[UPDATE]: Issue 1.2-3 of NANO: New American Notes Online. Topics: Mystery, Surprise + Aggressive Art, Design, Architecture

full name / name of organization: 
NANO: New American Notes Online

Call for Papers: Issue 1.2/3

Deadline: 17 July 2011


*** First Special Theme: Mystery, the Unknown, Surprise

What's up? What went down? How are you doing? What happened? We all want to know what is going on. We want knowledge. We want to solve the crime. We want to get it right. Yet, we also get a thrill from being in suspense. We like surprise parties and a good mystery novel. This double issue of NANO is dedicated to the sleuth and the mystery maker.

Three question clusters:

1. Is storytelling a way to solve a mystery? Is the lyric the poetic mystery par excellence? Isn't the chief characteristic of drama the unraveling of an intricate mystery that we call plot? Is art more about finding one's way or creating enigma? What is the relationship between mystery and surprise?

2. Why are mysteries so powerful? Think of the prevalence of crime shows on television. Entire bookstores are dedicated just to mystery novels. Is there a business/profit angle to mystery? What might neuroscience say about the desire to seek answers to vexing questions? Are we hard-wired to be in mystery, or, are we hard-wired to figure out mysteries? And where does pleasure and desire enter into the equation?

3. The unknown and the future seem closely connected, but is the unknown also about the past? Religion is concerned with the unknown, and, perhaps, with making us comfortable with the unknown. Adventure and the unknown are correlates too. Does travel writing/cinema satiate our desire for the unknown, but in a safe manner? Do tourists simply like the soft surprise? Does the unknown help us frame ideas of difference and otherness?

Possible Topics:

suspense, ambiguity, who-done-it, secret, open secret, mystique, mysticism, crime novel, mystery novel, mystery theatre, mystery play, mystery shopper, getting/being lost, religion and the unknown, guessing, negative capability, mystery and cinema, obscurity, difference, the veil, cloak and dagger, magic, surprise attack, surprise party, shock jock, discovery, enigma, aphorism, allegory, Gordian knot, scientific method, reason and unreason

*** Second Special Theme: Aggressive Art, Design, and Architecture

Visual culture can assault or placate. Sometimes a little bit of both. For this double issue of NANO, we want to know what is happening in leading-edge art, design, and architecture that is confrontational. We also want a fresh look at what has happened in the past: what are the newest interpretations of aggressive looks?

Three question clusters:

1. Roles and methods. Should the role of art, design, and architecture be to wake society up? What are the limits of getting someone's attention? Why do some images and designs assault while some comfort? What are the legal and psychological implications for aggressive art? How should critics study aggressive art, design, and architecture?

2. Form and perspective. What types or forms are considered the most aggressive? Is aggressive visual culture more about public taste than the creator's vision? What has changed? The medium? The creator? The buyer? The technology?

3. Aesthetics and business. Is aggressive art any good? Should aggressive architecture conform to building codes? How does one curate aggressive art? What are the politics of aggressive art, design, and architecture? Is advertising the ne plus ultra of aggression? What is the business model for aggressive images? Who makes the paint for graffiti artists?

Possible Topics:

painting, sculpture, architecture, landscape design, fashion design, advertising, city planning, film, photography, pornography, poetry slam, accidents, performance art, drama, horror, gothic, graffiti, street/urban art, destruction as art, disease and death, propaganda, heavy metal, punk, gangsta rap, trespassing, definitions of art, hacking as design, sabotage, aesthetics, aggressive criticism

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Send queries or completed notes to editor.nanocrit@gmail.com



Submission Guidelines:


NANO is currently accepting notes for our 2011 issues. Our average article length is approximately 8 pages, or about 2,000 words. Maximum submission length: 2,500 words (sound/film projects should be shorter than 10 minutes in duration). Please include an abstract (150 word limit).