Edited Collection: Vibratory Modernism (abstract deadline 10/1/2010)

full name / name of organization: 
Anthony Enns, Department of English, Dalhousie University
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Vibrations played a central role in nineteenth-century science, as light, heat, energy, and matter were all gradually understood to be essentially vibratory. This new understanding of the universe as being purely composed of vibrations had a tremendous impact on all aspects of the arts in the first half of the twentieth century, as they introduced new aesthetic possibilities that promised to transform the way art was made and viewed. In the visual arts, for example, movements like Futurism and Vorticism conceived of invisible fields of energy that could be tapped into to create new forms of art. Writers like Virginia Woolf, Upton Sinclair, and Joseph Conrad also engaged with the new scientific understanding of vibrations in the development of modernist sensitivities and subjectivities. New theatrical practices, such as the work of Antonin Artaud, similarly conceived of the theatrical space as a vibrational medium that bridged the divide between actors and audiences. In all of these areas, modernists were trying to tap into unseen forces and show the connection between the interior self and the exterior environment.

We seek contributions that explore the impact of this new understanding of vibrations on the visual arts, literature, and theatre. Of particular interest are the changing relations between technology and perception, mind and body, materiality and immateriality. Please submit abstracts of no more than 400 words to Anthony Enns and Shelley Trower by 1 October 2010.