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Embodied and Embodying Space-Time in Visual and Textual Narratives

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Organizer: Atsuko Sakaki

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Space-time informs, forms, and transforms humans, and vice versa. In this process, the hierarchy between subject (observer, self, mind) and object (spectacle, the other, body) falls apart, and new ethics and aesthetics emerge in the acts of representation. This seminar invites papers on specific visual and textual narratives that keenly ask—and highlight the urgency of asking—how writers and artists present ambiguous and volatile relationships across porous borders between space, time, and the body. How do we register and mediate, in image and text, the ways (human) bodies and space-time affect each other? How do we, as viewers and readers, experience corporeality in image and text?
This seminar will address these issues while staying in touch with the métiers of the mediums and the laws of the genres (e.g., photography, the novel) as they contribute to and contradict the urge to grapple with the body in space-time. Such material and practical conditions are not necessarily restrictive, definitive, or encapsulating but can be enabling, ambiguating, and reinvigorating. We especially encourage papers that consider attempts at exceeding the limits or reconfiguring the terms of specific visual and/or textual discourse.
While inspired by theories of cinema, sound, and new media studies, our corpus is not limited to moving or aural images. Rather, we are inclusive of dynamic rereadings of the ‘still image’ of painting or photography, and ‘finite’ and ‘dead’ text of print culture, in terms of their release of the body, space, and time from anatomy, cartography, and chronology.
The questions to be asked and topics to be excavated in our search for new theories of the narrative include, but are not restricted to, the following:
Animals to touch, feed, listen to, walk with, and grow old with
Architecture and installations as experienced space
Choreography and kinetics
Cinema as experience
Environment with air, water, and minerals nourishing, challenging, and being exploited by humans
Everyday purposive activities to become spectacles and inspirations for works of literature and art
Geometry versus topology, cartography versus topography
Landscapes and still lifes in dynamic relation to humans in and around them
Memory and forgetting triggered by encounters with things in space in the narrative present
Public transportation to spend time in, and to see and be seen in
Spatiality in music and the novelistic discourse, to be composed, interpreted, and performed
Sports to be trained in, performed, and watched
Surfaces and substances to be touched, and observed as they acquire patina, rust, discolouration, or decomposition over time
Things to occupy space-time with humans

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