On Walls, November 9 2009

In commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall:

Architectural Meat
Hayley Imerman, Architecture

Though seemingly elementary and self-evident, the role of the wall in architecture is far from uncontested. The idea of the wall has been the conceptual catalyst for a long lineage of architectural builders and thinkers. From the wall-less-ness of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s Centre Pompidou in Paris, to the wall-house ‘paper projects’ of John Hejduk, this presentation considers the wall as creator, the wall as destroyer, the wall as moderator between past and future.

Demarcating the City: Contemporary Beijing’s Missing Walls
Elizabeth Parke, Art

My research examines the connection between urban space and walls in contemporary Beijing. By approaching the city walls through the lenses of art history, urban geography, and visual culture, this presentation uses archival photographs, maps, and contemporary art to understand how the city walls functioned traditionally, and to demonstrate their changing role in twentieth-century discussions of modernity and progress in Beijing.

A Chink in the Wall : Cross-Cultural Communication through Theatrical Gestures
Jennifer Heywood, Drama

“And such a wall, as I would have you think, / That had in it a crannied hole or chink.” -spoken by WALL, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Presenting research on the dramaturgy of performance, I will argue that while physical gestures do not contain synonymous meanings in differing cultures (hence creating a wall that blocks communication) the theatre, and more specifically the art of the actor’s gestures, and most specifically Eugenio Barba’s theory on pre-expressivity, offer a ‘chink’ in such a wall. The research behind this paper hopes to find a place, in art, where diverse cultures can understand the intentions and desires behind movement, offering a clearer understanding of each other’s visions and perspectives.

Penetrating the Myth of the Vaginal Hymen
Bronwyn Singleton, Philosophy

The vaginal hymen is a mythic wall that marks the inside and outside of woman, acting as alleged guarantor of chastity and virginity. Resounding medical evidence agrees that the hymen is an unreliable arbiter of virginity, and yet it continues to have a persistent hold on the imagination. I argue that while the hymen cannot guarantee virginal purity, it serves all too effective at protecting us from the dangerous confusion and contamination of sexual-erotic love. A smidge of Derrida grounds this work.

Photodynamic Therapy for the Treatment of Cancer
Emma Henderson, Medical Biophysics

Homeostasis, the tendency of living organisms to maintain internal stability, is largely achieved through barriers, the breakdown of which can lead to disease or death. In cancer therapies, however, the goal is death – at least of the tumour cells. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is one such treatment for cancer and its effectiveness relies heavily on the properties of these dynamic physiological walls. This presentation will be an introduction to PDT and how it works in the human body.

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