design without the burden of sustainability?

What defines these expanding territories? Architecture’s recent privileging of operational costs over capital costs is a paradigm shift in scale, program, and function. No longer relegated to façade design only, we are seeing ever-expanding ambiguities of architecture’s envelope. This session seeks to find these large territorial lines, interrogate them, design them, and expose them. What potential lies in the tools encouraging a widening envelope of design influence – environmental data, maps, politics, economies – upon a give site? Sometimes it might not even look like architecture.

The session calls for speculative design research proposals or critical papers to think big.How does design operate at the scale of the region or the globe? Forgoing utopian ambitions to design the region or the globe, how can design participate in the temporal space of emerging natural and artificial systems – energies, ecologies, mobilities, and, possibly most importantly, economies? What is the role and operation of the big project in our age of urgent environmental issues and crippled economy? Where do you stand in the expanding territory?

Oil + Water
Posted by InfraNet Lab on March 19, 2010 | PERMALINK


[Oil+Water Conference April 8-10, 2010.]

[Oil+Water Conference April 8-10, 2010.] 


The Interdisciplinary Humanities Center at UC-SB is presenting a series of fantastic events this year on the theme Oil+Water. With this event they turn to their own backyard: the case of Southern California. Oil + Water commemorates the 40th anniversary of the Santa Barbara oil spill, and provides an opportunity to examine the impact of these two resources on the history, economy, and culture of California and the world. Interested parties should contact our program and events coordinator, Laura Devendorf (ldevendorf[at], for more information. Below is a schedule of events and activities for the conference.


Oil + Water: The Case of Santa Barbara and Southern California
April 8 – 10, 2010
McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB
UC Santa Barbara / Santa Barbara, CA, USA

This conference will explore the ways in which oil and water have created and transformed the history and culture of Santa Barbara and Southern California. Topics will include the Santa Barbara oil spill; the impact of oil on Hollywood; agriculture and marine life; the Owens River Valley; the Salton Sea; cars and car culture; and environmental histories and their lessons.
Sponsored by the IHC’s Oil + Water series, the UC California Studies Consortium, and theCommunity Environmental Council.

Thursday, April 8
5:00 PM KEYNOTE: Oil Runs Through It: Power, Publics, and the Role of Place
Harvey Molotch (Social & Cultural Analysis, NYU)

Friday, April 9
9:00 AM Introduction
Ann Bermingham (Acting Director, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB)

9:15 AM PANEL: Oil, Water, and Activism: The Case of Santa Barbara
Teresa Sabol Spezio (History, UCD) / Most Congressmen Care Little: The Role of the Santa Barbara Oil Spill in Changing Federal Environmental Laws
Eric Smith (Political Science, UCSB) / What the California Public Thinks About Off Shore Oil Development
Linda Krop (Chief Council, Environmental Defense Center and Environmental Studies, UCSB) / The Environmental Politics of Off Shore Drilling

11:00 AM KEYNOTE: Whales, Noisemakers, and Noise
Jim Nollman

1:30 PM PANEL: Oil+Water: the Case of Southern California
David Maisel / The Lake Project
Mason White & Lola Sheppard / Farming the Salton Sea
Andrew Fitzpatrick / Ocotillo Wells: California Oil History Encapsulated
Kenneth RogersCaleb Waldrof and Bill Kelley, Jr. (Third Rail Group, UCSD) / Slow Activism, Dialogical Practice and Environmental Remediation at the Inglewood Oil Fields

3:00 PM KEYNOTE: After Oil!: Petroleum, Media, and the California Experiment
Stephanie LeMenager (English, UCSB)

4:00 PM PANEL: The Culture of Oil
Vanessa Osborne (English, USC) / Celluloid and Oil: Early Hollywood and the Oil Industry in Upton Sinclair’s Oil!
Jean-Paul deGuzman (History, UCLA) / At the Car Wash! Culture and Labor in the City of Angles
Desiree D’Alessandro and Diran Lyons (Art, UCSB) / World Water Shortage vs Golf Consumption and Jake Gyllenhaal Challenges the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

Saturday, April 10
9:15 AM ROUNDTABLE: Oil and Water in the Santa Barbara County Agrifood System
David A. Cleveland (Environmental Studies, UCSB)
With: Ingrid R. AvisonCaitlin BrimmHeidi DiazSydney E. HollingsheadDominique C. LiuzziNora M. MullerCorie N. RadkaTyler D. WatsonHannah Wright.

10:45 AM KEYNOTE: Near Goleta But Closer: An Unnatural History
Harry Reese (Art, UCSB)

1:30 PM PANEL: Histories of an Unnatural History
Karen Piper (Comparative Literature, Carnegie Mellon University) / Owens Lake: California’s Albatross
Eliza Martin (History, UCSC) / Making Rain, Creating Floods: Expertise and the Manufacturing of Disaster in San Diego’s Flood of 1916
David Zetland, (Agriculture and Resource Economics, UCB) / Joseph Jensen and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Michael R. Adamson (History, CSU Sacramento) / Oil Booms and Boosterism: Local Elites, Outside Companies, and the Growth of Ventura California


Hope to see some of you there.


G/I/S: Terrain, Speculation, Swarms
Posted by InfraNet Lab on February 26, 2010 | PERMALINK


Nix Ex Machina. Having humbly set himself apart as one of life''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''s great thinkers, Tarko rejects the menial tasks offered to him by the job agency and quickly reaches the conclusion that selling snow to the Eskimos is well within his capabilities.  Not put off by a few holes in his business plan – a complete lack of funds, no guaranteed supply of snow and not one hint of commercial interest from his intended market – he establishes, an online brokerage service to facilitate snow sales to the Inuit tribes of Alaska.]
[Nix Ex Machina. Having humbly set himself apart as one of lifes great thinkers, Tarko rejects the menial tasks offered to him by the job agency and quickly reaches the conclusion that selling snow to the Eskimos is well within his capabilities. Not put off by a few holes in his business plan–a complete lack of funds, no guaranteed supply of snow and not one hint of commercial interest from his intended market–he establishes, an online brokerage service to facilitate snow sales to the Inuit tribes of Alaska.]

It was a pleasure to participate in the amazing cross-blog dialogue–or blogoquim, as we liked to call it–this week as part of the Glacier/Island/Storm studio. No doubt the conversation will continue to expand from here. We are now looking forward to seeing / reading the projects incubated in this context.

In the meantime we leave you with InfraNet Labs 3 contributions, and a postscript.

1. LandFab, or Manufacturing Terrain. Island Edition.

2. Islands of Speculation, Speculation on Islands: Spray Ice. Glacier Edition.

3. Particulate Swarms. Storm Edition.

Postscript: please visit Snowbrokers: eCommerce for eSkimos. Especially recommended is their Short History of Snow Logistics. was set up a few years ago to service the growing need of online snow sales for the Inuit community of Alaska. Although research had clearly indicated that there was in fact no need at all for such a service this meant that if even the remotest need was ever discovered then this was clear growth from a starting point of zero. And as no serious canvassing of Eskimo snow purchasing tastes had ever been carried out then the assumption that there was no need could be considered flakey.