“Overwhelming Imagination: Achieving and Undermining Contradictions”

July 4–6, 2016

I: project space
BeiXinQiao-BanQiao Hutong #10
China 100007

“Overwhelming Imagination: Achieving and Undermining Contradictions” invites art researchers to Beijing. Running from July 4–6, 2016, this three-day conference is accepting proposals from now until January 16.

Many have argued that the world under global capitalism, particularly urban centers, has become homogeneous. Cities worldwide share similar urban aesthetics, operations, and work schedules. Conversely, some have argued that characterizing our current state as homogenizing is limiting at best, drawing attention to the ways various communities have consciously or unconsciously resisted the values and life practices that are commonly associated with the current global economic system. This has been further complicated with the rise of Internet technology and the ever-increasing formations of networked and online communities. Digital technologies have provided us with the tools for entirely new ways of imagining the world as it was, seeing it as it is, and possibilities for how it could be. In this way, boundaries that have been traditionally used in discussions of identity formation, i.e., local, regional, national, and international, based as they are on physical location, seem less important. On a daily basis, individuals are increasingly required to maneuver between various “realities,” be they digital, physical, spiritual, or imagined. In China alone, rapid economic growth and expanding regional and global influence have resulted in the strengthening of relations, establishment of communities and increased connections with individuals from different countries all over the world. Under these new circumstances, art and its research must also be reevaluated.

The conference presents an opportunity for emerging thinkers to come together and engage in dialogue about current and future trends in art and aesthetics. It transpires during a pivotal moment in China’s continued growth and development as a crucial entity within our interconnected and ever-increasing globalized world. It will gather innovative researchers from all over the world on grounds that will influence art history and its cores. It is a platform for new generations of thinkers of art and methods to engage in a think-tank conference in Beijing, China. The conference theme focuses conversation on aesthetic responses to the multiple and often contradictory realities that people navigate in an increasingly globalized and digitized world.

The conference is organized by I: project space (Antonie Angerer, Anna-Viktoria Eschbach), Open Ground Blog (Madeline Eschenburg, Ellen Larson), and Sishang Art Museum (Linyao Kiki Liu).

Conference format
The conference functions as a think tank amongst innovative thinkers, inventors and creative individuals through conversation, discourse, and facilitated panel discussions. More speculative than conclusive, the conference aims to provoke questions. It creates space for individuals to engage in intellectual dialogue and discuss new trends in art and aesthetics, while at the same time, creating new modes of language and content.

It will be a gathering for professionals whose backgrounds and work are actively engaged within the field of art and aesthetics. We aim to create a space for a future generation of critics, academics, and practitioners to question the status-quo and formulate new questions for the future of art research.

Accepted participants will be split into four panels based on the content of their proposals. After each panel, in which participants will present a 20-minute presentation, an hour-long facilitated discussion will follow.

Proposals should include a description of a persistent problem or topic in the research or practice of the contributor. In their proposals, applicants should give a brief description of their current research questions and/or discussion points related to current and future trends in art and aesthetics.

We encourage proposals from a wide variety of fields including art (photography, painting, performance art, music, dance, etc.), art history, history, philosophy, cultural studies, film studies, etc. Proposals could address questions related but not limited to the following topics: diaspora, urban-rural relations, gender positions, digital networks, speculative realism, localization, the connotative significance of language, contemporaneity, trans-cultural politics of representation, hybridization, periphery, marginality and subalternity, etc.

A juried committee of art history professionals will select a maximum of 16 proposals to participate in the July 2016 conference in Beijing. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by the middle of February.

Proposal requirements
1. Brief description of proposed presentation, discussion topics/question(s) (no more than two pages, double-spaced)
2. Brief statement about what led applicant to begin exploring this topic/question(s) in relationship to the conference theme (no more than two pages, double-spaced)
3. Work samples: digital files only (no more than 25 images, 20 minutes of video, 20 pages text)

Proposals must be received by January 16, 2016.

The conference will be conducted in Mandarin Chinese and English. Please limit proposals to one of these two languages.

We encourage thinkers from all over the world to apply, especially the fierce, the queers, the provocateurs, and the beautiful!

Additional details
–There is no application fee.
–Applicants should be prepared to attend the entire duration of conference (July 4–6).
–All accommodations, meals, and transportation during the conference, in addition to flights to and from China (for those based out of China only) will be provided.
–Participants will be responsible for applying for their own visas. More information regarding applying for a visa may be found by contacting the Chinese Embassy located within ones home country.
–Special meal requests or additional accommodations should be arranged with conference organizers before the conference. We will do our best to accommodate.
–The results of the conference will be published and distributed during the CIHA.
–Please send your applications to: overwhelmingimagination@yahoo.com.