An I for an Eye: Poetry in a World of Images, 20th and 21st centuries
The fruitful intersections between the word and the image have long fascinated poets and artists alike. From the early days of the avant-garde, imagism, simultaneism, vorticism, futurism, surrealism, and concrete poetry, among other trends, fully engaged with the rich and inexhaustible play between language and image. In their aesthetic, epistemic and creative dimensions, they paved the way for the Age of the World Picture.
Postmodernism has challenged the distinction between poetry and art, and by extension, between seeing and reading, between the word and the world, as well as between signifier and signified, allowing for a free play of meaning, which does not ignore the materiality of the word. It also actively reverses the roles of author and audience, reader and viewer, and poetry and art.
That we live today in a culture strongly dominated by the visual and the image may seem far too obvious. In the wake of Foucault’s panopticon and surveillance, Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, and Jameson’s late-capitalist postmodern market society, wher social space is saturated with the culture of the image (Jameson 1998), and Kaja Silverman claims that “words have the potential to be as open as our perceptions” (2011, 74). With the possibilities opened up by technological progress, we could also argue that an active resistance to looking may be the measure of our own desire for freedom, as a mode of resistance to power.
At present, social networks and mass culture reconfigure conditions of reading and spectatorship within a global community. In an effort to understand how this process of reconfiguration occurs, poets and writers as much as visual artists have incorporated mass media technologies (the photo, movie camera), appropriated mass cultural forms (the press, film, advertising, slogans) and the social networks (Twitter, Instagram) as models for the construction and composition of their own work.
This conference aims at investigating why so many poets and artists have placed the relations of reading to seeing and of literature to images at the center of their concerns. What is at stake when artists treat words as pictures and pictures as words? What do we mean when we speak of visual poetry at present, and of an understanding of the visual arts that is “literary”? How does poetry and the visual relate to, and reflect upon, issues as crucial as authorship, language, subjectivity, or the relationship between art, history, politics and popular culture in the 20th and 21st centuries?
We welcome creative proposals, workshops, roundtables and panels, as well as individual presentations which address, but are not limited, to the following,
- The visual in poetry
- Intersections between the visual and the word
- Framing the visual in poetry
- Words on a canvas
- Poetry and optics
- Poetry, the visual and formalism
- Myth, visuality and poetry
- Still Life, Portrait, Landscape, Composition in poetry and the visual
- Poetry and perspectival notions of vision
- Poetry and the moving image
- Visual poetry
- Poetry and visual art
- Poetry and vision(s)
- Poetry and photography
- Mirroring effects
- Electronic poetry
- Experimental visual poetry
- Poetry and digital art
- Scopophilia and scopophobia
- Poetry, the visual, and techniques of observation
- Iconicity, indexing, spatial-temporal semiosis
- The visual and the invisible
- Haunting images and echo effects
- Poetry, the visual and synesthesia
- Poetry on the screen, smartphone apps and other formats
- Poetry and the modern panopticon
Keynote speaker: Belen Gache
Deadline for submission of 350-word abstracts: Tuesday April 14, 2020.
Venue: Facultad de Filología, Universidad Complutense, Madrid
Organization: Poetics Group, U. Complutense, Madrid
A selection of papers and creative presentations will be submitted to a major publisher