Events Archive


TRU session for the Goldsmiths Graduate School Festival

Topology Afternoon: how could topology be useful for your research?

Monday 30th April, 2 to 5pm, venue RHB 137

A session in which PhD students present a ten-minute summary of some of their research findings in whatever field, such as, for example, social media, design, diaspora, migration, geography, urban spaces, borders, psychological and cultural identities, sound art. Each presentation will be followed by a response from one of a panel of topologist. The aim is to demonstrate some of the ways in which research students might find topology useful for their work.

Panelists to include: Chair: Prof Celia Lury (Warwick), Dr Julian Henriques (Media and Communications) Carolin Gerlitz (Sociology)

Presentations from:

1) Louise Fryer: Landmarks or Milestones? Differences in navigation for

people with different levels of sight. ps901lf (

2) Claude St Arroman - Architectural boundaries

  2. macgillivray (

3) Carol MacGillivray on  model of kinetic aesthetics that is applicable to computer-based and mechanical interactive art systems

4) Varpu Rantula: Addition iconography: a (post)cinematic archive -

exs01vr (

5) Matt Lewis: Free Radio -

6) Giuseppe De Riso: Fearing the Muslim Enemy: Affective Mapping in Modern Warfare Videogames

7) Viola Sarnelli: Satellite geographies: universalism, displacement

and re-territorialisation


Topology at Tate Modern

Edges of the World

Tate Modern, Saturday 21 January 2012, 14.00–16.30

Artist Ernesto Neto in conversation with physicist Luiz Alberto Oliveira, science writer and curator Margaret Wertheim and philosopher Éric Alliez.

The participants in this panel experiment with intensive forces of philosophy, art, physics and cosmology, opening affirmative spaces of becoming imperceptible and porous to the outside. These experiments express different topological modes that can be understood as immersion in multiple, complex processes of transformation and flux.

‘Culture separates, bodies unify. How can we on a fragmented cultural planet, topolo-build a level of conviviality and habitability, beyond institutional skins, under a gravitational field?’
Ernesto Neto, Conviviality and Habitability at the Edges of the World

‘In recent years the application of topological concepts and methods to the study of dynamic systems has led to important advancements in our understanding of some basic aspects of the behaviour of complex phenomena appearing in different domains – material structures, living organisations and cognitive processes. Beside their intrinsic scientific importance, the new universality patterns emerging in such phenomena have significant implications for philosophy such as the venerable problem of morphogenesis, or generation of forms. Artistic endeavours, such as Ernesto Neto’s works, are pushing these formal almost abstract questions far beyond the purely intellectual realm, into a novel horizon of powerful aesthetic resources.’

Luiz Alberto Oliveira, Topology and Complexity: an Endeavour

This paper focuses on Ernesto Neto’s installation at the Panthéon in Paris, Leviathan Toth (2006), which invests the Panthéon with a confrontation between the image of power (in its modern Hobbesian form) and the power of the image. Neto brings us into a semiotics of intensities that does not belong to the ‘aesthetic regime’, as described by Jacques Rancière, but rather to a diagrammatic agency addressed to site-specific art. The latter will be (re)constructed after Deleuze and Guattari – from a biopolitics of the Body without Organs to a Body without Image. This Body confers on signs a new material power of decoding, which destratifies the space (physical, symbolic, discursive, institutional) anchored around the oscillations of Foucault's Pendulum, in an energetics of forces. It thereby offers a diagrammatic alternative to the metaphor-image of aesthetics.

Éric Alliez, Diagrammatic Agency versus Aesthetic Regime: Ernesto Neto's Anti-Leviathan

‘What does it mean to ‘know’? Topologically diverse and geometrically perverse, nature embraces throughout its evolutionary history structures of being that appal the most advanced mathematical minds. Knotted eels, crenellated corals and undulating sea slugs realize in their architectures spatial configurations that ‘educated’ humans long deemed impossible. Topology and geometry – the dual mathematical disciplines of form – have cascaded over the past two centuries into a series of intellectual revelations that had been physically understood in the organic realm since the Silurian age. Through an exploration of embodied knowledge in humble, sessile and brainless beings at the edges of human consciousness, this paper aims towards a rehabilitation of material wisdom, suggesting a radical, transformative alternative to modern symbolic modes.’
Margaret Wertheim, The Hyperbolic Imaginary: Topology and Geometry as Bodily Being

This keynote conversation will be followed by a seminar led by Bernard Burgoyne on 28 January 2012.

‘The Edges of the World are constituted around pathways and contours, which grasp the spatial neighbourhoods involved in everyday life. These spaces embody the pathways or disconnections with which people are intimately engaged. They constitute the way in which spatial realities are at play in the determination of people’s lives: alternative pathways can often be found through such an enveloping space.’
Bernard Burgoyne

Ernesto Neto is a contemporary visual artist. He lives and works in Rio de Janeiro and has established over the past 20 years an international reputation for his work. In 2001 Neto represented Brazil in the Venice Biennale. In 2010, he had three major exhibitions, The Edges of the World at the Hayward Gallery, London; a survey exhibition, Intimacy, at Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo and Dengo at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil. He was commissioned for his largest installation to date at the Park Avenue Armory, New York, in 2009. Other notable shows include Leviathan Thot, Panthéon, 35th Festival d'Automne, Paris, 2006 (solo); Ernesto Neto -The Malmö Experience, Malmö Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden, 2006 (solo). In 2007, he spent six months in Atelier Calder Foundation, Saché, France on an artist residency. In 2003, Ernesto along with two other artists, Marcio Botner and Laura Lima, founded a contemporary art gallery, called A Gentil Carioca which is located in downtown Rio. He is preparing a retrospective exhibition at MARCO, México, which opens on December 8th 2011.

Dr Luiz Alberto Oliveira is Researcher at the Institute of Cosmology, Relativity and Astrophysics (ICRA-BR), Brazilian Center for Physical Research (CBPF/MCTI), Rio de Janeiro; Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, CBPF; Associate Researcher, Transdisciplinary Program of Advanced Studies (IDEA), School of Communication, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Invited Lecturer, Oscar Niemeyer Office of Architecture; Scientist in residence, Dynamical Encounters International Art Workshops; and Curator, Museum of Tomorrow of Rio de Janeiro City (in development).

Éric Alliez, is Professor of Contemporary French Philosophy at the CRMEP, Kingston University, London and Professor of Philosophie et Créations Contemporaines en Art at the University of Paris 8. His works in English translation include: Capital Times (preface by G. Deleuze), 1997; The Signature of the World. Or What is the Philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari?, 2005; Capitalism and Schizophrenia and Consensus. Of Relational Aesthetics, 2010; The Guattari Effect (edited with A. Goffey), 2011. His recent works are focused on a problematisation of aesthetics: La Pensée-Matisse, 2005; L’Œil-Cerveau. Nouvelles Histoires de la peinture moderne, 2007. Forthcoming: Défaire l’image. De l’art contemporain.

Margaret Wertheim is a writer and curator whose work focuses on the intersection of science and the wider cultural landscape. She is the author of The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet. Margaret and her sister Christine co-founded the Los Angeles-based Institute For Figuring, an organisation dedicated to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science and mathematics. The IFF’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is the largest participatory science/art project in the world.

Tate Modern Starr Auditorium
£15 (£12 concessions)
For tickets book online
or call 020 7887 8888.

Topology: a Hands-On introduction

led by Professor Brian Rotman (Becoming Beside Ourselves, Ad Infinitum and Signifying Nothing), The Ohio State University

5pm, Tuesday 15 November, New Academic Building, room 3.14

“In the last decade or so, topology has emerged as a potentially powerful heuristic tool in the arts, social sciences, and the humanities. To lead the workshop I shall present a brief contextualization and a hopefully accessible introduction to the basic ideas of the field with an explication – including some hands-on engagement – of some important topological surfaces and knots”
– Brian Rotman

Open to all staff and students, more information
z.arabadji (

Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th November, Tate Modern, Level 7,  East Room

Embodying Transformation

Performance program comprising two events designed to give an embodied
experience of topological concepts. “Knots & Donuts” is an immersive
sound sculpture for listening to shapes drawn in three-dimensional space
(conceived by Julian Henriques). “Ordinal 5” employs dancers to explore
mathematical concepts (conceived by Brian Rotman). This one-hour
performance program repeated five times over the weekend is a
collaboration between Goldsmiths, University of London and the Ohio State
University as part of the Topology at Tate Modern.

Performance times
Saturday 19 November 2011, 14.00–15.00
Saturday 19 November 2011, 16.00–17.00
Saturday 19 November 2011, 19.00–20.00
Sunday 20 November 2011, 14.00–15.00
Sunday 20 November 2011, 17.00–18.00

Further details and tickets