Dr. Antonis Vradis
Orient Institut Beirut
Thursday, 05 September 2019, 06.00 PM-07.30 PM
We perfectly understand the meaning of being "on time". So much of our daily lives revolves around this : scheduling meetings, meeting deadlines, running errands and doing chores at set intervals―in short, managing when we do what. But what about where we do what? Here, I believe, there is a gap in our understanding. Even though we are equally―if not more―aware of the invisible barriers that separate the spaces through which we move, we lack the words to describe these. Take the example of the campus: a lecture theatre is the space to deliver lectures, a kitchenette is where you will prepare a cup of tea or some food, an office is where an academic will work, meet colleagues, etc. Mix up any of these spaces and their use, and things can get pretty strange, pretty fast. I call this invisible human agreement raising these invisible barriers a "spatial contract". I believe it works in ways that are very similar to the social contract, this implicit agreement we have with the authorities that govern us in terms of how we are meant to act and what we can expect in exchange. And similarly with our conceptualisation of time, the barriers are socially constructed but nevertheless extremely robust. Today, these invisible barriers are raised the world over, as old borders are subject to an emergency and millions are forced to migrate due to war, famine and political unrest. In this lecture I reflect on my current research on the spatial contract (2013, 2016, 2019) and our collective work on new borders (Pluto 2018) to try and understand what the securitisation of national and EU borders means for our own lives, and the invisible barriers raised and contested there daily.
Antonis grew up in Patras, Greece’s port city and gateway to the West: he has been fascinated by people moving in and through cities ever since. He is Vice Chancellor's Research Fellow at Loughborough, Associate Editor at Political Geography and Editor at CITY.
Find us on Google Maps