“Absurdity and the Everyday”

Absurdity and the Everyday
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington
May 17-18, 2011

The University of Washington’s Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference invites papers for its 2011 session: “Absurdity and the Everyday.” Given Jonathan Lee’s recent documentary on Paul Goodman and his nearly forgotten work Growing Up Absurd, we might consider the relevance of absurdity today. “Growing up absurd” serves well as an alternative way to think of this year’s theme (a phrase Arthur Danto borrowed to describe the late sculptor Eva Hesse): Does the age of reproducibility and the technology revolution leave room for the absurd, or is absurdity merely the measure of our daily existence?

This year’s conference hopes to expand the conversation on how the absurd operates in the everyday world—or perhaps how the everyday operates in the absurd world. The recent Marina Abramović retrospective at Museum of Modern Art allowed viewers to participate in the artwork by sitting and looking. Do these perfunctory gestures transform artworks into everyday experiences, or do artworks transform everyday experiences into absurdity, spectacle, or the ridiculous? How have advances in technology, urban environments, and new media (re)constructed the absurd in our everyday lives? How has the absurd changed from modernism to postmodernism? If the absurdist plays of Gao Xingjian show how the posthumanist “self” opens new possibilities for action, does the absurd offer positive outcomes for life in the twenty-first century? We look forward to answers and more questions through presentations from the arts, humanities, and sciences. Papers are welcome; other media are encouraged.

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Bean (UW, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies)

Conference Dates: May 17th-18th

Abstract Deadline (500 words): March 7th

Send Abstracts to: absurdityandtheeveryday@gmail.com

Topics of exploration may include but are not limited to:

Absurd mediations/mediating the absurd
Absurd Cinema
Automation
(De)constructing the Everyday
Digital absurdities
End of Modernity, The
Everyday cyborgs/mindware/props
Everyday Inversions
Everyday Spaces, Everyday Times
Existentialism
Genres of the absurd
Growing Up Absurd
Intellectual history of absurdity
Laughter and Jokes
Modernity/Postmodernity
Ontology and the everyday
Performing the Absurd/Absurd Performances Psychedelic, the Questions Concerning Technology and the Everyday Romance and Absurdity Surrealism, Dadaism, Futurism Substitutability Textual Absurdities Theater of the Absurd Theater of Cruelty Things Absurd and Everyday

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