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[BKARTS] Reminder: Society and Sensoria: Books at the Speed of the Senses

Call for Papers:

Society and Sensoria: Books at the Speed of the Senses

“…for the skin is faster than the word”

–Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual

The 10th Biennial Pyramid Atlantic Book Arts Fair and Conference

November 2008, in the Washington DC area

The intent of this conference is to advance a critical language for artists’ books that emphasizes both sensory-based and social perspectives. Considering our societal trajectory for electronic communication, as well as the increasing speed through which we correspond by electronic means, we see the field confronted with the following questions: What is artistic communication, and what is its place or role in society? Are the uses of slower, “handmade,” or historical processes, often involved in the production of books, an emerging form of protest or a simple refusal of technological change? How are books resisting or embracing the rapidly paced exchange of information? What do the often slow, time-consuming methods surrounding the production and reception of artists’ books mean for an electronic society where the distribution and intensity of sensory stimuli appear to be shifting? How is the reception of artists’ books, and the literacy they promote, affected by a potential sensory shift into areas beyond the visual, in a society still dominated by visual imagery? Are artists’ books a reaction against, or a reinforcement of, what we might call an overly visualized society? How does our sense of touch relate to the predominately visual language of artists’ books? What is our phenomenological understanding of artists’ books into a context of an expanded sensorium?

We are looking for papers and creative panels committed to rethinking artists’ books as socially synthesized media devices with themes that foreground speed, touch and rhythm. We invite artists, writers, critics, publishers, activists, students, and educators, to articulate how we experience books under the particular conditions of handling, reading, and viewing, in a context of social interconnection and difference.

We encourage presentations from, but not limited to, the following areas: artists’ books, visual and performing arts, visual and cultural studies, visual anthropology, cognitive science, sociology, analytic philosophy, comparative literature, literary theory, linguistics, political science and activism.

The following are examples of potential topics. Presenters, however, are in no way limited by them:

· Speed of space and rhythm in books

· Haptic interface and books

· Phenomenology of artists’ books

· Embodiment and books

· Devotion to craft as content

· Time-consumption and memory

· E-flux versus paper permanence

· Techno culture as a site of confrontation with books

· Synthesis of electronic information into non-electronic books

The conference runs in tandem with a biennial fair for well-known and emerging artists, publishers and dealers in the field of artists’ books. We intend to create synergy between the fair and conference by extending lines of communication between the various parties involved in the fair and will make special effort to link books exhibited in the fair to the conference presentations. We encourage conference presenters to consider such a link as they develop their papers.

Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words by JANUARY 15, 2008 to:

Tate Shaw and Ward Tietz


With your proposal, please include a current CV.

The conference will provide a modest honorarium, though we strongly encourage participants to apply for funding in their home regions and/ or through institutions with which they are affiliated. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Pyramid Atlantic Conference Committee


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