Fallout: Visions of Apocalypse
12th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium
York University, Toronto, Canada
March 9, 2013
Across cultures and historical periods, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic narratives explore what happens when the status quo breaks down.
Far from timeless or abstract, apocalyptic narratives embody a particular society’s worst fears and greatest anxieties: monstrous figures populate these narratives, wreaking havoc by transgressing moral, sexual, economic, political, ecological, religious or scientific orders. While apocalyptic anxieties can fuel oppressive regimes of fear and paranoia, the heralding of the end of civilization is often commensurate with revolutionary ideas.
The destruction of apocalypse is never total, the end never ultimate; there is always another side to apocalypse, a renewal after the destruction. Even as the projected date of each apocalypse passes, predictions never seem to wane. In popular media, predictions about the end of the Mayan calendar loom large (we boldly schedule our symposium some four months later).
Eurocentric visions of apocalypse largely reinforce dominant Judeo-Christian values, and the appropriation of the Mayan calendar end date as a site for apocalyptic speculation suggests a further need to engage with diverging notions of the apocalypse across cultures and societies.
Further prevalent contemporary narratives envision the end of civilization through divine judgement, pandemics, ecological disasters, technological revolts, attacks of the undead and the self-extinction of humans — each of these incorporating its own ideological underpinnings. In the current moment of speculation about the world’s end which seems ever-increasing, we recognize the need for theoretical and thematic engagement with the apocalyptic.
The myriad visual representations of apocalypse exemplify the potential for apocalyptic narratives as mecha- nisms of pleasure, control and resistance. AHGSA invite proposals for presentations that develop critical perspectives on the apocalypse. We request submis- sions that critically examine these discussions in art and visual culture and evaluate their role in society.
Traditional paper lecture, workshop, artistic intervention /performance and other experimental forms will be accepted. We also welcome cross- disciplinary interpretations of the theme.
Please send a 250-word abstract of your paper along with a working title, curriculum vitæ, and contact information. Specify the format of your presentation, keeping in mind that it should be no longer than 20 minutes in length.
Deadline: December 3, 2012. Participants will be notified early January 2013.
A selection of Fallout presentations will be published in a special issue of FUSE Magazine, to be released in June 2013. All symposium participants will be invited to submit their presentation for review by the FUSE editorial committee.