We live in a world where political geography and spatial planning have assumed permanent and easily observable divides between land, sea and air. Land is understood as solid, stable, divisible and the basis of human habitation; the sea is understood as liquid, mobile, indivisible, and hostile to human settlement; air is understood as gaseous, mobile, invisible and indispensable to human life.
The monsoon cuts across these divisions. It inundates lived environments every year, connecting land with sea and sky. It is a spatial practice that reorganises air, water, land, settlements, cities, buildings and bodies through heat, wind, rain, inundation, saturation and flow. It unites science with politics and policy with affect. Today, climate change is disrupting its cycles and explosive social and economic growth and rapid urbanisation are increasing the uncertainty of its effects. How can spatial design and the environmental humanities respond to these conditions by drawing on the monsoon as a template for spatial theory, analysis and design practice?
In order to deepen its responses to these questions, Monsoon Assemblages is convening three symposia between 2017 and 2019 framed by the states of matter connected by the monsoon – air, water and ground. Monsoon [+ other] Airs took place in April 2017. The second symposium, Monsoon Waters will take place on 12-13 April 2018. It will comprise interdisciplinary panels, key-note addresses and an exhibition and aims to bring together established and young scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines, literatures, knowledge systems and practices (theoretical, empirical, political, aesthetic, everyday) to engage in conversations about the ontologies, epistemologies, histories, politics and practices of monsoon waters.
Call for abstracts
We are particularly interested in contributions that investigate:
- Wet monsoon ontologies – wetness (in the air, on the earth, under the earth) as a way of being, cultures of wetness, and the urban, environmental and political consequences of attitudes towards being wet.
- Late-modern monsoon waters – attitudes towards water in south Asia since the mid 1980s, their history, their urban, environmental and political consequences and the ways-of-being-monsoon-water that these attitudes have produced, such as flood-water, deficient-water, toxic-water, beautified-water, bottled-water etc.
- Monsoon waters in a changing climate – monsoonal cycles of wetness and dryness from the perspective of climate change, any changes in political, social or economic behaviour these might be catalysing and in new or invigorated social movements these changes might be inspiring.
- Visualising monsoon waters of wetness and dryness (in the air, on the earth, under the earth) and their consequences for spatial design practice.
How to apply
Contributions should take the form of 150–250 word abstracts for either papers or creative, practice-based contributions such as drawings, photographs, videos, performances, musical compositions etc. Enquiries or abstracts should be sent to Lindsay Bremner at [email protected] by 8 January 2018.
About Monsoon Assemblages
Monsoon Assemblages is a project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. It is being carried out by an interdisciplinary research team led by Professor Lindsay Bremner. Professor Simon Joss is a member of the Advisory Board for Monsoon Assemblages.