FEW HOURS LEFT_Avant-Garde Humor and Political Aesthetics

deadline for submissions: 
June 10, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
PAMLA, San Diego, CA

This panel explores the interconnection of avant-garde humor with forms of political action that defied conventional art and lifestyles. Literally meaning “advance guard” in French, the term holds a military sense that applies to artists and works characterized by their combative nature and their tendency to question the acceptability of norms and traditional aesthetic genres. Avant-garde artists made use of humor as a political weapon that destabilized the status quo by challenging moral values and promoting radical reforms on a sociocultural level. Their main concern was, to quote Jacques Rancière in The Politics of Aesthetics (2004), to alter the distribution of the sensible, “the very manner in which something in common lends itself to participate and in what way various individuals have a part” (12). In other words, those groups excluded from a given community, become visible and audible by engaging in acts of dissidence that disrupt the public sphere. Since avant-garde humor was subversive in and of itself, it served to offer a critical commentary on reality that overturned deep-seated social codes and political correctness. From the Cubist rejection of Euclidean perspective, through the Futurist and Dadaist provocative performance, to the shock effect in Expressionist and Surrealist films, experimental artists have taken advantage of humoristic practices to interfere within political affairs. Abstracts for papers that examine cases of non-normative art are welcome to participate in this session. Topics might include, but are not limited to the following:


—Parody and political aesthetics in the avant-garde soirée.

—The subversive humor of the photomontage.

—Partisanship and irreverence in avant-garde journals, manifestos and political pamphlets.

—The art exhibit as a confrontational gesture against the public.

—Representations of the circus in the avant-garde.

—Women and humor in experimental art.

—The political power of laughter.

—Adaptations and recreations of the harlequin, the clown and the tricksterin the avant-garde.

—Cinematic humor and literary characterizations of mainstream filmic figures.

—The grotesque and carnivalesque in verbal and visual experimental production.


By June 10th, 2019, please submit a 300-word abstract along with a brief bio and A/V requirements to Leticia Pérez Alonso through this application system: https://pamla.ballastacademic.com/.