Call for Papers – 2008 Graduate Student Symposium
Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University
The Politics of Play: Art, Aesthetics, and the Ludic
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Opening Lecture: TylerJo Smith, Assistant Professor, Greek Art and Archaeology, UVA
Keynote Lecture: McKenzie Wark, Associate Professor, Media Studies, Eugene Lang College and the New School for Social Research
The concept of “play” broadly connotes activities, situations, and relations that are without purpose, spontaneous, creative, and pleasurable. Play has often been linked to art through the qualities of originality, universality, and autonomy. From Plato to Kant to Walter Benjamin, philosophers have theorized the relationship between art and play, while artists have explored the connections through the making and display of images and objects.
Recent scholarship on the ludic has begun to examine the role of play in cultural production and aesthetics, as in debates over the participatory tendencies of many contemporary art practices, historical investigations of earlier modes of play in social and aesthetic realms, and attempts to grapple with the overwhelming pressure of market forces and the instrumentalization of the aesthetic. In a world defined by the economics and politics of globalization and increasingly organized according to corporate models, what are the relevant critical lessons as well as the telling limitations of play for art practice?
We invite papers that interrogate the intersection of art and play across a broad spectrum: How does play alter conceptions of artistic agency and meaning? What are the historical and political dimensions of play? Who defines play and who is privileged to play? How does play cut across and potentially bridge categories like the cultural, the social, or the public sphere? What kinds of relationships does play produce and/or alter? What types of aesthetic objects does play produce? How does play threaten the disciplinary boundaries of art history and aesthetics as well as the traditional divide between art and life? What kinds of subjectivity—regressive, libratory, etc.—does play enable?
Possible structural models of play to be considered might include games or jokes as critical strategies, historical representations of games, decoration and ornament, gambling, the carnivalesque, competitions and patronage, mimesis, toys, visual puns, anamorphosis, aleatory production, and the aesthetics of uselessness. Submissions from all areas of art history as well as related disciplines are welcome.
Email abstract and CV in the body of an email to Emma Hurme and Megan Heuer at email@example.com by Friday, November 30, 2007. Abstracts should not exceed 300 words and final papers should not exceed 20 minutes in length. Selected speakers will be notified by December 15, 2007.
Department of Art and Archaeology
Princeton, NJ 08540 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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