Here is the link to the audio file on YouTube of my Lecture, On the Commerce of Anonymity, that I presented on November 20, 2015, as part of the Emerging Research in Comparative Literature Series, at the University Toronto.
I want to thank Fan Wu and Jesscia Copley for the invitation to present some of my current work, and to all those in attendance that evening for their engaging questions and responses. I also want to thank Bao Nguyen for his editing of this audio recording. Finally, my thanks to Shaan Syed, whose work—the focus of this talk—continues to be such an important provocation and inspiration for my own.
For the final section of the paper that I did not have the time to present, see my earlier post on “anonymous and neutral mourning.”
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Francisco-Fernando Granados, spatial profiling – after Margaret Dragu’s Eine Kleine Nacht Radio (2011). Performance, site-specific drawing; performed at VIVO Media Arts Centre for the LIVE Biennial of Performance Art, Vancouver. Photographs by Jesse Birch and Francisco-Fernando Granados
Here is a short description of a paper that I will be working on for the next few months, as a keynote that I have been invited to present at a conference on “Aisthesis and the Common: Reconfiguring the Public Sphere” to be held at McGill University, Montreal, in March 2016.
Bodies are exorbitant extremities, and not enclosed and discrete or “embodied” entities. This is just one of the reasons why we do not speak of a body having a center or margins. Ontologically speaking, any material-physical thing that is open and always in excess of its limits is a body. Thus not only are there non-human and inorganic bodies, just as there are human bodies, but the matter of bodies and how they come to matter and mean, happens in those indeterminate and undecidable zones where it is often impossible to know where one body begins and another ends. Edge is the name that we might give for this shared spacing, there where bodies partake in a sense of the intimacy of the outside. In my paper I consider works by three contemporary artists: Francisco-Fernando Granados, Shaan Syed, and Sarah Kabot, in which a performative praxis of drawing traces the non-mediating line of the edge as the space-time of the common—its tense, tension and extension. In the public performance of repetitively tracing a facial profile (Granados), or a portrait of lost lover posted on city streets (Syed), or in which all of the lines in a public bathroom are shifted by half-an-inch (Kabot), these works peri-performatively open up spaces around bodies, and places and things. Spaces that are virtual rather than possible, inoperative rather than productive, anonymous rather than identitarian. Indeterminate zones but never empty voids, these edgings are where appearing and disappearing, becoming and unbecoming persist as the immeasurable infinities that they are. The sense and experience (aisthesis) of the common lies in the pleasures and risks of our affinities to these edges.
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