Tate Modern Symposium


Photograph of derelict building and people

Éric Alliez, Étienne Balibar, Drucilla Cornell, Olafur Eliasson, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, David Harvey, Bruno Latour, Catherine Malabou, Achille Mbembe, Sandro Mezzadra, Ernesto Neto, Luiz Alberto Olivera, Suely Rolnik, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Peter Sloterdijk, Nigel Thrift, Shiv Visvanathan and Peter Weibel are among the leading intellectuals, artists and writers who will be coming to Tate Modern as part of the Topology project.

Mathematicians in the first half of the twentieth century constructed Topology as a general theory of space. It initially emerged as an understanding of space in terms of properties of connectedness and invariance under transformation. Within a few years of its inception, psychologists, psychoanalysts, architects, artists, scientists and philosophers had started to use the conceptual language of relationships, intensities and transformations of this new theory outside its original field of mathematics. Limit, boundary, interior, exterior, neighbourhood, disconnection and cut were central notions that became ways of describing the fields of forces experienced by individuals. Static ideas of space as a container were replaced by understandings of movement-space, of multiplicity, differentiation and exclusive inclusion that in turn have led to new ideas of power, subjectivity, and creativity.

Topological theory has thus come to serve as a link in a network of disciplines: in each case the multiplicity of space and the formal analysis of its relations has proved illuminating. Few commentators have made explicit the nature of this topological grounding however, and in many ways these mathematical realities have been allowed to fade into the background. The Topology series of events renders explicit what has been lost sight of in this process by inviting contemporary intellectuals, artists and writers to discuss how they make use of topology in their thinking, writing and making.

Initiated by Jean Matthee. Curated by Jean Matthee with Bernard Burgoyne, Marko Daniel, Julian Henriques, Celia Lury and Brian Rotman.

Tate Modern

London SE1 9TG
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5 November 2011 – 16 June 2012

Past Events

Find out more

  • Topology: Edges of the World

    Artist Ernesto Neto in conversation with physicist Luis Alberto Oliveira as part of the Topology: Edges of the World symposium …
  • 12-11-2011 Topology: Secrets of Space seminar

    These seminars will investigate a variety of spatial attributes appealed to by the cultural and political theories discussed in the …