Call For Papers and Art: Collage & Assemblage at the 27th Annual SLSA Meeting (10/3/13-10/6/13)

full name / name of organization: 
Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

VENUE: The Campus of the University of Notre Dame
DATES: October 3-6, 2013

In cultural production, the process of collage and assemblage, be it in music, visual art, literature, theory, or film, has an implicit relationship with technology. Bioart, transplantation, and other post-natural developments bring collage & montage into the realm of flesh and environment. The collage/montage process extracts elements from preexisting works and texts, and then integrates those recontextualized fragments into new works—integrated works that can draw out, or occlude the severances and ruptures implicit in the method; works that can reflect the violent discontinuities, or foreground the homogeneity in the new creation. How does our response change when the seams are hidden compared to when the seams are foregrounded? How do collage and montage figure in the way ideas are disseminated, sold, promoted, received, and critiqued or discouraged?

Historically, in the wake of WWI Dada artists and writers began creating literature, photomontages, and assemblages as a way of responding to the impact of technology and politics on the individual subject. From the politicized inclusion of newspaper fragments into paintings, to the playful, and sometimes pointed inclusion of reproduced images of politicians and celebrities, collage both reflects and critiques the culture of mechanized reproduction, the culture of mass media, and sometimes the culture of other technologies, like war machinery. In literature, the same post-war period yielded Ezra Pound's Cantos, and T.S. Eliot's famous poem, "The Waste Land," a landmark work comprised of disparate fragments responding, in part, to the overwhelming impact of war technologies on individual subjectivity and spirituality. The novels of John Dos Passos, which include stream of consciousness riffs of headlines and popular culture citations, provide a convenient example of collage techniques in fiction. Examples of cultural collage range from sampling lyrics and riffs in hip-hop and rap music, to the montage of disparate footage in film. In 1994, the film Forrest Gump added another dimension to montage possibilities by combining the then-new technology of digital film manipulations with the insertion of seamless assemblages of the fictional character Gump into iconic historical footage. In another, more current development, Independent artists are now making remixes of films, music al mashups, and other media combinations, and putting these montage video art works on youtube.

In addition to analyses of collage/montage in the arts, this session means to open the use of collage/montage/assemblage to its broader metaphorical and philosophical dimensions. Can we use an understanding of collage to examine the new hybridized forms of humanity? Prosthetic limbs, for example, in the growing coverage of amputee veterans returning from war, might be illuminated when considered in the context of collage and its relationship with technology. Some possible topics in this vein might include organ transplantation, xenotransplants (using animal organs/tissue in humans), recombinant genomic engineering, the plastinated corpses of Gunther von Hagens—reassembled in artistic assemblage presentations, and other forms of bioart. Concerning collage as metaphor, theory has a long tradition of using collage/montage as pointed allegory, from the theatrical interruptions of Bertold Brecht, to the postmodern examinations of identity through collage/montage in works by Roland Barthes, Gregory L. Ulmer and others.

We are seeking submissions of papers and art to propose a panel(s) and a roundtable for the thread of Collage and Assemblage at the 2013 Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, which has "Post-Natural" as its theme.

• Panel participants have 15 minutes for delivery of a scholarly paper; or presentation of art, writing, music, film, or new media, with an accompanying artist's statement or essay. For consideration in the panel, please submit a paper abstract of 250 words, and if relevant a sample of your related creative work.
• Roundtable participants share a brief example of their work accompanied by a condensed artist's statement regarding the role of collage and montage. After self-introductions, the emphasis shifts to an open discussion among participants and the audience. For consideration in the roundtable, please submit an artist's/writer's/composer's/filmmaker's statement of 250 words with a sample of your work.
• Please include your name, department and institutional affiliation, email address, phone, and any needed audio-visual equipment needs.
• All submissions are due by March 1, 2013 to both and

Michael Filas, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Westfield State University
577 Western Avenue
Westfield, MA 01086
(413) 572-5683

Dennis Summers, cco
Strategic Technologies for Art, Globe and Environment

Society for Literature, Science and the Arts