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CH: CCC Research Master at HEAD Genve

HEAD, Boulevard Helvtique 9, 1205 Geneva, seminar room CCC, salle 27, 2nd floor
Charles Heller and Susan Schuppli
The two days with Charles Heller and Susan Schuppli will provide participants with the
possibility to learn about processes of trans-disciplinary research composed from
knowledge of migration, visual cultures, activism, NGO-policies, paradoxes of
jurisdiction, and the limits of the law. The presentations / readings / discussions / sitevisit / recording-exercises will emphasise the need for trans-disciplinary environments
and art-led experimentations as a necessary condition for developing research that
has the potency of a politics of detection. Research is able to render visible that which
remains invisible: slow violence, nuclearity, toxicity, climate change, lethal algorithms,
deep time, militarization, and the inhuman long-dure of history. The session will ask:
Why is it necessary to work on developing new visual/textual vocabularies that help us
to detect slow violence violence that operates outside of the law legitimised by
dominant politics or that takes place in geological time exceeding human
understanding? When can we speak of a navigation-image with an operational
capacity to articulate the constellation of amnesia and denial in relation to geoliquidities, environmental rights, and the human condition?
In the framework of the transversal POOL.CH, the session corresponds to the
CCC-Curriculum-related alliance with the Harun Farocki Institut that explores the notion
of navigation with the objective towards a new political understanding of imageregimes in the 21st century.
Charles Hellers long-term collaboration with Lorenzo Pezzani instigated the foundation
of the Forensic Oceanography research project that critically investigates the lethal
effects of the militarized border regime and the politics of migration in the
Mediterranean Sea, and in 2012 he co-founded WatchTheMed platform. In relation to
the question of navigation within the context of the migration in the Mediterranean
Sea, he will open the debate to differentiate between route and trajectory, offer an
analysis of the emergence and current mode of operation of the Mediterraneans
hiercharchised mobility regime, underlining the relation between the movement of
merchant ships and the boats of illegalised migrants, and discuss the methodologies
developed by the Forensic Oceanography project to account for the structural deaths
of migrants at and through the sea. Susan Schuppli will introduce the concept of the
material witness as a form of research and proposition making that explores a dual
condition: the ways in which matter carries evidence of events as well as they ways in
which materials expose the event of evidence. How does that concept relate to highly
distributed, non-linear events such as environmental pollutants and toxins. Her
ongoing work as an artist and researcher investigates forms of articulation to aim to
render visible The spatial dispersal of contaminates and temporal latency of their
material and biological effects, which may take years, even decades to emerge, has
allowed global climate-change actors and states to operate with virtual impunity.
Despite the radical and covert nature of nuclear materials, the unique signature and
behaviour of radioactive isotopes allows their lethal traces to be tracked directly back
to their source, re-connecting, in effect, the evidential links that planetary phenomena
has seemingly torn asunder.
A maximum of 20 participants will participate in the work session. Please
write a short motivation statement due November 11, 2016 to who will provide also readings.
The public conversation by Charles Heller and Susan Schuppli on November

16, 2016 at 7pm is obligatory for the participants of the work session while
public and open to everyone :


Boulevard Helvtique 9, 1205 Geneva, seminar room CCC, salle 27, 2nd floor
10am to 1pm:
After an introduction of everyone around the table, Charles Heller and Susan Schuppli
will speak about key-concerns in their work that both address questions around
forensic-evidence, dispersed violence, and complex forms of causality for discussion
with the group, moderated by Doreen Mende / Harun Farocki Institut. Preparations
are needed by reading the texts as listed below.
1pm to 2pm:
2pm to 4.30pm:
Together with Charles and Susan, we will define and sharpen particular key-terms /
key-questions towards an active working-protocol that will be useful for the next day.
That part will make palpable the active linkages between theory and practice. We will
end the afternoon with discussing the assignment for the site-visit during the next day.
Public Seminar Navigating Turbulences
10am-12pm (location to be confirmed):
The group will meet on a site in the city of Geneva. Location of the site will be
confirmed / announced during the first day. Please bring your mobile phones, audiorecorders, note-books, pens and papers or any further kind of recording-device in
order to trace / track / capture / observe and detail the technologies of migration /
geo-liquidities / in Geneva.
Lunch (location to be confirmed)
Back at Boulevard Helvtique 9, 1205 Geneva, seminar room CCC, salle 27, 2nd floor.
We will do a de-briefing from the visit to the site and collect observations / recordings /
elements: How do the previously discussed key-concepts may relate or resonate for
the participants observations? The participants will work in groups, and the session
will end with a round of presentations by all groups.
Maribel Casas-Cortes, Sebastian Cobarrubias, Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, Clashing
Cartographies, Migrating Maps: Mapping and the Politics of Mobility at the External Borders of
E.U.rope, An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 2016 (forthcoming)
Harun Farocki, Phantom Image, in public 29 New Localities, Centre for Fine Arts
York University, Toronto, 2004, pp.1222.
Sandro Mezzadra, What is at stake in the mobility of labor? Borders, Migration, Contemporary
Capitalism, in Migration, Mobility, & Displacement no 2 (1), University of Victoria, Canada, 2016,
pp. 3043.
Susan Schuppli, Dirty Pictures, Living Earth Field Notes from the Dark Ecology Project 20142016. Eds. Belina, Mirna and Arie Altena, Sonic Acts, Amsterdam, 2016, pp. 190211,
(Further readings:

Charles Heller is a researcher and filmmaker based in Geneva whose work has a
long-standing focus on the politics of migration within and at the borders of Europe. In
2011, he co-founded the Forensic Oceanography research project that critically
investigates the lethal effects of the militarized border regime and the politics of
migration in the Mediterranean Sea, and in 2012 they co-founded WatchTheMed
platform. Heller's recent works include the "Liquid Traces" (2014) video, and the
Death by Rescue (2016) report and video. Heller as been research fellow on the
Forensic Architecture project of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths,
University of London, and is currently conducting a postdoctoral research supported by
the Swiss National Fund (SNF). He was awarded a post-graduate diploma from CCC
Research Master of HEAD Genve in 2005.
Susan Schuppli is an artist and researcher based in London whose work examines
material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters. Creative projects
have been exhibited throughout Europe, Asia, Canada, and the US. She has published
widely within the context of media and politics and is author of the forthcoming book,
Material Witness (MIT Press). Schuppli is Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths and was
previously a research fellow on the Forensic Architecture ERC project. She is a recipient
of the ICP Infinity Award, 2016.
Harun Farocki Institut (HaFI), founded in 2015 in Berlin, is a non-profit organisation,
that seeks to realise Farockis proposal for an institution that we can also organize as
an assembly of working people, not from an abstract understanding but from the
contact points of their work in the shape of a platform for researching his visual and
discursive practice and supporting new projects that engage with the past, present
and the future of image cultures as forms of visual literacy of the 21 st century.