The Torn Object: Experimentation in Contemporary Anglophone Literature, Art and Film

This issue will be guest edited by Dr Andrew Hodgson, Université Paris Est (andrew.hodgson@u-pem.fr).

Proposal Deadline: 25th January 2020

Final Article Submission Deadline: 1st July 2020

Rubric

The histories of experimentation in anglophone artistic production are something of a rocky terrain. The word ‘experimental’ itself taking on toxic overtones over the course of the 20th century. As Morton Levitt writes of the British context, “for British authors and critics it has for decades been a pejorative.” As a critical descriptor, or mode of creation and engagement, it has long been avoided in favour of the more general ‘innovative’ or the more ideologically charged ‘modernist.’ The application of either presenting limitations when attempting to address the histories of what might be termed ‘critical representation,’ the ‘aesthetically challenging’ in artistic production in the contemporary anglophone cultural sphere. However, in recent years this toxicity has begun to be critically questioned, and the artistic artefacts and experimental modes of production lost in the liminal spaces within/between these descriptors of innovative or modernist have begun to reappear in criticism and publication/showing/retrospective as result of this process of reassessment.

If the current reassessments anglophone cultural history is undergoing has centred renegotiations of established canon artefacts, and canon theories of those artefacts, this Angles special issue ‘The Torn Object’ seeks to expand that reassessment into the wider modes of experimental production, object and reception, that the current growing critical spotlight has perhaps indicated, or revealed beyond the current matter of critical focus.

Taking Raymond Queneau’s conception of “the contemporary” in Une Histoire modèle (1966) as “that within living memory,” this special issue invites contributions exploring modes of experimental method, process and representation in anglophone literature, art and film from the mid-20th century to present day. In bringing together a wide range of experimental material, critical approaches and niched and/or sidelined histories, ‘The Torn Object’ seeks to present a body of critical work that will form new avenues of thought in our understandings of contemporary anglophone artistic representation.

This special issue aims to present a wider history of artistic critical representation, the aesthetically challenging, and form a generative pluralisation of the words experimental, experimentation, in their varied historically, aesthetically and critically functional contexts. Critical engagement here should seek to combine both experimental form, and experimental content; aesthetic interaction and historical context. Whereby the aesthetically challenging experimental artefact is re-presented as key by which the critic might read wider interactions of artistic aesthetic with the multiplicity of its contexts of generation and reception.

Potential modes of critical approach

  1. Explorations of the terms ‘experimental,’ ‘experimentation,’ through their contemporary critical application

  2. Critical retheorising of histories of the anglophone avant-garde through formerly niched or underrepresented experimental text/art/film

  3. Aesthetic recodings of more established experimental text/art/film through correspondence with wider ‘minored’ histories

  4. Engagement with under-represented figure, group and/or event histories

  5. Investigations of pluri-disciplinary intersection, developing correspondences in art object and societal experience

  6. Retheorisings of the positions taken within/without the art object by producer and receiver as prompted by the object processes of experimental aesthetic

Brief suggested list of potential matter for approach

  1. The British experimental novel of the 1950s-1960s

  2. Experimentation in American writing of the 1960s-1970s

  3. R. D. Laing (et al.) and the applications of psychiatry to the experimental artistic object

  4. Dom Sylvester Houédard and wider anglophone concrete poetry

  5. The 1970s “breakthrough fictioneers”

  6. Gustav Metzger and Auto-destruction

  7. Ian Breakwell and wider forms of conceptual art

  8. Experimentations in British theatre

  9. 1970s-1980s New York No Wave Cinema

  10. LFMC and 1960s-1970s British experimental film

  11. Brion Gysin, William S Burroughs, Alan Burns &c.: cut-up/cut-in/cut-off

  12. 21st century novel experiments in the English language

  13. Experimentation in the digital

Angles – New Perspectives on the Anglophone World

Angles is an international online peer-reviewed journal published bi-annually by the SAES (Société des Anglicistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur). It is indexed by MLA, EBSCO, ERIH Plus, etc.

The journal fosters scholarly risk-taking and experimentation by junior and senior researchers. Angles accepts academic contributions in non-traditional forms (documentary film, short story, comic book, manifesto, pamphlet…). Angles also encourages proposals from specialists wishing to explore a different field of study than their own.

This interdisciplinary journal has a triple aim:

  • to encourage innovative interdisciplinary research;

  • to make cutting-edge research freely available through an open access policy;

  • to make full use of the possibilities offered by digital publication and different modes of expression: text, image, video, podcasts, hyperlinks…

More traditional contributions can range in length dependent on scope: shorter essays should be around 4000 words, long-form articles should be around 7000 words.

Queries should be directed to Andrew Hodgson at andrew.hodgson@u-pem.fr

For more information on the journal, along with submission guidelines, see http://angles.saesfrance.org/