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CFP: Alterations (Los Angeles, 18-19 Oct 2018)

2018 Graduate Student Symposium, Department of Art History, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Desire lines are paths caused by erosion and foot traffic that form alternate routes or shortcuts. Common in parks and other public areas, the resulting paths defy constructed routes such as sidewalks and therefore constitute traces of popular alteration. Beyond a
visible trace or alternate path, what are the consequences of such changes? In what ways do alterations both generate and restrict possibilities? How do these modifications function as objects and images? What larger processes might they indicate?

The UCLA Graduate Art History Symposium seeks proposals for presentations that consider the history and aesthetics of public alterations. As with user-generated paths marking the change over time to designed environments, public alterations noticeably
transform existing surfaces, structures, subjects, and systems. Examples of public alterations related to the arts and art history include: environmental interventions of earthworks and ancient precedents such as the Nazca Lines; pentimenti, or the legible traces left by modifications made during the artistic process; manuscript palimpsests formed by erasing or scraping pages in order to reuse the document; the transformation of artworks via reproduction, destruction, repatriation, or curatorial framing; spolia, or plundered materials repurposed by conquering powers; iconoclastic interventions to works of art; theoretical discourses such as post-colonialism and feminism and other ways of re-negotiating thought practices and the canon; censorship, violence, and war; graffiti; body modification; cultural appropriation; and online meme circulation.

The framework of public alterations is both broad and fundamental. It cuts across various disciplinary, geographic, and historical contexts, and highlights such essential elements of art and art history as process, the object, the image, intention, and change. In this spirit, we invite proposals for scholarly and creative presentations from across the humanities that consider the history and aesthetics of public alterations.

Send a CV and an abstract (250-300 words) to by June 11, 2018. Questions can be directed there as well.


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