Any encounter between an audience and a work of art is experiential. Beyond this universal dimension, much contemporary art asks more of its viewers than just viewing. These works engage multiple modes of observation, sensation, participation, reflection, and (dis)embodiment that have the power to affect and engage bodies in new and adaptive ways. Art that demands physical attention, emotional labour, or visceral reactions crosses into new territory and invites varied modes of experience, including those of memory, haunting, and tradition. It can lead the audience to a deeper understanding of practices that affirm experiences from the past, as well as experiences of the Other that aim to dismantle Western colonialism. In this context, experience turns from an act of recognition of a meaning intrinsic to the object, to a meaning that is grounded in the encounter between the artist’s experience and that of the spectator. Keeping open the multiple threads of experience , this conference invites investigations of experience in contemporary art, across its various embodied practices: artists’ lived/personal experience as embodied in their art; the experiences of spectators and audiences; and experience as cultural legacy/history, including experiences of colonialism and decolonization.
The 2019 Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories Conference invites proposals for academic papers/practices from Graduate students, independent scholars, and artists.
Conference Date: March 15 – 16, 2019
Location: OCAD University, Room 190, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto, Canada
Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to:
● Internalization/Affect of embodied experience vs. disembodied experience
● Institutional spaces and the shaping of experience (museums, galleries, schools)
● Individual and/or collective experience
● Sites, venues, locations of experience
● Virtual spaces, alternate realities, and re-embodiment
● Craft as embodied experience and site of resistance
● Experiences of transgression and subversion in contemporary art
The conference invites theoretical reflections, case studies, and/or performances on questions of (dis)embodied experiences in the discourses of contemporary art history, design history, new media studies, critical theory, visual arts, and art criticism.
This event is hosted by current OCAD University second year CADN (Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories) Graduate students Samantha Robbie-Higgins of Akin King, Rachelle Rabourin, Katherine Walker, Maddy McMillan, and Alessia Pignotti.