International Interdisciplinary Conference
Newman House, University College Dublin
Friday 12-Saturday 13 October 2007
Call for Papers
This conference sets out to investigate the meaning and role of space in contemporary cultural theory and practice. Often invoked as the key parameter for understanding twentieth-century culture, does space retain this centrality today? In the mid-1940s, such influential exponents of modernist culture as Sigfried Giedion, Clement Greenberg and Joseph Frank asserted the primacy of space in the theory and practice of architecture, art and literature respectively, defining the modern by divorcing it from temporal or historical forms of understanding. Since the 1970s, however, space has been increasingly problematised: imploded through technological acceleration (Virilio), emptied out by the circulation of consumer goods (Baudrillard), transformed into a trap through surveillance (Foucault), or manipulated to conceal profound economic transformations (Fredric Jameson and David Harvey). The once reassuringly neutral category of space has been unmasked as uncanny and warped (Anthony Vidler), inflected by relations of gender (Doreen Massey) and race (Homi Bhabha). After a century largely devoted to thinking and creating in spatial terms, does space remain a viable paradigm or has it reached a point of exhaustion, simultaneously banal and fraught?
The aim of this conference is to investigate the current relevance of the spatial paradigm in theory and practice across the arts and social sciences. It seeks to do so through an exploration of four interrelated themes: experience (the existential interaction between individuals and communities and the spaces they inhabit), construction (the making and remaking of those spaces), representation (the depiction of those spaces in the media and the arts), and theorisation (the conceptual understanding of space in relation to its experience, construction and representation). Although not seen as exhaustive, when taken together these four themes, and the continuities and tensions between them, provide a framework for thinking about the relations between theory and practice, the academy and the artworld, the arts and social sciences, the social and the aesthetic. Scholars and practitioners in all fields are invited to propose papers that address any aspect of space in the modern and contemporary period. Proposals for panels mixing theory/criticism and artistic and/or architectural practice are particularly welcome.
Confirmed keynote speakers to date include: Barry Bergdoll (Columbia University/MoMA, New York), Steve Pile (Open University, UK), Anthony Vidler (The Cooper Union, New York)
For further enquiries, please contact Dr Hugh Campbell, UCD School of Architecture, Landscape and Civil Engineering (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr Douglas Smith, UCD School of Languages, Literatures and Film (email@example.com) or consult the website www.ucd.ie/arcel/defining_space.html. Please submit proposals for papers (300 words maximum) and panels (of maximum three participants with individual abstracts) by e-mail to both of the above addresses by 31 March 2007.
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