CFP: [Graduate] The Politics of Play: Art, Asthetics, and the Ludic

full name / name of organization: 
Megan Heuer
contact email: 

The Politics of Play: Art, Aesthetics, and the Ludic
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Opening Lecture: TylerJo Smith, Assistant Professor, Greek Art and
Archaeology, UVA
Keynote Lecture: McKenzie Wark, Associate Professor, Media Studies, Eugene
Lang College and the New School for Social Research

The concept of “play” broadly connotes activities, situations, and
relations that are without purpose, spontaneous, creative, and pleasurable.
Play has often been linked to art through the qualities of originality,
universality, and autonomy. From Plato to Kant to Walter Benjamin,
philosophers have theorized the relationship between art and play, while
artists have explored the connections through the making and display of
images and objects.

Recent scholarship on the ludic has begun to examine the role of play in
cultural production and aesthetics, as in debates over the participatory
tendencies of many contemporary art practices, historical investigations of
earlier modes of play in social and aesthetic realms, and attempts to
grapple with the overwhelming pressure of market forces and the
instrumentalization of the aesthetic. In a world defined by the economics
and politics of globalization and increasingly organized according to
corporate models, what are the relevant critical lessons as well as the
telling limitations of play for art practice?

We invite papers that interrogate the intersection of art and play across a
broad spectrum: How does play alter conceptions of artistic agency and
meaning? What are the historical and political dimensions of play? Who
defines play and who is privileged to play? How does play cut across and
potentially bridge categories like the cultural, the social, or the public
sphere? What kinds of relationships does play produce and/or alter? What
types of aesthetic objects does play produce? How does play threaten the
disciplinary boundaries of art history and aesthetics as well as the
traditional divide between art and life? What kinds of
subjectivityâ€"regressive, libratory, etc.â€"does play enable?

Possible structural models of play to be considered might include games or
jokes as critical strategies, historical representations of games,
decoration and ornament, gambling, the carnivalesque, competitions and
patronage, mimesis, toys, visual puns, anamorphosis, aleatory production,
and the aesthetics of uselessness. Submissions from all areas of art
history as well as related disciplines are welcome.

Email abstract and CV in the body of an email to Emma Hurme and Megan Heuer
at by Friday, November 30, 2007. Abstracts should
not exceed 300 words and final papers should not exceed 20 minutes in
length. Selected speakers will be notified by December 15, 2007.

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Received on Wed Nov 21 2007 - 12:11:29 EST