treating text as image and image as text
International interdisciplinary conference
7 - 9 June 2012
Université de Haute-Alsace, Mulhouse, France.
Co-organised by Jennifer K Dick (UHA/ILLE), Didier Girard (UHA/Ille), Océane Delleaux (UHA/CREM/Edith), Eric Suchère (École Supérieure d'Art et Design de Saint-Étienne) and Fréderique Toudoire-Surlapierre (UHA/Ille).
Multidisciplinary conference on text and image creation, use and reception in ultra-contemporary literature and visual art (works created in the 21st century).
« The sum of human wisdom is not contained
in any one language, and no single language is
CAPABLE of expressing all forms and degrees
of human comprehension. »
— Ezra Pound
As Pierre Garnier wrote almost 50 years ago, « la nouvelle poésie s’alimente, quant à son origine, dans les langages typiques d’autres arts, en particulier celui des arts plastiques, qui lui permettent d’atteindre la dimension d’objet récusant la “lecture”. » Since then, many movements have given a central place to the use of the word rather than that of any other visual form. As Johanna Drucker wrote, by the beginning of the 1960s « artistic activity […] had dissolved the boundaries between disciplines which had rigidly distinguished high modern visuality from high modern literariness at mid-century […] the experimental innovation had inbred so successfully with other artistic sources […that] current work actually blends visual and verbal elements into what is an increasingly synthetic unity ».
Is it emphatic attention to the physical substance of language that draws authors and visual artists together today? Or are there very different modes of representation and conceptual creation engendering cultural upheavals in artistic and literary practice?
This conference will unite researchers from varied disciplines in order to begin formulating a new criticism for the 21st century’s authors and visual artists who are given to making texts to see as if they were geometric forms, or forms to read, colors and visual sequences whose nature it had once been to reach spectators and their perceptions with an inherent immediacy.
In particular, Lex-ICON will focus on the reception of hybrid works, asking whether language and words are necessary to say or communicate things and ideas or even to think. Can one simply feel thought through the gaze without ever really having the words, the grammar and thus language itself to describe it? Is a process of translation from the visual to linguistic necessary for thought to take place? The fluid nature of articulation emerges at this time when language has taken center stage in visual art and where graphic gestures dominate literary works. The debates which have surrounded the treatment, classification, teaching, economy and reception of such works are not new, but they are increasingly becoming the motifs of ultra-contemporary art and literature. The theories on lexiconographic work have long lived in separate ponds, but the idea is to unify them and seek a common cross-disciplinary discourse.
The goal is therefore to contribute to the development of theoretical reflection regarding the effect produced by the intersemioticity of verbo-visual practices. Discussions and panels will be joined by a series of artistic and literary presentations and performances during and around the conference in the region of Alsace and the city of Mulhouse.
Potential presentation topics include :
- The use and novelties of visual protocols (typographic plays, scribbling, collages, importation of images, etc.) in ultra-contemporary literature.
- The borders of the visual form of letters in books and out.
- The multimediality of the page as a space for redefinition.
- The stakes and the modality of an image-rhetoric in the context of emerging screen cultures.
- Textual processes which lead to “unreadable” readings, to illegible texts.
- Art for art: metafiction within verbo-visual artwork.
- The genre of the rebus as narrative rediscovery (hommages to Magritte).
- Emergent modes of lexiconographic reading..
- The new relationship to languages—perhaps “a corollary to travel and to the planetarization of culture” (Edeline)?
- The phenomena of simplification of complex thought or of complexification of reading image and text as applied to the creation of lexiconographic works.
- Identity (and the interrogation of identity) of the author-artist by these verbo-visual creative practices.
- New narrative forms in lexiconographic work.
- The Lyricisms of a lexiconographic text or piece of art.
Artists to study ? :
Works created since the year 2000 by lexiconographic artists and authors such as Rosaire Appel, Julien Blaine, Marcel Broodthaers, Sophie Calle, Amélie Dubois, Brendan Fernandes, Kathleen Fraser, Jenny Holzer, Susan Howe, Vannina Maestri, Jacques Sivan, Nico Vassilakis, Lawrence Weiner, or, among those who showed language-based artworks at the Art Basel 2011 expo : Vito Acconci, Kader Attia, Martin Boyce, Tacita Dean, Matias Faldbaklen, Claire Fontaine, Doria Garcia, Ryan Gander, Liam Gillick, Philip Goldbach, Leon Golub, Shilpa Gupta, On Kawara, William Kentridge, Sean Landers, Mark Leckey, Fabian Marti, Sara Morris, Michael Müller, Yoshitomo Nara, Jack Pierson, Jaume Plensa, Richard Prince, Allen Ruppersburg, David Shrigley, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Barthélémy Toguo and others.
Paper proposals (250-300 words) in French or English should be emailed before the 25th of February 2012. They should be sent to both Jennifer K Dick (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) and to Océane Delleaux (email@example.com).
The organizers will confirm the final programme by the 15th of March 2012.
All of the information concerning this conference will be posted on our blog at :