Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Forthcoming talk announcement A Cyborgian Metaphysics of the Poetic Self

I am thrilled to announce that the thrilling SAIT group (Arts Images Textes) in France has accepted my proposal for a talk for the 2018 58th SAES conference at Nanterre University in Paris, 7-9 juin 2018 on the topic of Revolution(s) where Angela Davis (can you believe it!) is the invited speaker of honor for the general SAES Keynote.

My talk title and information are below in case you wish to check them out. I have some work to do before then for this and feel thrilled to be engaging more deeply with the writing of Bhanu Kapil and Jacques Sivan--two authors I amire personally, read and reread avidly and whose work I have addressed separately in quite different manners during previous conferences. Bringing the two together and under the umbrella of Cyborgs is going to be a fabulous experience for me!

A Cyborgian Metaphysics of the Poetic Self: Bhanu Kapil and Jacques Sivan
abstract proposal by Jennifer K Dick,
MdC, UHA Mulhouse, Labo de recherche: ILLE

This comparative talk plans to explore the imagined Cyborg as self and the metaphysical questions this alternative, dual reality imposes on the writing of poetic autobiography as seen in works by Amercan-based of Indian background author Bhanu Kapil (specifically Incubation: A Space for Monsters, Leon Works, 2006) and French author Jacques Sivan (specifically Notre Mission, Al Dante, 2018 and the manuscripts for this work). In both texts the individual is subsumed or paralleled by a kind of avatar, the cyborgian body (A.I. mechanical vs biological). The exploration of autobiography within a space of multiple identities (both digital and biological), reader-text interface, gender, desire and sexuality, travel/migration, and notions of truth when speaking of the author/narrator/speaker as “I” are subjected to innovative and complex renderings because of this cybernetic virtual reality. In the case of Kapil, the desire seems to be to render the past into current multiplicities of identity whereas for Sivan the result, as he composes this unfinished manuscript while dying of cancer and becoming, as he said directly, a kind of real cyborg as his biological functions became increasingly mechanized due to interventions by medical science, is to project himself beyond his life into his alter ego, Aborijak. In Sivan’s case, this Cyborg of the last generation, “more advanced than Hal 2000”, and who will reach into the future, into our now, the next now, as current and future generations of readers interface with the text, also touches on Cryogenics, AI post-biological mortality projecting the author into an imagined digital immortality: the book literally becomes “Notre Mission”.
These works are not digital creations, but they explore the metaphoric and metaphysical issues inherent in our internet-connected increasingly robotic worlds where existence, interchange, and digital reality subsume the “real real”—raising the question of what is lived experience, and how do contemporary artists and authors engage with this question in the digital era?

Critical work supporting my close examination of Kapil and Sivan’s books will come from many of the books cited in the SAIT group's CFP, such as Donna Haraway, Katherine N Hales or Jens Hauser and may also extend into authors which they have listed but which I am only now reading for the first time—in particular Aarseth, Bontems, Braidoti or Vial’s works and the collection Le sujet digital.

Bio note:
Jennifer K Dick competed her PhD at Paris III in Comparative Literature in 2009 and has since 2010 been working as a MdC at UHA, Mulhouse. She is a specialist in 20th-21st century text and image work, specifically in poetry and language-based visual art work, though has also published in the arena of translation in social sciences. She is currently the French co-organizing partner in the 18-month long Arts and Humanities Research Council grant-receiving fellowship for a series of 3 conferences on “Poetry in Expanded Translation” 2017-2018. The first was translation as rewriting (held at The National Poetry Library, Southbank Centre, London April 2017), the second on intersemiotic translation between text and image (held at UHA, Mulhouse in Nov 2017) and third is on Visual Sound and translation as re-sounding work (to be held in Bangor, Wales in April 2018).