How do you make nothing? Brian Rappaport and Wenda Bauchspies (2014) suggest that the “potential of what isn’t” can signal lack, alert to a misplaced presence, foster an appreciation of presence, and itself be a presence. Although a range of scholarship has worked to reveal, unveil, or make present that which is normally unseen, the actual making of absence remains under-examined. Yet many institutions routinely practice erasure: courts erase debts through bankruptcy, a practice that sends financial ripples or tidal waves through communities; engineering firms design to remove noise from buildings and vehicles, changing the relationship of travelers from one who engages with to one who passes through; food scientists mask off flavors in foods or medicines, making taste and smell unreliable indicators of healthfulness; environmental crews clean up toxic spills, moving danger out of site, and thus out of mind. How does the making of nothing shape aesthetic choices, daily environments, and thus behaviors (Bourdieu 1979)? What “hauntings” (Gordon 2008) do these institutional practices of erasure impose on bodies and communities?
This panel is being organized by Christy Spackman, Harvey Mudd College, and Jennifer Croissant, University of Arizona for submission to the 4S/EASST 2016 meeting to be held in Barcelona, Spain (Aug 31- Sept 3). Please submit abstracts of 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org &
email@example.com by February 17, 2016.
Christy Spackman, Harvey Mudd College and Jennifer Croissant, University of Arizona