CTB 2018: A Brief Photographic Recap

Keynote Spotlight: Dr. Jeffrey Kirkwood

Kirkwood4Saturday, March 17th, 4:30pm in the Multi-Purpose Room in the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4)

Dr. Jeffrey Kirkwood, Assistant Professor in Art History and Cinema Departments at Binghamton University, will present his keynote address:

The Future was Bright:
A History of Optical Counterfactuals

Optical technologies have long been credited with defining a terrain of factuality according to what they make visible. However, they have also historically structured limit cases for imagining the legitimacy of invisible, counterfactual states according to specific operations—from geometric projection and Mercator projection, to Galileo’s depictions of celestial objects. In the case of Galileo’s treatise, Sidereus Nuncius, Paul Virilio has argued that the telescopic view of the cosmos “projected an image of a world beyond our reach.” The paradoxical outcome was what Hans Blumenberg referred to as a critical “backwardness of visibility in relation to reality.” With the eruption of optical instrumentation, the end of the nineteenth century came to be defined by this “backwardness of visibility.” Where optical technologies developed by scientific figures like Ernst Mach have traditionally been celebrated for establishing a new, image-based universe of facts, this talk will explore the ways in which such images were more powerful for in opening a space of counterfactuality.

Open to the Public.  All are Welcome.

Keynote Spotlight: Dr. Edward Eigen

Ed-EigenFriday, March 16th, 5:15pm in the Binghamton University Art Museum in the Fine Arts Building

Dr. Edward Eigen, Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Harvard University School of Design, will present his keynote address:

On Accident: Episodes in Architecture and Landscape

Taking inspiration from fellow astronomer Pierre-Simon de Laplace, who once imagined a preternatural “Intelligence” that could determine the past and future course of things from their present configuration, Camille Flammarion applied a “calculus of probabilities” to the hiatus between what is observable and what is explainable. And just as science is, in Laplace’s well-advised words, “so far from knowing all the agencies in nature,” so too the historian makes do with fractured knowledge: anecdotes, traces, fragile impressions, acts of partial witness. The best she can do is to arrange narratives into an understandable plot, since the probable is a characteristic of plot itself. Should we be troubled, then, by the chancy nature—the caprices—of such forms of fractured knowledge? Or is it their threatening allure that breathes desire into the present project of history, rather than a melancholic or nostalgic fixation on the past? This talk will take up the charge of incomplete knowledge; “the fault . . . is not in our stars.”

Based on themes and issues from his new book, On Accident: Episodes in Architecture and Landscape.  https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/accident

Open to the Public.  All are Welcome.

Crossing the Boundaries 2018 Graduate Student Conference

Binghamton University
Art History Graduate Student Union
Call for Papers

26th Annual Crossing the Boundaries Conference:

[pl.]: Exploring the Multiple

Friday, March 16 – Saturday, March 17, 2018

In his dystopian novel Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami describes two parallel worlds—one similar to our contemporary capitalist society, the other a counterfactual world where people have no names but rather distinguish each other by their professions. One particular occupation, “Dreamreader,” is assigned to read old, distant, and unremembered dreams through the touch of self-illuminating unicorns’ skulls. Situated in what seems to be the only conceivable reality, we oftentimes limit ourselves to one conventional discourse or frame of thought, and forget alternative possibilities; we forget to cross the very thin line connecting one universe to another, where the potential to read and to be illuminated by multiple dreams is promised.

Binghamton University’s Art History Graduate Student Union seeks Dreamreaders and others, from multiple disciplinary backgrounds, for the 26th annual Crossing the Boundaries conference, which will engage the concept of [pl.]: Exploring the Multiple. The recent return to issues of the real and unreal, stimulated by discourses around art objects, techno-culture, and systems theory, prompts continued searching for multiple, unstable, even incoherent statuses and possibilities, and their relocation within an ocean of networks. The making of such alternative constellations is the aim of this gathering.

Today, when dreamlands seem to be so far out of reach, we wish to invite scholars and researchers from different fields to join this exploration of the multiple: to cross discursive boundaries, to add an “-s” to every term we engage, and to once more hold close our seemingly remote dreams.

The 2018 Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference Crossing the Boundaries XXVI invites proposals for academic papers / creative practices from MA and PhD students, independent scholars, and artists. Potential topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:

  • Accidents and the accidental
  • Architectural free-spaces
  • Archived and unarchived histories
  • Corporeality/-ies and materiality/-ies
  • Counterfactuality
  • Cultural techniques
  • Dispositifs: cinematic, exhibitionary, photographic, or theatrical apparatuses
  • Ecological humanities
  • Heterotopias
  • Observation vs. ontology: working against speaking on images in ontological terms
  • Humanism and post-humanism
  • Soft architectures

Those interested in participating in the conference should send a one-page abstract (no more than 250 words), CV, and cover page with institutional affiliation, if relevant, and contact information (phone number and email address) to:


Submissions due by Friday, February 9, 2018

Visiting Keynote: Dr. William Schaefer and “Photographic Ecologies in China and Beyond”

Join us March 25th at 10:45 AM for Dr. William Schaefer’s visiting keynote presentation on “photographic ecologies” in contemporary China.

William Schaefer.edited

Dr. Schaefer is a faculty member at the University of Rochester in the Chinese and Modern Languages and Cultures departments and is affiliated faculty with the Visual and Cultural Studies program.