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'So-called waste': Forms of Excess in Post-1960 Art, Film, and Literature

Friday 13 February 2015, 10.30AM to 7.00pm

Confirmed speakers

  • Dr. Amanda Boetzkes (Guelph) 
  • Dr. Karl Schoonover (Warwick)

Visual art, film, and literature since 1960 has been marked by leftovers, repetitions, and time lags, despite emerging in a climate of accelerated technological development and the erasure of leisure time.  From artworks that incorporate the trash and detritus of consumerist excess to novels and films that indulge in narrative 'time-wasting', the cultural production of the last fifty years has revelled in the wasteful and excessive.  This event asks: what are the aesthetics of excess?, what are its material, temporal and figurative manifestations?, is artistic time-wasting a radical form of resistance to the capitalist imperative to be productive?, or do art's glorious expenditures reinforce aesthetci hierarchies that privilege 'difficulty'?


10.00-10.30: Registration

10.30-10.35: Introduction: Amy Tobin and Stephanie Lambert


  • Amanda Boetzkes (Guelph): 'New Materiality and the Aesthetics of Plastic'
  • David Hering (Liverpool): ''This Garden of the Desert': The Effacement of the Midwest in Post-1960s Fiction'

12.00-12.15: Break


  • Hannah Proctor (Birkbeck): 'Surviving the End of History: Human Waste and Obsolescent Objects in Alexandr Sokurov’s Days of Eclipse and Artur Aristakisyan’s Palms'
  • David Hodge (Edinburgh): 'Robert Morris’s 'Anti-Form' Sculptures: Waste and an 'Aesthetic of Institutional Crisis''
  • Jack Arden (Sussex): 'The Seventies as Surplus: William Gaddis’s JR and the Scale of 1970s Fiction'

13.45-14.45: Lunch 

14.45-16.15: Karl Schoonover (Warwick): Seminar: 'Waste and its Aesthetic Management'

16.15-16.30: Coffee break


  • Jessica Cotton (UCL): ''Delectable, deleterious trash': Materialist Camp and Queer Excess in James Schuyler’s The Morning of the Poem'
  • Mark Byers (Oxford): 'Exegetic Excess: J. H. Prynne’s Discursive Commentaries'
  • Marina Vishmidt (Dutch Art Institute) : ''I am No Worse a Labourer': On Work and Non-Work in Darboven, Szapocznikow and Ukeles'

18.00-19.00: Wine reception

19.30: Conference dinner at Akbar’s (6-8 George Hudson Street, YO1 6LP)

This event is free to attend, but places are limited; please e-mail Amy Tobin and Stephanie Lambert to reserve a place.

This event is generously supported by the Humanities Research Centre, the Centre for Modern Studies, and the Department of English and Related Literature.

In preparation for this workshop, there will be a screening of Antonioni's Red Desert at 5.30pm on Wednesday 11 Feburary, in the Bowland Auditorium. 

Avid Reader poster (PDF , 597kb)          



Location: Seminar Room BS/008, Berrick Saul Building, Heslington West Campus