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World Picture Conference

Nov 7-8, 2014

The term abandon encompasses radical renunciation and immersive indulgence in its oscillation between abandonment of and abandonment to, between restraint and luxury, mindfulness and neglect. When we speak of abandonment we indicate a situation in which we take leave of something, or disband a collective entity, or else act in a way that suggests a disaggregation of certain protocols of behaviour, or belonging (as when we “laugh with abandon”). Discourses and scenes of media and politics are generally highly invested in ideas of taking-leave, breaking apart or away, acting with abandon. In the present moment, we believe the term resonates in manifold ways. For instance: with often painful choices between theoretical and political models that have outlasted their effectiveness but to which there seem to be no alternatives; with turns to abandoned objects as new sources of ontologies in which the turn itself is a mode of abandoning an established political-theoretical project; with the obdurate “problem” of pleasure in aesthetics and aesthetic theory as either the obstacle or the medium of the aesthetic’s interface with the political; with the cathexis of the body and its phenomenology as an instrument and medium of political and aesthetic experimentation; with attempts to relinquish the human, and its attendant association with agency, as a category of experience; with contemporary experiences/fantasies of control and resistance to control; with theatricalizations of abjuration and gratification.

Keynote lecture:
Prof. Laurence Rickels, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe

The conference concluded with a performance by Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder.

Programme (PDF)

Organized by
Manuele Gragnolati (Oxford University/ICI Berlin)
Christoph Holzhey (ICI Berlin)
Brian Price (co-editor, World Picture/University of Toronto)
John David Rhodes (co-editor, World Picture/University of Cambridge)
Meghan Sutherland (co-editor, World Picture/University of Toronto)

This year’s World Picture Conference was a collaboration with the ICI Berlin and fed into its Core Project ERRANS, which takes the shifting and incompatible meanings of erring as a starting point to explore the critical potentials and risks of embracing error, randomness, failure, and non-teleological temporalities. For further details of that project, please see www.ici-berlin.org/errans.

The conference was supported by the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and the Department of Italian at the University of Cambridge.

Time: 7-8 November 2014
Venue: ICI Berlin
In English

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