search the archive
search the archive
Absurdity and the Everyday May 17-18 2011
full name / name of organization:
University of Washington
Absurdity and the Everyday
The University of Washington’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference invites papers for its 2011 session: “Absurdity and the Everyday.” Given Jonathan Lee’s recent documentary on Paul Goodman and his nearly forgotten work Growing Up Absurd, we might consider the relevance of absurdity today. “Growing up absurd” serves well as an alternative way to think of this year’s theme (a phrase Arthur Danto borrowed to describe the late sculptor Eva Hesse): Does the age of reproducibility and the technology revolution leave room for the absurd, or is absurdity merely the measure of our daily existence?
This year’s conference hopes to expand the conversation on how the absurd operates in the everyday world—or perhaps how the everyday operates in the absurd world. The recent Marina Abramović retrospective at Museum of Modern Art allowed viewers to participate in the artwork by sitting and looking. Do these perfunctory gestures transform artworks into everyday experiences, or do artworks transform everyday experiences into absurdity, spectacle, or the ridiculous? How have advances in technology, urban environments, and new media (re)constructed the absurd in our everyday lives? How has the absurd changed from modernism to postmodernism? If the absurdist plays of Gao Xingjian show how the posthumanist “self” opens new possibilities for action, does the absurd offer positive outcomes for life in the twenty-first century? We look forward to answers and more questions through presentations from the arts, humanities, and sciences. Papers are welcome; other media are encouraged.
Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Bean (UW, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies)
Abstract Deadline (500 words): March 7th
Topics of exploration may include but are not limited to:
Absurd mediations/mediating the absurd