45th Annual AHVA Graduate Symposium and Exhibition: Call for Papers

FLESH: Embodying Praxis
Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory (AHVA)
45th Annual AHVA Graduate Symposium and Exhibition, March 3-4, 2022
March 3: via Zoom and March 4: in-person on UBC Vancouver Campus

Deadline for Submissions: January 15, 2022

“Where are we to put the limit between the body and the world, since the world is flesh?”
—Maurice Merleau-Ponty

What is a body? What is flesh? What is human? Despite our incessant connection via screen during the past two years of pandemic isolation, we yearn to regain the intimacy of embodiment. Bodily presence has been eroded by the paradigm shift towards global digitalization, and it feels more imperative now than ever to return to the flesh. Is our shared ontological flesh destined to remain alienated, or will it be reclaimed and reconstituted?

Flesh concerns the physical and immanent reality of bodies; it is central to the dialogues of our lived experience/encounters with the world. The notion of flesh mutates and evolves across various spatio-temporal frameworks, especially as related to the practices of art. Inscribable, mutable, and plastic, the multivalent forms of flesh offer seemingly endless possibilities for reconfiguration. Praxis, as making, doing, and receiving, becomes inseparable from flesh.

The materiality of the flesh is embedded in the body’s affective functions, enabling its faculty for inscription and performance. This symposium is critically invested in the ways in which artists work with various notions and materials of flesh. In other words, how do the bodies of artists serve as interlocutors between theory and such inscribed and performed praxis? We ask: what is the relationship between flesh, embodiment, theory and praxis throughout the histories of art?

We will be accepting submissions related to all forms of art and visual culture concerned with any geographic area or historical period. We are particularly interested in papers engaged with:

  • Speculative Bodies
  • Bodily Encounters
  • Racialized Bodies
  • Virtual/Digital Bodies
  • Body Politics
  • Collectivized/Revolutionary Bodies Colonized/Decolonized Bodies
  • Historical Bodies
  • Eroticized, Fetishized and Pornographic Bodies
  • Ritualized Bodies Artist’s Bodies
  • Biomedical Bodies Disabled Bodies
  • Queer Bodies
  • Liberated Bodies

Applicants should submit an abstract (of no more than 300 words) and their paper as one PDF file along with a current CV in a separate PDF file to grad.symposium@ubc.ca by January 15, 2022. In your email please include your name, institutional affiliation, and title of your paper. Presentations will range from 20 to 30 minutes in length and be followed by a Q&A portion. The related exhibition will be on display March 4 to April 1, 2022.