CfP: Losing Ground: On Holes and other Absences

University of Warwick

Workshop: 19 May 2017/ Exhibition: 20 May 2017

Coventry, United Kingdom

What happens when ground gives way?

Sinkholes are constantly appearing. At least; there has been an increase in media attention over their globally growing number. Sinkholes describe geologically formed depressions or holes in the ground caused by either suffusion or karst processes leading to a collapse of the surface. They can appear naturally, but increasingly seem to be man-made as a result of more diversified subterranean uses. Their increasing number destabilizes urban, political and social infrastructure; it also raises profound metaphysical questions. In this workshop we attempt to look at sinkholes, as a lens through which we can ponder on situations of a vanishing of the ground beneath our feet. Holes can be seen as the absence of geographic materialities, loss, gaps, and collapse of meaning. Holes can also be interpreted as potential sites of openings, creativity, and reconstruction of new or recovered meaning.

We invite contributions that engage with the question of holes; a question, we believe, that can only be thought of through a multidisciplinary lens. We look for a conversation among artists, philosophers, geographers, academics in Sociology, Politics, Literature and Theatre and Performance Studies. The workshop will be held in parallel with an art exhibition at  Warwick University, Coventry Arts. The exhibition will feature segments of Heide Fasnacht’s Suspect Terrain and Jenny Perlin’s One Hundred Sinkholes, and is part of a larger effort to make holes relevant as a subject and site of learning and research.

We invite interested contributors to send a 300 word (or shorter) abstract, and a brief biographical note to Marijn Nieuwenhuis (m.nieuwenhuis@warwick.ac.uk) and Aya Nassar (a.m.i.nassar@warwick.ac.uk) by March 20, 2017.

Besides paper presentations;  alternative contributions such as performance, videos, drawings, pictures (etc.) are warmly welcomed.