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Call for Papers: Energies in the Arts Conference 13-15 August 2015 (Closed)

Simple Forces, Joyce Hinterding. Image courtesy of Breenspace.

Call for Papers: Energies in the Arts Conference 13-15 August 2015 (Closed)

Energies in the Arts Conference

Presented by National Institute for Experimental Arts in partnership with 
Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
13-15 August 2015

Call for papers closed. Applicants will be notified in March.

Energy often serves as a word-when-lost-for-words to describe situations of great intensity, or to describe something that fuses disparate elements or is itself diffused into the environment, or something that subtly comes from nowhere but animates everything. When energies are invoked they most commonly remain vague: being presumed rather than investigated in their historical, cultural, material and technical specificity. In the arts, energies occur throughout, though their analysis and clarification remains limited and under-examined.

Energies in the Arts will bring scholars and artists together to address historical and contemporary activities on the seemingly elusive properties and potentials of energy. The conference will explore how energy is engaged with across the arts including but not limited to: media arts, photography, music, ecological arts, science and the arts, and related areas within literature, poetics, critical theory and philosophy. It will also situate these energetic entanglements in the context of the arts and cultural activism located around fossil fuels and energy politics. How energies configure the arts at the outset of the 21st century is inextricably linked to equating energy with energy generation and the politics of power and environmental crises; while we encourage such emphases, we are also interested in how they might be extended to heterogeneous fields of energies. All varieties of energy - both real and imagined - will be brought to the forefront to explore how they have been understood and used; how energies configure and influence one another; and how artworks and theories might be better understood through them.

We invite proposals for 20 minutes papers which will be followed by 10-minutes of discussion. Papers will be selected for a book to be edited by the conveners of the conference. We are interested in all that vibrates, resonates, radiates, pulses, propagates, oscillates, diffracts, shimmers, scatters and dissipates in fluxes. We are attracted to frequencies, flows, fields, waves, spectra, torques, turbulences and barrages of bodies, circuits, transformations, communication, systems and environments. We are looking for close analyses of works of art in which energies work, including and beyond: light, color, the kinetic, sonic, rhythmic, cinematic, photographic, electronic, electromagnetic, biotic, metabolic, libidinal, ritualistic, psychedelic, esoteric, mechanical, thermal and solar. How artworks relate to the energetics of the senses, indigeneity, modernist shock, political power, global communications, global warming and notions of the cosmos and the collective are also encouraged.

Queries about the conference should be directed to

Deadline for submission: 2 February 2015

Confirmed keynotes include:
Professor Linda Henderson, Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas, Austin
Martin Howse, artist, Berlin
Professor Marcus Boon, Department of English, York University, Toronto
David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, artists, Lawson

The conference is held in conjunction with the exhibition Energies: Haines and Hinterding at Museum of Contemporary Art from 25 June - 6 September 2015.

The conference is convened by:
Dr. Anna Davis, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia
Professor Douglas Kahn, National Institute for the Experimental Arts, UNSW Art and Design
Dr. Josh Wodak, National Institute for the Experimental Arts, UNSW Art and Design




19 Oct 2014


Professor Douglas Kahn
Dr Josh Wodak