Call for 15-Minute Works on or Relating to Alchemy
Given the American Anthropological Association theme of “Magic, Science, and Religion” for the 2004 Annual Meetings, we propose an alternative panel session that will transmute existing conference norms through creative works on or relating to alchemy.
Through ritual reiteration, conference presentation styles have ossified. Panelists learn to rapidly and often incompletely read papers. This mode of intellectual exchange slouches toward monologic performance endorsed by a vita notation. Through alchemical exploration, we propose to transform the conventional hour and a half session into a ludic space open to change and possibility.
We invite experimentally minded scholars to create 15-minute works that delve into transmutations of one substance, environment, language, body or identity into another. The golden elixir or purifying fire of historical alchemists points to the search for a catalytic agent, providing poetic metaphor for the phenomenon of human conflict and change called “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller and “liminal states” by Victor Turner.
Possible alchemical explorations include: a 15-minute performance or reading of a one-act play, musical composition, short-story, or poetry; a 15-minute slide show, video or audio recording; an installation or exhibition of visual work which the audience will be given 15 minutes to explore. Either an individual or collaborative team can produce these works. Each piece will be self-contained rather than simply gesture in abbreviated form toward a longer work.
The organizers will produce a digital recording of the proceedings. Each participant will receive a copy of this “philosopher’s disk.” We will make copies of the disk available to other interested scholars, educators, and cultural producers.
Please e-mail 250-word proposals and, if applicable, an example of related work to: Mary Ann O’Donnell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Sasha Welland (email@example.com). The deadline for submission is: March 7. The 2004 AAA Annual Meetings will be held in San Francisco, November 17-21.
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