How might we engage with places that are at a distance from us? By distance Dr. Awan not only means places that might be located far away or are inaccessible, but also thinking of places that through their material conditions repel us in some way, or from which we are repelled. Whilst in the past, such places would remain out-of-sight and out of our consciousness, increasingly they reveal themselves to us. Often this occurs through the use of digital technologies, from the impulse to map and create a digital globe of the whole world to the various social media platforms that transmit images and videos. This situation is very different from the past when such places could only be seen in a few, select images that were often heavily mediated in reports by journalists and through the narrative of NGOs and state actors. More so than ever before, we are compelled to act, to somehow feel responsible for and bear witness to what occurs at a distance from us. The talk on 17th February, 2016 explored some of the ethical and political implications of such actions at a distance.
Dr. Nishat Awan is a Lecturer in the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield, UK. She has previously worked as a Research Associate at Sheffield and a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Technical University Berlin. She has also taught Goldsmiths, University of London and the University of East London besides working as a practicing architect in London for several years.