SPECIAL ISSUE: "Art and the Commons: Tract, Circuit, Sphere"

full name / name of organization: 
ASAP/Journal: The Scholarly Journal of the Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present

This special issue of the new ASAP/Journal investigates how the notion of a "commons" has formed or is forming theories and production of post-1960s literary, performing, visual, and media art. Critical theory has addressed the notion of a commons through concepts such as "the multitude," the "affectsphere," "the ecosphere," and "open source"--all having implications for how a commons may potentially be constructed or annihilated in various arenas of contemporary social life. Yet what other forms of theoretical and/or enacted contact with the commons do the literary, visual, and performing arts present? For example, in the visual arts, "relational aesthetics" and "participatory art" controversially align themselves with commons construction, while electronic literature often cites digital commons' relationality, queer aesthetics offers new conceptual commons, and hip hop remix challenges anti-commons aesthetics; likewise, various Occupy movements as well as international liberation movements find art performance central to enunciating commons politics. New definitions of contemporary art periodization—such as planetarity, cosmodernism, altermodernism, geoculture, info-aesthetics—often quote commons' logics. The question is, then, this: How do the post-1960s arts portray, or construct, or deconstruct, our notions about the commons and extend the commons beyond its earlier social territories and meanings?

This "Art and the Commons" issue, edited by Amy J. Elias, explores how the contemporary arts relate to, develop, contest, or modify conversations about "the commons." The issue title plays on various forms (prose tracts, sound tracks, media circuitry, sculpted spheres) and locations (plotted space, rhizomatic space, psychic space, planetary space) associated with art's interplay with the commons. Some questions that papers might consider include the following:

  • How does the notion of a commons change when it is situated in relation to artistic forms? What is the relation between art and commons logic, commons ethics, commons action, commons space? What do artists say about this?
  • What is a commons in relation to today's art works in different fields (music, visual art, literature, performance, digital environments)? What, if anything, should it be? How are artists across arts disciplines and across political and cultural geographies newly enabling a reconsideration of commons logic in relation to art? What impedes them? What provokes them?
  • What do "the arts of the present" have in common? How might we understand the contemporary arts themselves as "a commons" in relation to other aesthetic spaces, discourses, and projects? Is "the contemporary" a commons?
  • How do the arts of the present address the political, ethical, affective, and aesthetic import of "the commons," uniquely and in dialogue with previous arts movements and assumptions? How should they do so, and why?
  • What is the role of the aesthetic not only in the creation of public commons but as itself a commons? Should we wish to re-describe aesthetic form, authorial intention, material specificity and (aesthetic or cognitive) framing as commons space? Do notions of the commons transfer across arts media? What aesthetic strategies or techniques dovetail with the notion of an aesthetic commons?

Articles accepted starting June, 2014.
Last date of submission for "Art of the Commons" issue is March 15, 2015.

Please send inquiries with abstracts, and/or full articles, via email to editors_asap@press.jhu.edu
with the subject line: "Submission: Commons Issue."

Articles should be approximately 6000-8000 words (the upper limit is firm), excluding works-cited lists and translations, which should accompany foreign-language quotations. We do not consider articles that are simultaneously under review by other journals; an article found to have been simultaneously submitted elsewhere will not be published in ASAP/Journal even if it has already been accepted for publication by the editorial staff. Copyright for all articles remains with the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Manuscripts in languages other than English will be considered but must be accompanied by a detailed summary in English (generally of 1,000–1,500 words) and must be translated into English if they are recommended for publication. All content in the journal is anonymously peer reviewed by at least two referees. If the contribution includes any materials (e.g., quotations that exceed fair use, illustrations, charts, other graphics) that have been taken from another source, the author must obtain written permission to reproduce them in print and electronic formats and assume all reprinting costs.

Submissions should be prepared in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style.
Authors' names should not appear on manuscripts; instead, a cover sheet, with the author's name and address and the title of the article, should serve as the first page of each manuscript file. Authors should not refer to themselves in the first person in the submitted text or notes if such references would identify them.

ASAP/Journal is the new scholarly journal of A.S.A.P.: The Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present and is co-edited by Jonathan Eburne and Amy J. Elias. The journal is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, and the first issue will be available January of 2016. Information about ASAP/Journal currently can be found at the ASAP website, http://artsofthepresent.org. The journal's own website will be online through Project Muse by publication date.