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Celia Lury: The Problem of the Problem

A keynote talk by Celia Lury on the “Problem of the Problem: From Inventive Methods to Problem Spaces”.

Oplysninger om arrangementet


Tirsdag 11. juni 2024,  kl. 10:15 - 12:00


Aarhus University Campus Building: 1441, Room 113.

Celia Lury: The Problem of the Problem
A keynote talk by Celia Lury on the “Problem of the Problem: From Inventive Methods to Problem Spaces”.

The Environmental Media and Aesthetics research program and the Centre for Environmental Humanities at Aarhus University are hosting this keynote talk by professor Celia Lury. Lury’s talk on the Problem of the Problem is open to all and organised as part of the PhD summer school in Environmental Humanities and Media which in 2024 takes as its theme Transdisciplinary Methods.

The summer school is also supported by the PhD programs Anthropology, Global Studies and the Study of Religion and ICT, Media, Communication and Journalism.

For more info, contact professor professor Jussi Parikka (parikka@cc.au.dk) or Heather Swanson (ikshswanson@cas.au.dk) who are also the co-organisers of the Summer School.

Celia Lury
Problem of the Problem: From Inventive Methods to Problem Spaces”.

In Inventive Methods, Nina Wakeford and I took inspiration from the artist Richard Serra’s claim that ‘Drawing is a verb’. His artwork Verb List (1967–68) serves as a kind of manifesto for this pronouncement. In pencil, on two sheets of paper, in four columns of scripts, the artist lists the infinitives of 84 verbs—to roll, to crease, to fold, to store, for example—and 24 possible states or conditions—of gravity, of entropy, of photosynthesis, of nature among others.

In an interview, Serra said, ‘The problem I was trying to resolve … was: How do you apply an activity or a process to a material and arrive at a form that refers back to its own making?’.  The art critic Rosalind Krauss suggests that the list describes Serra’s practice in terms of action that ‘simply acts, and acts, and acts’.  Serra himself drew attention to the relations in which the action that ‘simply acts’ takes place: he describes the list as a series of ‘actions to relate to oneself, material, place, and process’. We took his comment to be about ‘the problem of the problem’, a problem I sought to roll, to crease, to fold, to store in Problem Spaces. Here I try to explicate the actions in which the problem of the problem is recognized in examples taken from environmental and media studies: showing how actions relating to oneself, to material, to place and to process help recognize and define a situation as a problem. 

Celia Lury is Professor and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies at the University of Warwick.  She has published widely on interdisciplinary methods and problem spaces. She is currently completing a co-authored monograph with Sophie Day and Helen Ward with the title People Like You: The Person in Personalisation.