How does contemporary culture make sense of weary worlds? Exhaustion can be used to describe both the depletion of planetary resources and a structural waning of social and economic equity. Similarly, the burden of exhaustion is increasingly justified by an ideology of resilience and ‘mindful’ ethical consumerism, even as its effects are carried disproportionately across populations. When it comes to conceptualising sequestration, burnout and extinction, what do these terms tell us about the limitations of the imaginary of exhaustion itself and how are they extrapolated through visual, literary or theoretical modes?
This interdisciplinary conference welcomes papers from all disciplines and cross-genre work in the humanities, sciences and at the convergence of art and activism. We are interested in responses to the varied representations of exhaustion, particularly with regard to instrumental and coalitional axes that discern the shape and feel of exhaustion in contemporary life. Related topics include, but are not limited to:
- Endurance, waiting and deferral, ‘wasting’ time (e.g. the ‘prosumer’);
- Affective and immaterial labour e.g. refusal, complaint and ‘not doing’;
- Spectacle, immediacy and disparities of exhaustion between the Global North and Global South;
- Temporalities of extractivism, disaster capitalism and waste;
- Decolonial, queer, feminist, accessible and more-than-human futurities;
- Hope/lessness, green fatigue, doomsday and apocalypse rhetorics;
- Gallows humour, satire and irreverence;
- Cultural responses to biodiversity, extinction and ecosystem loss;
- Timescales beyond the human, Anthropocene and epochal thinking;
- Expendable bodies in the humanities and sciences, disposability and remediation practices;
- Mitigation cultures (e.g. climate offsetting) and the financialisation of nature;
- Carbon footprints of global art exhibitions/biennales, petrocultures, divestment and the art institution;
- Conceptual impasse, absurdity and reaching for other ontological perspectives, the rhetoric of ‘why bother’;
- Neoliberal scales, duration and legacy (e.g. slow scholarship; slacktivism).
Please send a 250-word proposal and short biography to the conference organisers. The deadline for proposals is 10 January 2020. If you plan to propose your work in a performance or multimedia format, please specify your media requirements along with your proposal. We ask that all speakers bear in mind the interdisciplinarity of this event. A description of the work and its wider implications is highly recommended for all papers.
The venue is wheelchair accessible with accessible toilets on all floors. As we have several conference bursaries available, please contact the organisers should either the ticket price or travel to the venue prove prohibitive, and for any access information or requirements.