Event date: 8 December 2010
Bedford Square London
Recent geographical scholarship has highlighted the importance of ‘verticality’ – aerial and three dimensional perspectives – in conceptualizations of space, territory, sovereignty and power. Within the subdiscipline of critical geopolitics, this interest has been, in part, provoked by recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan and mobilized though broader discussions of warfare, surveillance, air (and space) power, communications technologies and military hardware.
Pete Adey (Keele University) – Areal Life: space, substance and ‘being-in-the-air’
On his return from the trenches of the First World War, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner would express a feeling of heaviness; a kind of pressure pushing in at him, weighing down on him as if the outcome is in the air and everything is topsy turvy. The treatment for Kirchner, ironically, was the thin and pure mountain air. In this paper I work and move from a posi?on around aerial space and turn towards the ma^er of air itself. Both, the paper suggests, are glued together by the problem of life and ques?ons of how that life can become the object of security and violence. Following Peter Sloterdijks orienta?on towards the ma^er of air as a point of explica?on between the human (body/community) and its environment, the paper outlines a project which sets out the airs crucial role in the suppression of the subject by war, militarism and violence before pausing. How has the air not simply killed, but filled the body with a lightness and an integrity, allowed it to inhabit hos?le spaces – holding it together not pulling it apart? For Gaston Bachelard, air is the hormone that allows us to grow psychically. Taken to the limits of its survival and insulated from excessive speeds, brought to the extreme ver?cal situa?ons of high al?tude mountain peaks, to the lows of subterranean worlds and the troughs of new moral and aesthe?c depths through the states of lifes existence – the paper outline a project that takes the air seriously.