BRADLEY GARRETT is a visual ethnographer based at the University of Sydney interested in how people build relationships to places through subversive actions. He writes a regular column for Guardian Cities and his research has been featured on media outlets worldwide including the BBC (UK), ABC (Australia), and Time Magazine (USA). He is the author of Explore Everything: Place Hacking the City Verso (2013), Subterranean London: Cracking the Capital (2014), London Rising: Illicit Photos from the City’s Heights (2016) and Global Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within (2016). From 2017, Dr Garrett will be working on a multi-year ethnographic project with doomsday preppers. His work can be found at www.bradleygarrett.com
Keynote Lecture: Thursday 4th May 5pm Geography Lecture Theatre
Countering Geographies of Dread
Neoliberal spaces around the world are comprised of three consistent tropes: privatised 'public' space and security, persistent surveillance systems and spatial inequality. As privacy is subsumed by omnipresence and daily life becomes toxified by dread perpetuated by connectivity, populist cynicism crescendos - as exemplified by Brexit in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the USA. Yet as Guattari wrote in his 1996 essay Towards a Post-Media Era, ‘new technologies foster efficiency and madness in the same flow... It can blow up like a windshield under the impact of molecular alternative practices.’ Perhaps there is hope yet for heterogeneity amidst these sociopolitical reformations. Yet the logic of capitalism, based more on appropriation than suppression, often means that the emancipatory potency of successful alternative practices are sapped where their aesthetics become yoked, or that these practices lay low with awareness of that danger, remaining localised and disjointed, if effective. With this in mind, as researchers who collect information, (co)produce knowledge and raise awareness, we are capable of inflicting great harm on those we work with and on their alternative practices. In an age of dread, how are we to research transgressions against homogeneity without reifying, essentialising and therefore undermining the very practices we find promising?