The two-week »Talking Matters« lecture series, launched in May, is moving on to the next round. On September 14th, we look forward to an inspiring lecture and discussion from and with anthropologist Ignacio Farías from Humboldt Universität zu Berlin on »Urban Vibrations: How Physical Waves Come to Matter in Contemporary Urbanism.«
The lecture is given in English. It is part of the online lecture series of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity« entitled »Talking Matters«.
Cities have turned into critical zones of the contemporary: arenas where the interdependence of environmental processes, infrastructural arrangements and human lives is increasingly apparent and disputed. Research in anthropology, science and technology studies (STS) and other fields on health hazards and environmental disasters in urban areas has been crucial in unearthing invisible forms of environmental injustice and slow violence. In this presentation, I would like to focus on a mostly overlooked type of environmental issue, airborne waves, and explore how solar heat and environmental noise ‘come to matter’ in contemporary urbanism. This involves understanding how physical waves become associated with specific materials, bodies and devices through which they are felt, known or manipulated, as well as how they become matters of public concern and urbanistic intervention. The theoretical and governmental challenge waves pose relates to their ontological indeterminacy, as waves are not entities, but intensities that propagate through things. Addressing this challenge is crucial for reassessing the material politics of the Anthropocene as entailing contested practices of materializing abstract or imperceptible environmental disturbances.