January 29, 2024

On Ruins and Living – Daniel Vella Collaborates with an International Team of Colleagues to Present Thought-Provoking Talks!

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  • Staff Work

Vienna, Austria: The year 2024 began with a poignant reflection on our crumbling worlds, both metaphorically and philosophically. A panel of academics from various parts of the world gathered to remind us of the ongoing catastrophes surrounding us. The interdisciplinary symposium was organized around the theme of arts, digital spaces, decay, and contemporary ruination.

Titled Alles bröckelt which literally translates to 'everything is crumbling', the event took place at the International Research Centre for Cultural Studies of the University of Art and Design Linz in Vienna. The academics utilized the space to discuss current cultural, political, and social issues, including postcolonialism, social decay in Europe, community and memory, and ongoing ethnic cleansing in various parts of the world.

The following topics were presented:

  • Sonic ruins (the decay and degradation of audio recording on material media)
  • Ruins in digital games
  • Dark tourism
  • Community life in post-Soviet post-industrial ruins in Latvia
  • A photographic essay on the ruins of Varosha in Cyprus
  • "We Are Zama Zama" -- a documentary by filmmaker Rosalind C. Morris about Zimbabwean migrants exploring the abandoned gold mines around Johannesburg
  • "Forensic architecture" in relation to investigations of images from the 2020 Beirut explosion
  • The idea of resilience in cybernetic and systems theory
  • A post-colonial account of the lost Neolithic burial site of Bur Mgħeż in Malta, focusing on community memory and spatial practice
  • Ruins and utopia in the Mediterranean context, discussing ruins in the rapidly-changing Maltese landscape and the cultural sense of place, as well as Palestinian ruins

Presenters employed various mediums to showcase their work, including game-based performance, documentary film, art installation, and, of course, the 'traditional' academic presentations.