15 May 2020

co+labo radović     co+labo starts its very special + unusual 12th year at Keio - online       
The School year 2O2O-21 was always to be special. This is the 12th and final year of co+labo @ Keio University The outbreak of Coronavirus has added more than a nuance to that. All of our plans, which included many activities and events, visitors and workshops, had to be cancelled or, to out it euphemistically - postponed. The Pandemic has, perhaps, announced a new era. It has forced us to think and act in new ways, different to what we have experienced and known before. As reported in the 1 May post (below), co+labo is already active in an international initiative which seeks ways to (re)think architecture, cities and urban cultures within this new context.
The 2O2O school year has started much later than we usually begin. While we used to celebrate the beginning of semester 1 in a culturally meaningful and undeniably beautiful way, with hanami, traditional Japanese cherry blossom viewing (and drinking!) event, we now meet on Webex and Zoom - which certainly impoverishes the experience of thinking and learning together. Darko describes that the semester would normally start with "a series of lectures introducing the co+labo way, for new students 'indoctrination sessions' about becoming, and for others about diving deeper into what it means to be a co+labo member. In those lectures, I would invoke some of my intellectual Pantheon, trying to position those ideas towards (in)direct usefulness for what we were to be doing over the next one (undergraduate), three (Masters) or more (PhD) years at co+labo. Usual sources of ideas were coming from the lineages of Socrates to Plato, Heidegger to Nancy, all the way to Bogdanović, Perec, Debord, for many unexplainably Jullien, some recent acquisitions and the likes. Architectural, artistic, and urbanistic contextualisations were bringing in Praxiteles, Vitruvius, Michelangelo, Cerdà, and other diverse thinkers and makers which are impossible to copy or uncritically take on, all the way to broader urban and cultural thinking of always relevant Marx, Lefebvre, Derrida, Cixous, Badiou ... Placing co+labo into these networks of ideas was meant to inspire and help co+labo members to (intellectually) fly. The primary task was always to make our members think (together). Some contemporary and, let's conditionally say, more 'practical' (but never entirely and directly 'useful') thinkers would help me point at entry points into our research and design-research projects to come. One of the regulars was Alberto Manguel. I like to start with his beautifully provocative question" 'what do we think about when we look at the work of art?', only to broaden it towards inquiry into 'what we think when we look at ... a city, building, street, piazza ... at people?' That was in hope that Manguel's depth might be contagious. Roland Barthes was my usual next step, helping locate both co+labo and myself, as a gaijin, in Japan - before venturing further into theories and practice of urbanity". 
Then, various guest lectures would start coming in. From the next week we are going to begin simulating that, of course - online. (What else but simulation of reality could be done online?!) 
There will be enriching talks by co+labo research associates (starting with Rafael Balboa), PhD researchers (Satoshi Sano, Sanja Žonja), visiting professors (Neno Kezić). But, the opening will be given to Manguel himself in, for Coronavirus times, first-hand contact - via his two youtube talks: "On Reading Images" and "Don't You See What I Mean?". If you wish, let Alberto Manguel help you feel this co+labo moment.



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