UPDATE -- 2013 MMLA Convention: Is the Artist Present? (Confirmed Special Session)

full name / name of organization: 
W Brett Wiley (MVNU)
contact email: 

In 2010, performance artist Marina Abramović presented a retrospective show at MOMA entitled Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present that included one new performance. From March 14 to May 31, Abramović performed a solo piece in the museum's atrium; she invited visitors to sit silently across from her for as long as they chose. In this way, she was "present" in more ways than one; being present was her piece, she was present in her piece, and she presented her piece all simultaneously. This unique and profound performance, and the title of the show itself, raises questions about the role of the artist in contemporary art.

These questions are equally relevant to the discussion of contemporary fiction. In some postmodernist texts, the author (or some version of the author) has reinserted him or herself, complicating Roland Barthes declaration of the death of the author in 1967. What is this aberration and what has caused it? Is the author suddenly present, sitting in the room as it were, across the table from us as we read? Has the author been resuscitated, resurrected, or at least propped up in apparent lifelikeness? And if so, what are the implications of this presence?      

This is now a confirmed special session for the 2013 M/MLA in Milwaukee. Please send abstracts and brief vita to Dr. Brett Wiley at bwiley1@mvnu.edu by June 15, 2013. The conference takes place in Milwaukee from Nov. 7-10, 2013.