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

Friday 13 February 2015, 10.00AM to 7.00pm

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 aesthetic hierarchies that privilege ‘difficulty’?


 10.00 – 10.30      Registration
10.30 – 10.35 Introduction (Amy Tobin and Stephanie Lambert)
10.40 – 12.00 

Amanda Boetzkes (University of Guelph)
New Materiality and the Aesthetics of Plastic

David Hering (University of Liverpool)
‘This Garden of the Desert’: The Effacement of the Midwest in Post-1960s Fiction

12.00 – 12.15 Break
12.15 – 13.45

Hannah Proctor (Birkbeck, University of London)

Surviving the End of History: Human Waste and Obsolescent Objects in Alexandr Sokurov’s Days of Eclipse and Artur Aristakisyan’s Palms

David Hodge (University of Edinburgh)
Robert Morris’s ‘Anti-Form’ Sculptures: Waste and an ‘Aesthetic of Institutional Crisis’ 

Jack Arden (University of 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 (University of Warwick)
Seminar: Waste and its Aesthetic Management
16.15 – 16.30  Coffee break
16.30 – 18.00

Jessica Cotton (University College London)

‘Delectable, deleterious trash’: Materialist Camp and Queer Excess in James Schuyler’s ‘The Morning of the Poem’

Mark Byers (University of 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 English and Related Literature department.

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

So-called Waste programme and abstracts (PDF , 636kb)

 So-called Waste CFP (PDF , 47kb)

Location: The Treehouse, first floor, Berrick Saul Building