Fantastic Materials: Things and the Workings of the Non-Real. 7-8 July 2016, Sosnowiec, Poland

full name / name of organization: 
Institute of English Cultures and Literatures, University of Silesia

The conference aims to address the use of materiality by the fantastic in its aesthetic, narrative and world building strategies. In the broadest sense then, the conference wishes to investigate the contribution of things to the achievement of the non-real and the production of its estranging appeal, which, at the same time, frequently bears responsibility for its immersive qualities.

Positioned as the other of realistic expression with its normative sanction, the fantastic strives to generate worlds and stories which would be imaginatively persuasive, be it either in the creation of ruptures and discontinuities or in the establishment of representative coherence and internal logic. Through the use of defamiliarization and (en)wonderment as well as through the evocation of fear or longing, the non-real engages with the real in both dialogic and subversive manners, often achieving a powerful critique of the domestic, social, political and geographical environments. Or, conversely, despite its representational otherness, the fantastic may reinforce the ideological conditions of those environments, embracing their values and bestowing them with mythologizing meaningfulness.

The purpose of the conference, therefore, is to explore the role of things in fantastic representations on the level of artistic expression as well as on the level of its affective and ideological effects. We invite scholars working on the various modes and theories of the non-real in culture (literature, art, film, TV, video games), and also in transmedial environments, to engage in readings of the entanglement of the material and the fantastic through, for example, such perspectives as the poetics of matter, material culture studies, the material engagement theory, affect theory, or object-oriented ontology.

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Deadlines for proposals: 31 March 2016