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Subject: Call for papers--Permanence and impermanence

Call for papers--Permanence and impermanence

From: Will Real <realw>
Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2004
Call for Papers, Presentations, and Performances
(Im)permanence: Cultures in/out of Time

The Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University
announces an interdisciplinary, international conference on
(Im)permanence: Cultures in/out of Time scheduled for October 2005.
This conference will bring practicing artists in all fields of the
visual and performing arts, scholars in the various humanities,
together with experts in curation and preservation to address the
relationship between art and time both historically and in the
contemporary world. Issues will be addressed in papers, exhibits,
artistic productions, and informal performances, with the goal of
achieving lively dialogue across disciplines, cultures, and media.

I. Permanence/Impermanence: Much of twentieth- and
twenty-first-century art questions the notion of permanence and
celebrates art's transience and impermanence. If modernity/modernism
implies a break with the permanence enshrined by tradition, the
movement also recalls earlier moments of rebellion against tradition
leading to radical revisions in aesthetic and cultural assumptions.
Questions under this topic include:

    *   If art is presumed to be lasting, what constitutes duration?

    *   Does the notion of "authenticity" imply a particular mode of
        production or of preservation?

    *   Under what circumstances does an artist or a group choose
        transience rather than permanence in its artistic

    *   How far do art works and cultural expressions address the
        unknown and the future, reconceptualizing "time" altogether?

II. The creation and curation of ephemera: At the same time that
many contemporary artists celebrate the notion of the ephemeral, the
practice of curatorship is, by definition, invested in the ethic of
permanence. The ethic may not be shared by conservators or by the
consumers of art in any of its forms. Questions under this topic

    *   Who creates and who curates the "vanishing," and why?

    *   What are the differences between creating and curating an
        "eternal" object and an object made to disappear?

    *   Does it violate the spirit of performance art, process art,
        or self-destroying art to render these permanent through

    *   Does the notion of curation or preservation contradict the
        essence of such an ephemeral object?

    *   What dilemmas do creators and curators face, given the
        ravages of time and, simultaneously, the development of new
        technological responses to erosion, cracking, fading, and so

    *   In what ways have the various art forms developed convergent
        or divergent notions of ephemerality and permanence?

III. What is cultural continuity? In preliterate cultures,
continuity of identity and custom was preserved through
memorization, ritual performance, drawing, and the persistence of
objects in the social and natural environment. Literate cultures
have increasingly understood continuity as the fixation of words on
paper or in other reproducible media. Changes in technology (such as
photography and film) can change the meaning of the past, and
preservation can privilege the past over the present. Questions for
this topic include:

    *   How do creators, conservators, historians, spectators, and
        audiences understand "continuity?"

    *   Are there differences between the continuity of an
        individual artwork and the continuity of a cultural
        monument--or of an entire culture?

    *   Is "popular culture" a distinct source of continuity?

IV. Conflicts about Preservation: While some groups proclaim an
ethic of preserving cultural heritages, others assert the right to
destroy them or preserve them selectively. In 2000, for instance,
the international community argued for the protection of the Bamiyan
stone Buddhas, but the Taliban insisted on their destruction.
Museums around the world preserve objects that indigenous cultures
claim as their own possessions and indeed consider sacred. Tourist
and ethnic minority agencies, in China for example, preserve folk
music and local costume but in the process simplify religious
meanings. These developments raise provocative questions:

    *   On what grounds do certain groups claim the right to
        preserve or destroy certain objects?

    *   What priorities do global bodies and local governments
        uphold in preservation issues and with what unanticipated

    *   What incidental factors (war, natural disaster, and so
        forth) and legal or trade arrangements impinge upon notions
        of permanence/impermanence?

    *   Who controls cultural time?

We expect conference papers to address one or more of the proposed
issues by examining in context a particular case or group of cases.
Art works, performances, and exhibits also must examine or
illuminate one of the major themes of the conference. All
submissions will be judged on the basis of their contribution to the
main theme of the Conference, and will be evaluated by experts in
the field. One-page proposals in English should be sent by December
31, 2004 to:

    Dr. Judith Schachter, Director
    Center for the Arts in Society
    History Department--240 Baker Hall
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890

The organizing committee for the conference will also consider
proposals for panels consisting of three presenters and a
commentator. Presenters will be notified in late March 2005 about
the committee's selection of abstracts and panels. Selected
conference papers are expected to be published in a special volume,
while performances, exhibits, and installations will be documented
for electronic distribution. The volume and other forms of
publication from (Im)permanence: Cultures in/out of time should
appear in early 2007.

(Im)permanence: Cultures in/out of time is not only a conference but
also will be an artistic presence in the city of Pittsburgh.
Theatrical performances, musical events, and artistic exhibitions
are being planned to coincide with the conference. Various staging
sites will be selected, to diversify the experience and to include
the public fully in the events. Information about conference
registration, hotel accommodations, and tickets for cultural events
will be sent to all presenters by August 2005.

William Real
Director of Technology Initiatives
Carnegie Museum of Art
4400 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh PA 15213

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:25
                Distributed: Wednesday, December 1, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-25-018
Received on Wednesday, 1 December, 2004

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