Materiality in Contemporary Art: Compos(t)ing the Past Through the Present

deadline for submissions: 
March 10, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
ASAP (Arts of the Present) Conference, 2017

For 2017 Association for the Study of Arts of the Present (ASAP) Conference in Berkeley, CA, Oct 26-28, 2017. More information:

This roundtable draws together visual artists, poets, and scholars to discuss the recursivity of aesthetic forms--how they mediate and reconfigure ecological conditions, and in turn, emerge from and respond to them. Each of these disciplines and art forms has a unique relationship to materiality--the sculptor vs. the poet, for instance--though each contends with immediate and mediated forms, neither of which has privileged access to the “natural.” Rather than thinking in terms of influence, tradition, or postmodern pastiche, we seek responses on how contemporary art can be understood in terms of its reconfiguration of past forms with an eye toward ecological and material conditions.

The recent material turn, which centers on the agency, intra-action, and vibrancy of the more-than-human world, offers a framework for understanding forms as both emerging from and bearing upon material conditions, configuring a reality that is both material and discursive. We invite visual artists, scholars, and creative writers to demonstrate how contemporary art mediates these material changes through its compos(t)ing of tropes, concerns, constraints, and affordances, and how these reconfigurations express that which was latent, hidden, or previously inaccessible in them. Against the inherent consumerism present in the dictum to “make it new,” this roundtable explores how poetry, visual art, film, prose and multimedia projects repurpose the past with a keen attention to the ecological material conditions that have necessitated or provoked such remediations.

Abstracts or project descriptions should be no longer than 250 words. Visual or multimedia artists may include images of their work if desired. Email by March 10, 2017 to Kristin George Bagdanov ( and Jenna Goldsmith (