Chalmers Conferences, Transvaluation: Making the world matter

TRANSVALUATION ― Making the World Matter. Presentation of the International Symposium in Search for Alternative, Cooperative Environments of Knowledge, Creation and Invention, of “Making and ”Thinking”
Peter de Graeve, Catharina Dyrssen, Nel Janssens

Last modified: 2016-07-04


In the current measurement- and indicator-driven knowledge culture, research in architecture, art and disciplines within the humanities and the social sciences may succumb to economic or scientific models, or be separated from important contexts of invention, risking to reduce research largely to standardized reproduction.

The Transvaluation international symposium in Gothenburg, Sweden, May 21-22 2015, was a response to the current proliferation of evaluation systems and the dominant culture of measurement that comes with it. It searched for ways in which architecture, art, philosophy, anthropology and other areas of research may challenge, together, the very concept and formation of knowledge, stretching and enriching it, hence “transvaluing” material and spiritual research cultures from within, disclosing alternative approaches and strengthening their logics of argumentation within the interdisciplinary frame, with potential to change its systemic conventions.

The symposium aimed to be a high quality event with prominent key note speeches (“statement lectures”), small format seminars (“salons”) and collective forum discussions. The occasion called for an open debate, addressing fundamental strategic questions on research approaches across disciplinary borders, instigating movements for change and searching for alternative, cooperative environments of knowledge, of creation and invention, of “making and thinking”, indicating ways to trans- and re-value research cultures from within.

Two major themes were focused upon: Poetics and Politics of Value, both referring to the (re-)making of values in artistic and architectural practice and in human scientific research, and to related political and systemic aspects implied in the topic of (trans)valuing. Both themes were examined through two conceptual lenses: Worlding (shaping the world, transforming matter) and U-topos (space for speculative thinking and making).

The key note speakers were international experts addressing transvaluation from three different knowledge perspectives: Arjun Appadurai from social, global anthropology; Andrea Phillips from art researching practice and doctoral education; and Graham Harman from speculative realism and material objects.

Researchers, doctoral students and practitioners were invited to submit contributions for discussion at the symposium. Abstracts of maximum 500 words were peer reviewed by the academic committee, and out of almost one hundred proposals about 50% were selected for presentation and development into full papers, some of them revised after the symposium for this digital publication.

Thank you, all participants, for your contributions and for taking the Transvaluation project further!


ISBN 978-91-88041-00-5

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