‘An Event Between History and the Everyday: Encountering the Secret of Charlotte Salomon’s Life? or Theatre?’ Griselda Pollock. Generously sponsored by the Leo Baeck Institute London
PLENARY ROUND TABLE
‘Everydayness and the Event’ Gillian Beer, Rachel Bowlby, Ben Highmore, Esther Leslie, Gabriel Josipovici, Michael Sheringham
Terry Eagleton, ‘The Event, Everydayness, and Modernism’
Modernism radically breaks from the ordinary and the received, staking its claims on making it new. But how might modernism also engage with the ordinary, the quotidian, the mundane or the banal? What kinds of events are precipitated by this conjunction? “Everydayness and the Event” encourages the exploration of philosophical subjects such as time, space and subjectivity; political questions about private versus public; psychoanalytic issues such as emotion and habit; and aesthetic questions of ordinariness (diary-writing, reportage, lists) and novelty (performance, intervention, the newsworthy).Topics of growing significance in modernist studies, the everyday and the event might be considered together or separately to include, for example, domesticity, objects, food, fashion, waste, public engagement, responses to events of local, national and international significance, the traumatic event and modernism as itself a happening.
The University of Sussex is home to the Mass Observation archive, a record of the behaviours and habits of everyday British people from 1937 to the present, while London and the area around Sussex were the sites of iconic modernist happenings such as the performance of Futurist music at the London Coliseum in 1914, the Dreadnought Hoax perpetrated by members of the Bloomsbury Group in 1910, and the ongoing “event” of the personal and artistic entanglements at Charleston, the Sussex home of the Bloomsbury set. During the conference, delegates will have the opportunity to join organized tours to Charleston and Monk’s House, the countryside home of the Woolfs, as well as Farley Farm House, home of the photographer Lee Miller and a centre of British surrealism. Delegates will also be able to attend a poetry “event” organized in collaboration with the Archive of the Now. We hope the conference location will encourage reflection on the theme of “Everydayness and the Event” as well as self- reflection on the part of the participants on public readings and conferences such as the MSA as the spaces in which modernism happens.
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