Megan Jones's picture
Call for Publications
April 15, 2016
British Columbia, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Film and Film History, Fine Arts, Music and Music History, Theatre & Performance History / Studies

The Journal of Comparative Media Arts is calling for artworks, long papers, short papers and photo essays on the theme BARE LIFE OR BEAR LIFE for our SUMMER ISSUE 2016. Forward-thinking submissions that take up contemporary culture and the fine arts will be carefully reviewed by our Peer Review Committee. We select works for publication based on their importance and originality, along with their quality of presentation and relevance to the community and to the remit of the Journal. Your submission must not have been published elsewhere. 

Deadline for submissions: Friday April 15, 2016, 23:59 PST 


The Journal of Comparative Media Arts provides a dynamic, scholarly forum to discuss contemporary topics in the audio, visual, performing and media arts by publishing the finest work from graduate, post-graduate, post-doctoral and early-career scholars. It is trans-disciplinary, open-access, peer-reviewed and run by graduate students in the Comparative Media Arts Program at the School for Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University. We welcome experimental and creative writing, works-in-progress, collaborations and lively debates that are critically engaged in the ever shifting range and scope of the humanities, fine arts, and critical and cultural studies.


The words “bare life” bring to mind Giorgio Agamben’s concept of homo sacer – a permanent and invisible space of maximal political power. Here, persons legally reduced to the status of mere life can be subjected to any manner of violence with impunity. Agamben suggests that we have all become “bare life,” because state powers sublimate the natural life (zoe) within the body politic (bios). Modern politics have produced an “anthropological machine” that liquidates anything in itself that it deems non-human. 

Agamben’s critique can be applied to conditions of life such as those suffered by the First Nations in Canada, political prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, and migrants randomly executed while trying to cross national borders. Achille Mbembe, expanding Agamben’s line of thought, argues in Necropolitics that we face “the interest of maximum destruction of persons and the creation of death-worlds, new and unique forms of social existence in which vast populations are subjected to conditions of life conferring upon them the status of living dead.” 

We have to ask, do these anti-human death-worlds not also include our vast impacts on bio-diversity and species extinction? 

More positively, vitalist writers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari privilege the creative potential of sub-individual singularities: “bare” nomadic becomings that push beyond the all-too-human. Similarly poised on the radical promise of a “bare” and free “zone of indistinction” between human, animal and automata, Rosi Braidotti speaks of “becoming-other-than-human.” She urges us to a “life beyond death” and to the formation of new post-human subjectivities, ethics and politics. 

Is it time to get beyond the singular importance of human life? And if so, in what ways, and for what purpose? For instance, in Buddhism “bare life” is found in conditioned arising and non-conceptual awareness during meditation. The philosophy expresses radical non-alignment to all forms of ideology, while its heroic resistance to power, for instance the self-immolation of monk Thích Quảng Đức during the Vietnam War, expresses non-violence, calm exposure to death and a willing acceptance of “emptiness.” Walter Benjamin says something, perhaps, not so different in his Critique of Violence. 

A human being is in no way equivalent to the mere life of man, no more than the mere life in him is any one of his situations and qualities, indeed not even to the uniqueness of his physical person. As sacred as the human is (or also that life in him, which consists identically in earthly life, death and afterlife), so little (sacred) are his situations, his physical, humanly vulnerable life. It would surely be worthwhile investigating the origin of the dogma of the sacredness of Life. Possibly, indeed probably it is recent, the last aberration of a weakened Western tradition in search of its lost saint. 

What is bare life? How can it be used? We referred to a number of writers who opened up the topic in the hopes that our Call for Submissions can enable wild and free thinking on BARE LIFE (or a post-human BEAR LIFE). We invite you to creatively and critically respond to our questions from the myriad scholarly, artistic and spiritual ways available. And, we very much look forward to hearing from you. 



This submission is best suited for scholarly work on completed research or artworks. Each submission is carefully reviewed by two independent reviewers and ranked based on quality of presentation, relevance to the community, originality, and importance of the contribution. Submissions in this category can be between 3000-7500 words, including footnotes, bibliography and author bio(s).Please include a 250-300 word abstract. 

This submission is best suited for the dissemination of artistic research and its methodologies, from all arts disciplines. Text can be woven together with image, audio and video to discuss critical reviews of exhibitions, artist studio visits, artist profiles and experimental content. All images, audio and video elements must be the property of the artist, meet copyright approval and are the responsibility of the author. Submissions in the Photo Essay category can be between 1000-2000 words, including footnotes, bibliography and author bio(s). Please include a 250-300 word abstract. 

This submission is best suited for scholarly work on ongoing research or artwork, as well as position papers raising original and provocative theoretical or practical discourses and questions. Each submission will be carefully reviewed by two independent reviewers and ranked based on quality of presentation, relevance to the community, originality, and importance of the contribution. Submissions in this category can be between 1500-3000 words, including footnotes, bibliography and author bio(s). Please include a 250-300 word abstract. 

We accept submissions of individual artworks, including any media, audio and video, to be published online. Please provide a 300-500 word artist statement, a 200 word biography, and a 250-300 word abstract. 

Submit Word documents (.doc or .docx) or PDFs to the attention of the Peer Review Committee via The CMA Journal's online submission form: or by e-mail:
Submissions will be accepted until Friday April 15, 2016 23:59 PST. 

All Long Paper and Short Paper submissions must be the full length version of the paper formatted in the Chicago Style, with notes-endnote citations and bibliography. Submissions must include a 250-300 word abstract that demonstrates how the work fits the publication theme. Submissions must be original and not published in another journal. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and will not be tolerated. You may submit a piece of work prepared for a course of study, or you may opt to write an original piece for submission to the journal.  

Before publication, all artists and authors contributing to the CMA Journal must sign a copyright license agreement. By exercising the Licensed Rights, artists and authors accept and agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (“Public License”).  

The Editorial Committee considers each submission for recommendation to our Peer Review Committee based on the work’s originality, quality and fitness for theme. Submissions recommended to the Peer Review Committee are evaluated and ranked by two members of the Committee. 

Contact Info: 

For more information visit THE CMA Journal online: 

For questions on eligibility or submissions, contact Megan Jones, Managing Editor for The CMA Journal at: 

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