But you may ask, how do ideas come? How is the imagination spurred to put all the images and facts together, to make images relevant and lend meaning to facts? All I can do is talk about the general conditions and a few simple techniques which seemed to increase my chances to come out with something.
C. Wright Mills The Sociological Imagination
About the Methods Lab
The danger that every researcher faces is that the process of analysis and investigation can inadvertently execute that which is vibrant in his or her object. Here the sociologist becomes like a coroner who presides over social life as if it is a lifeless corpse fit only for autopsy. We are arguing for a vital sociology that both connects to the social world, yet at the same time aspires to forms of sociological representation that are in themselves alive. This is the challenge of putting images and facts together, a compound of imagination and craft that will contribute to the development of social theory while opening out to an engagement with society at large.
The Lab is intended to provide a space for us to question and develop our own methods of sociological reasoning, to be open to the possibilities of practicing a sociological imagination in a world in which the fundamental co-ordinates of social life are held to be undergoing change.
Edward is still with us: Jean Mohr reflects on Edward Said in Palestine & After the Last Sky
Thurs 27th March 2014
Small Hall, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, Lewisham Way. New Cross SE14 6NW
5-7pm, inc. drinks reception with exhibition viewing
Free & Open Public Event, marking 50 years of Sociology at Goldsmiths.
In this public conversation, Jean Mohr will reflect on his collaboration with Edward Said on After the Last Sky, as well as on his wider oeuvre of work.
After the Last Sky came about after Jean Mohr was commissioned by the UN, on Edward Said's recommendation, to take photos of some of the key sites in which Palestinians lived their lives. Because the UN allowed only minimal text (the names of places) to accompany the photographs, Said and Mohr decided to work together on an 'interplay', as Said put it, of Said's personal account of Palestinian suffering and exile and Mohr's photographs – 'an unconventional, hybrid, and fragmentary [form] of expression' - which they called After the Last Sky (1986). The Space and Gaze exhibition at Goldsmiths (September 2013 – July 2014) brings Mohr's images and Said's text from this seminal book together for the first time. Working against the grain of speeded up short durations in gallery spaces and the cultural sector more widely, we have chosen to live and converse with the images and texts for the longer duration of an academic year. Against the grain of the corporatization of the academy, the exhibition claims the space for an alternative writing on the walls of the university.
This is Jean Mohr's second exhibition at Goldsmiths. His first, which was held in the 1970s, was titled Two portraits and a Story, and consisted of photographs of peasants in Haute Savoie, France. He is well-known for his many collaborations with John Berger, which include A Fortunate Man (1967), Art & Revolution (1969), A Seventh Man (1975), Another Way of Telling (1995) and John by Jean: fifty years of friendship (2014). More than 80 exhibitions have been dedicated to his photographic work worldwide. He has worked for numerous international organisations (UNHCR, ILO, JDC) and was ICRC delegate for the Middle East 1949-1950. In 1978 he was awarded the prize for the photographer who had contributed the most to the cause of human rights. Speaking of his position as a photographer he has stated: 'If I see a child drowning I can't take a picture of the scene. I can lend a hand or grab a stick to remove the child.' He has an interest in theatre and his large body of work also includes plasticine photography, usually in colour, as a reflection of formal experimentations in the art field.
This is the Annual Methods Lab Lecture.
To view the exhibition SPACE & GAZE: Conversations with Jean Mohr & Edward Said in Palestine visit the Kingsway Corridor at Goldsmiths, Richard Hoggart Building, University of London, Lewisham Way, New Cross. SE14 6NW. Times: on until July 2014, Mon-Sat 8am-9pm, Sun 9.30am-6pm. Free.
Wednesday 30th April 2014, 4:00-7pm, Goldsmiths, RHB 144
Shorts from the Shashat collection in Palestine
The second screening is a collection of shorts produced by young Palestinian women filmmakers through the Shashat filmmaking program in Palestine. With a focus on women’s cinema and women’s representation, the annual Shashat film festival screens films across the West Bank and Gaza. In 2013, the festival toured ten films to 20 cities and 6 refugee camps in 100 screenings\discussions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in collaboration with 7 universities and 22 organizations, thus fulfilling Shashat’s objective of bringing cinema to all communities in Palestine and using films as a tool for social change. It is the longest running film festival in Palestine and the longest running women’s film festival in the Arab World. (http://www.shashat.org)
Watch this space for details of the films to be screened
An event of the Space and Gaze: conversations with Jean Mohr and Edward Said in Palestine exhibition. Supported by the Centre for Feminist Research
SPACE & GAZE: Conversations with Jean Mohr & Edward Said in Palestine
(Kingsway Corridor, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, Nov 2013 – June 2014)
Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW
In 1983 Jean Mohr was commissioned by the UN, on Edward Said’s recommendation, to take photos of some of the key sites in which Palestinians lived their lives. Because the UN allowed only minimal text (the names of places) to accompany the photographs, Said and Mohr decided to work together on an 'interplay', as Said put it, of Said's personal account of Palestinian suffering and exile and Mohr's photographs – 'an unconventional, hybrid, and fragmentary [form] of expression' - which they called After the Last Sky (1986).
For the first time Mohr’s images and Said’s text are brought together in the form of an exhibition. Borders, migrations, labour, displacement, diaspora and memory percolate through the words and images in After the Last Sky. So too does the symbolic violence of the intimate, close-up view. The place of the observer – photographer, researcher or journalist – becoming a source of debate. Mohr’s photographs are an invitation to look again, with a critical eye.
Amidst the shifting lines and technologies of dispossession and occupation, landscapes have been transformed and places have been erased and re-named since Mohr took his photographs. Both the text and images in Space & Gaze prompt a dialogue with voluminous images of Palestinian lives that circulate internationally. Inviting reflections on the changes and continuities that have taken place over time not only with respect to how Palestinians have been seen, but also how they have chosen to see and show themselves. The exhibition includes contemporary photographers from Palestine – Ahmad Daghlas, Arine Rinawi, Fadi Arouri, Hatem Moussa and Muthanna Al-QadiOn.
Our aim is to extend and develop engagement with this installation through a series of workshops and events. We also welcome autonomously organised events and responses to the exhibition.
This exhibition has been financed by the Sociology Department, the Enterprise Office and Goldsmiths’ inter-disciplinary development.
Credits: Photographs by Jean Mohr
Excerpts from AFTER THE LAST SKY by Edward Said. Copyright ©1999 by Edward W. Said and Jean Mohr, used by permission of The Wylie Agency LCC
Content last modified: 03 Mar 2014
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