Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Turbulence: Turbulent Topology - Violence, Space and Landscape in Visual Culture

19 September 2019–20 September 2019, 12:30 pm–5:00 pm

turbulent topology

We are delighted to share the details of this upcoming turbulence symposium, convened by Dr Lucy Bollington (UCL). The symposium will include talks by Dr Emily Baker (UCL), Dr Paulo Drinot (UCL), Dr Geoffrey Kantaris (Cambridge), Professor John Kraniauskas (Birkbeck), Dr Alasdair King (Queen Mary University of London), Professor Nuala Finnegan (University College Cork), Dr Ricki O’Rawe (Queens’ University Belfast), Dr Stephanie Schwartz (UCL), Dr Patricia Sequeira Brás (Birkbeck), Dr Olga Smith (Warwick) and Dr Joey Whitfield (University of Cardiff), and the keynote will be given by Professor Macarena Gómez-Barris (Pratt Institute).

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Lucy Bollington


IAS Common Ground
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

The symposium forms part of a series of talks and events that have been held around the concept of turbulence over the past year. Registration is free and will be open until September 17th.

Bringing together specialists in visual studies, this symposium seeks to examine the ways visual culture has marshalled cartographic techniques, space and/or the landscape form when confronting slow, spectacular, structural and other forms of violence, with a particular (though not exclusive) focus on the geographical context of the Americas. Of interest are spatial constellations that surge beneath or extend beyond national maps—interzones, exceptional spaces, lacunae, and ongoing processes of deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation—as well as the ways extended visions of landscapes are deployed to index and undercut different cartographies of violence and power. Such spatial arrangements proliferate in visual framings of issues including migration, disappearance, trafficking, criminality, imprisonment, narco-capitalism, finance capitalism and urbanisation. The posthuman dimensions of visual topologies will also be discussed. On the one hand, digital technologies and mapping functions increasingly mediate experiences of sociality and violent conflict, and visual artworks have registered these immersive assemblages in innovative ways. On the other hand, visual texts have pursued the nonhuman figures or vantage points of animals and plant life, and have framed material decay in ways that interrupt existing cartographic organisations of the terrain and contest violent scapings of the land, as recent scholarship on ‘extractive zones’ (Gómez-Barris, 2017) and ‘necrolandscapes’ (Casid, 2018) has highlighted. The notion of turbulence that is mobilised in the title of this event stems from the Latin turba meaning ‘the crowd’ and turbāre denoting ‘to agitate’ and ‘disturb’ and has come to be infused with implications of disruptive and irregular fluctuation that chime with these heterogeneous topological processes. Positing turbulence as a capacious marker, the symposium invites speakers to consider how this concept can be used to describe the formal and thematic elements of the visual intersections of space, landscape and violence under consideration. In foregrounding turbulent topology, the event will probe related questions concerning dwelling, perspective and representation and will examine shifting negotiations of power, control and resistance.

Please find the programme here

All welcome. Please note that there may be photography and/or audio recording at some events and that admission is on a first come first served basis. Please follow this FAQ link for more information.