University of Warwick

Workshop: 19 May 2017/ Exhibition: 20 May 2017

Coventry, United Kingdom

Registration for attendance now open

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Workshop Submissions

University of Warwick, Coventry (UK)

Friday, 19 May 2017

“ To dig, to drill , to burrow, to punch, to enlarge, to fill up, to fall in, to jump over, to look through, to hide in- all of these, and indeed many others, are things we do with, around, inside, and through holes.”

“A hole is there where something isn’t.”

 Casati and Varzi, Of Holes and Other Superficialities

What happens when ground gives way?

Sinkholes are constantly appearing. At least; there has been an increase in media attention over their globally growing number. Sinkholes describe geologically formed depressions or holes in the ground caused by either suffusion or karst processes leading to a collapse of the surface. They can appear naturally, but increasingly seem to be man-made as a result of more diversified subterranean uses. Their increasing number destabilizes urban, political and social infrastructure; it also raises profound metaphysical questions. In this workshop we attempt to look at sinkholes, as a lens through which we can ponder on situations of a vanishing of the ground beneath our feet. Holes can be seen as the absence of geographic materialities, loss, gaps, and collapse of meaning. Holes can also be interpreted as potential sites of openings, creativity, and reconstruction of new or recovered meaning.

We invite contributions that engage with the question of holes; a question, we believe, that can only be thought of through a multidisciplinary lens. We look for a conversation among artists, philosophers, geographers, academics in Sociology, Politics, Literature and Theatre and Performance Studies. The workshop will be held in parallel with an art exhibition at  Warwick University, Coventry. The exhibition will feature segments of Heide Fasnacht’s Suspect Terrain and Jenny Perlin’s One Hundred Sinkholes, and is part of a larger effort to make holes relevant as a subject and site of learning and research.

We invite interested contributors to send a 300 word (or shorter) abstract, and a brief biographical note to Marijn Nieuwenhuis ( and Aya Nassar ( Besides paper presentations;  alternative contributions such as performance, videos, drawings, pictures (etc.) are warmly welcomed.

The workshop and the exhibition are funded by the Institute of Advanced Study (IAS), the department of Politics and International Studies (PaIS), University of Warwick, and a PTF Professional Development Fund from The New School.

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Please find below a number of websites on sink holes. We regularly update this list.

Artist working on/ with sinkholes 

One Hundred Sinkholes

(The Simon Preston Gallery on One Hundred Sinkholes, a work by our guest artist and friend Jenny Perlin)

Suspect Terrain

(Socrates Sculpture Park on Suspect Terrain, a work by our guest artist and friend Heide Fasnacht)

Sinkhole Vessels

(A ceramist art project led by Liliana Ovalle and Colectivo 1050º)

Sinkholes news

The Sinkhole

(A frequently updated blog said to have “the world’s largest collection of sinkholes images and video”)

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