Polemic! (Cambridge, 14 Oct 17)

Walker Downey's picture
October 14, 2017
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies
We hope that you will join us for Polemic! on Saturday, October 14th from 10:00 onwards. Conference details and poster are copied and attached below. Please help us promote the event by emailing your friends and colleagues who would be interested in attending (If using social media, please use #PolemicMIT). If you plan on attending, please RSVP to our facebook event or email us at polemicMIT@gmail.com so we can anticipate how many people are attending. 
Polemic! Organizing Committee
Conference - Alexander W. Dreyfoos '54 Auditorium, 75 Amherst Street, Cambridge, MIT Media Lab, E14-633
Performance - Bartos Theatre, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, E15, lower level
Reception - List Gallery, E15, Upper Atrium
10:00  Breakfast + Registration (free)
10:30-11:45 Welcome + Keynote by Prof. Julia Bryan-Wilson
Her talk is called "Minds over Matter." It proposes an alternative history to conceptual and performance art in the 1970s by thinking through their co-emergence with a rising public interest in telekinesis. What happens when we talk not of dematerialization in the conventional sense, but believe in the very rearrangement of matter using the political powers of collective imagination? 
(For those interested, she will also be launching her book Fray: Art and Textile Politics on Thursday, October 12, 4:30pm at the Carpenter Center in dialogue with Carrie Lambert-Beatty)
12:00-1:30 Panel 1 - Forms of Polemic moderated by Prof. Lauren Jacobi
This panel examines the various forms of the polemical argument. It asks: how do these various forms work to inscribe hierarchies, classes, victors, and losers through acerbic critique, which, like a lobbed bomb, is meant to collapse its target?
  • Kenneth Berger, "Critique as a Way of Life," Brown University.
  • Jean Marie Carey, "The Ferocity of Freestyle in Franz Marc's ad hominem havoc," University of Otago/Universität Kassel.
  • Tobias Ertl, "'The first word of an artist is against artists.' Polemic as form in the work of Ad Reinhardt," Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
1:30-2:15 Break
2:15-3:45 Panel 2 - Polemical Gestures moderated by Prof. Mark Jarzombek
This panel considers the gestures through which a polemic is argued. From protests to policies to pages emptied of text, this panel asks: how is polemical action and inaction interpellated by ideology, culture, and affect?
  • Nushelle de Silva, "From Heresy to Heroism to Hate Crime: Histories and Futures of a Buddhist Body of Protest," MIT.
  • Maura Lucking, "Abatement at the A&A: The Shelf Life and Politics of Asbestos at Yale," UCLA.
  • Alex Maymind, "In Praise of Erasure and Related Strategies of Unexpected Assertion," UCLA.
4:00-4:30 Recorded poetry reading by Winslow LaRoche
4:30-6:00 Panel 3 - Parasitic Figures on Discussion moderated by Prof. Caroline Jones
This panel interrogates the moments in which polemical figures become or are perceived as parasites on discussion. It asks: what are the ethics and efficacy of viewing the other side not as a partner, but rather as an adversary? How do the ‘politics of enmity’ mediate the frontier between popular and academic discourse?
  • Rijul Kochhar, "The Apparatus of Enmity: Microbes, Antibiotic Resistance, 'Culture'," MIT.
  • Benjamin Ray, "No Future? The Queer Polemic and Edelman's Provocation," University of Alabama.
  • Eliyahu Keller, "Parametric Labyrinths: The Case of Patrik Schumacher and the Minotaur of Knosos," MIT.
6:00-7:00 Spoken Word Performance by Jasmine Mans in Bartos Theatre
7:00-9:00 Wine + Tapas Reception for conference attendees in the upper atrium of E15, co-hosted with the LIST gallery, who have agreed to keep open their Civil Disobedience film screenings along with their ongoing exhibition, MIT Student Activism Poster Collection 1968-1973, during the reception.
Contact Info: 

Contact the Polemic! organizational team at polemicMIT@gmail.com

Contact Email: