Subject: CFP: Literary Experiments--Revised Conference Dates (8/15/09; 3/26-28/10)




From: Christoph Zeller <[log in to unmask]>

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, March 26-28, 2010


"Literary Experiments: Media | Art | Texts 1950-2010"

Experiments in art and literature surfaced as new ways of artistic expression during a period of political restoration after World War II. Reminiscent of historic avant-garde movements, writing shifted from storytelling to depicting the very elements of writing itself. Experimental practices in literature and art reached a peak when newly developed technology (video, computers) and a variety of media (TV, radio, performance, music, etc.) were converted into works of art during the 1960s. As a result, the visual quality of poetry, the textual structure of pictures, the performative aspects of letters, the musical and rhythmic characteristics of words increasingly emerged and allowed for new dimensions of aesthetic experience.

Alluding to Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, to French poets Mallarmé and Apollinaire, to American writers Gertrude Stein and E. E. Cummings and many others, new artistic movements developed around the globe at nearly the same time and with similar intentions. Writers and artists from Brazil, Japan, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, France, the U.S., Austria, Switzerland, and Germany recognized their aesthetic similarities during the late 1950s, created networks, and joined forces. In particular, German and Austrian cities such as Stuttgart, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Cologne, Vienna, and Graz served as meeting points and laboratories for aesthetic ideas. This conference will focus on the sustaining impact of these centers and their artistic protagonists. Works of art as well as correspondences, meetings, exhibitions, festivals, and manifestos will serve as material for scholarly investigations that will show the influence of visual and concrete poetry, concept art, Nouveau Réalisme, Fluxus, and many other neo-avangardist movements on literature and art until the present.

This conference will examine the international interaction of literary experiments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland:

-    What are the transcultural features of artistic movements during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s?
-    What are the specific aesthetic attributes of these movements?
-    Which intertextual/intermedial references dominate their works of art?
-    How do these movements define the experimental status of their artworks?
-    How does language serve as a link or a divider in artworks of that time?
-    What historical conditions led to the emergence of neo-avant-garde movements and literary experiments?
-    How did literary experiments change over time?
-    What can be described as 'experimental' writing in the present?

Furthermore, the conference will focus on inter- and transmedial aspects of literary experiments:

-    How does literature transform into other media, other media into literature?
-    Which non-literary artworks draw on literary structures?
-    Which literary structures are prevalent in non-literary art?
-    How does language relate to the 'language' of art?
-    How do techniques of collage and montage initiate new genres in art and literature?

Papers should be geared towards these questions and discuss genres and media with an experimental focus. Subjects may include (but are not limited to) concrete and visual poetry, experimental prose and theater plays, radio plays, video art, film, paintings, photography, graphic design, typography, performance art, happening, dance, music, and digital literature. Artistic movements include the Viennese and the Stuttgart Group, Viennese Actionism, Lettrism, Spatialism, Nouveau Realism, Fluxus, Noigandres, etc. Artists include A. + H. de Campos, I. + P. Garnier, H. Kamimura, B. Grögerová, J. Hir_al, E. Williams, J. Mac Low, W. Burroughs, F. O'Hara, E. Gomringer, E. Jandl, F. Mayröcker, H. Heissenbüttel, R. Döhl, F. Mon, L. Harig, D. Rot, D. Spoerri, H. C. Artmann, O. Wiener, E. Jelinek, H. Gappmayr, O. Pastior, and other writers/artist of the present.

Paper proposals of no more than 300 words in English or German and a short bio may be sent to Christoph Zeller:



Deadline: August 15,  2009.

Selected papers are planned to be published.

Christoph Zeller
Director of Graduate Studies
Dept. of Germanic & Slavic Languages
Vanderbilt University, Furman 011
Nashville, TN 37235-1567
615. 322 2821


EMAIL: Christoph Zeller <[log in to unmask]>

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