Invisibility Conference

Call for Papers: Invisibility

The Third Nomadikon and Center for the Ethics of Seeing Conference

Memphis, November 7-8, 2016

Comfort Inn Downtown, Memphis

 

In his book 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (2013), Jonathan Crary considers a new imaginary defined by uninterrupted global exchange and “a state of permanent illumination” (5). The facilitation of such a condition of unlimited visibility heralds a shadowless world that Crary sees as “the final capitalist mirage of post-history, of an exorcism of the otherness that is the motor of historical change” (9) – a scenario that provides little room for the invisible and the opaque.

 

For this conference, we want to turn our attention toward the notion of invisibility, understood both as the flipside of the visible and as an epistemologically productive phenomenon in itself. Broaching the entire spectrum of knowledge forms and scientific inquiries, the question of invisibility cannot be fully articulated from any specific discourse or field. In its invitation to scholars in the humanities and the social sciences to keep in mind and address its many etymological, epistemological and aesthetic roots and resonances, the concept of invisibility is a “traveling concept” (Mieke Bal). Insofar as it contests the regime of permanent illumination, invisibility could also be considered in terms of its ethical ramifications. We thus invite paper proposals that relate to the question of invisibility in a variety of theoretical contexts and media. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

 

* Invisibility in the field of art and aesthetics

* Representation and invisibility

* The epistemological functions of invisibility

* Invisibility and politics

* Invisibility in relation to social movements and activism

* Invisibility and language

* Invisibility and technology (metadata, management of information, etc)

* Surveillance

* Strategic invisibility

* Invisibility and “the right to look” (Mirzoeff)

* Invisibility and “the distribution of the sensible” (Rancière)

* Invisibility and the politics of warfare

* The question of who is given visibility and who is not, and what kinds of visibility?

* How do we investigate forms of invisibility without destroying them in the process?

* Invisibility and the transcendent

* Invisibility and the illegible

* Invisibility and gender, race and class

* Invisibility and identity

* Can there be a materiality of the invisible?

* Barbara Maria Stafford’s notion of an aesthetic of “the visible invisible”

* Invisibility as a precondition for transparency. The condition of sight (Merleau-Ponty)

 

Proposals of 150 to 300 words on the conference theme (or any questions concerning the event) should be submitted to Asbjørn Grønstad, Asbjorn.Gronstad@infomedia.uib.no, or Øyvind Vågnes, Oyvind.Vagnes@infomedia.uib.no, by June 20, 2016. We invite traditional academic papers, performance pieces, and all other forms of visual art and culture related to the theme. Registration for the conference is $125. Our designated conference hotel, The Comfort Inn Downtown, offers cut-off rates (ending October 7, 2016).