2016 sees the start of a new Visual Cultures Lecture Series, titled Making Worlds which will ask big questions to do with how we can continue to operate effectively and sustainably in the context of huge political, economic uncertainty and with diminishing resources. We can’t simply continue to build new structures, so how can we recycle our existing disciplines and institutions without becoming determined by their all too apparent shortcomings? How can we deconstruct presupposed territories/ideas/models and create other ways of seeing the future?
For this lecture Richard Sennet will present a paper titled 'Touch'. He says "I want to use the occasion to talk about the physical work involved in making art". Jonas Staal states "Making Worlds came to my mind. For me the key challenge of the past years has been to imagine and engage with forms of artistic practices that shape themselves specifically in relation to protest, social and revolutionary movements and organizations."
The conversation will be lead by Mel Jordan, Senior Tutor and Reader in Art and the Public Sphere at the RCA School of Fine Art, Sculpture Programme.
Jonas Staal (1981) is an artist that has studied monumental art in Enschede NL and Boston USA. He currently works on his PhD research entitled Art and Propaganda in the 21st Century at PhDArts program of the University of Leiden NL. Staal is the founder of the artistic and political organization New World Summit that develops alternative parliaments for stateless organizations banned from democratic discourse and, together with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, of the New World Academy, that researches the role of art in stateless political struggle. He is further the co-initiator of the Allegoriesproject (2011-ongoing, with Carolien Gehrels and Hans van Houwelingen) that organises debates between artists and political parties, as well as of the Artist Organizations International platform (2015-ongoing, with Florian Malzacher and Joanna Warsza), which connects artist-led organizations through conferences and international exchanges.
Staal’s work includes interventions in public space, exhibitions, theater plays, publications and lectures, focusing on the relationship between art, democracy and propaganda. He regularly publishes in books, newspapers and magazines – his written work appeared in e-flux journal,Manifesta journal, Frakcija magazine, Metropolis M, nY, NRC Handelsblad and de Groene Amsterdammer. Staal lives and works in Rotterdam NL.
Richard Sennett is the Centennial Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and University Professor of the Humanities at New York University. He has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts -- about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Mr. Sennett continues the pragmatist tradition begun by William James and John Dewey.
Richard Sennett has explored how individuals and groups make social and cultural sense of material facts -- about the cities in which they live and about the labour they do. He focuses on how people can become competent interpreters of their own experience, despite the obstacles society may put in their way. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory. As a social analyst, Mr. Sennett continues the pragmatist tradition begun by William James and John Dewey.
In the mid 1990s, as the work-world of modern capitalism began to alter quickly and radically, Mr. Sennett began a project charting its personal consequences for workers, a project which has carried him up to the present day. The first of these studies, The Corrosion of Character,  is an ethnographic account of how middle-level employees make sense of the 'new economy'. The second in the series, Respect in a World of Inequality, (2002) charts the effects of new ways of working on the welfare state; a third, The Culture of the New Capitalism, (2006) provides an over-view of change. Most recently, Mr. Sennett has explored more positive aspects of labor in The Craftsman (2008), and in Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Cooperation (2012). The third volume in this trilogy, The Open City, will appear in 2016.