Aesthetics of Contact and Mobility in an era of Global Crisis Management 28 September, 2009


Presenters: Gillian Fuller and Ross Harley

Date: 11 October 2009
Time: 2-4pm
Venue: Xindanwei, 4C, Bld 4 in Shanghai Hub No. 727 Dingxi Lu, Changning

Discourses of contagion, containment, crisis and immanent disaster are part and parcel of contemporary airport logistics. Recent scares over SARS, avian and swine flu highlight the wide variety of biometric and logistical techniques for managing urban/epidemic crisis. We argue that these techniques apply not only to liminal zones such as airport terminals, but also to the broader urban fabric of everyday life. The intimate relations of architecture and information in the global space of flows raises a set of questions around the aesthetics of touch and intimacy associated with communication networks of all kinds. The relationships between architecture, movement and the city have long been discussed in terms of regimes of vision — e.g. the ‘panoramic’ or the ‘cinematic’ city. This presentation tracks a genealogy/topology of mobile concepts, techniques and aesthetics located within the invisible waves of radio and an emergent logic of touch around ‘contactless technologies’. Our discussion will focus on implications of ubiquitous networks of mobile telephony, rfid tagging, bluetooth, wifi, and a multitude of other wireless technologies that penetrate the surfaces of bodies, the walls of buildings and that guide and track objects in motion.

About Fuller + Harley
Fuller + Harley are an interdisciplinary research-production team who fuse new media theory and practice in a variety of formats. For the past five years, they have been working on a multi-modal project that analyses the flows and network spaces of contemporary airports. Gillian Fuller, who trained as a semiotician and now specialises in new media geographies and mobile cultures, has worked in museums, and published in journals such as Borderlands, Fibreculture Journal and Social Semiotics and is co-editing the forthcoming book, Stillness in a Mobile World for the International Library of Sociology Series (Routledge). Ross Rudesch Harley is an artist and writer whose media work has been exhibited in venues such as at the Pompidou Centre, New York MoMA, Ars Electronica, and the Sydney Opera House. His writing has appeared in Art + Text, Convergence, Screen, Rolling Stone and The Australian. Their recent work, Aviopolis: A Book about Airports was published by Black Dog Publishing, London, in 2005. They are both researchers at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. For further information about their work, visit, and

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