This panel interrogates the concept of hybridity through explorations of the processes, forms and genres of leading writers, with presentations from Steve Tomasula, Brian Bouldrey and Francoise Sammarcelli.
Sylvie Bauer presents "Not Percival Everett,": Much has been said about Percival Everett's work as being uncategorizable, not fitting within the limits or the frames of generic categories. Not only do his novels and short stories span a wide variety of literary genres, ranging from detective novels to philosophical inquiries, from slapstick comedy to dark humor verging on tragedy, they also combine artistic forms such as cinema, drawing, music and painting and widely invite philosophy within fiction. Yet, far from including artistic, critical and philosophical mediums as mere thematic devices, as simple illustrations or allusions, Everett's writing combines them into processes that affect language and the very notion of fiction, turning writing into what Deleuze calls the Impersonal. This paper proposes to focus on two of Percival Everett's novels, I Am Not Sidney Poitier and Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, whose titles already interrogate the very notion of subjectivity, suggesting from the start the collaborative and impersonal fluxes at the heart of artistic practice.
Steve Tomasula will perform a public reading from TOC: A New-Media Novel: an electronic, multimedia, interactive novel published this year as an App for iPAD. TOC is a multimedia epic about time: the invention of the second, the beating of a heart, the story of humans connecting through time to each other and to the world. A collaborative work, TOC brings together the work of some 15 contributors from a range of disciplines: graphic design, music composition and performance, voice acting, computer programing, animation, and other visual arts. TOC tells its story through an assemblage of text, film, music, photography, the spoken word, animation, and painting. TOC also re-imagines the book by incorporating the materials of the computer as part of its narrative to create a new kind of narrative experience for the reader: one in which the digital tools used to make and read this book transform the reader into an active participant; one in which the book itself alters the reader’s consciousness, or experience of time even as it re-presents/represents its own subject, time.
Françoise Sammarcelli presents "Hybridity Revisited, or, When Percival and Lance Play with Photography," about Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, 2013, and Lance Olsen’s Theories of Forgetting, 2014. Sammarcelli asks, Do the photos function as illustrations or do they introduce noise in the system, thus disrupting the reading process and emphasizing fragmentation? What is the effect of low/high definition ? What happens to a picture when it is reduplicated ? Therefore how do these novels use hybridity to explore our cognitive processes? In this paper, she will compare Everett’s and Olsen’s aesthetic and semantic strategies in order to shed light on their intriguing effects. While they are very different, both novels can be read as a meditation on time, loss, presence and absence, involving a high degree of reflexivity, and the insertion of photos may be construed as part of a dynamics of re-dis-orientation.
Brian Bouldrey presents two short video essays, "The Oldest Trade in the World (Artwise)." When you look to Longinus or Aristotle, or, for that matter, any aesthetician, described the functions of art, they alwyas reminded us tht besides delighting and surprising, art can also be instructive. Our culture is not, historically, keen on instruction in our art We prefer the inarticulate, common sense voice, the Huck Finn wonder at the stars of Kundeera's novel of ideas. The dullness of the Soviet "socialist realism" further soured our interest in the didactic; and eighteenth century sermons, full of enthusiasm and enlightenment, and are hardly read, let alone considered a form—perhaps because so many of modern ministers are out of ideas. but the sermon, thelecture, the Georgic, these are real cretive forms and have many opportunities for artists. The viable technology of the video essay, among its many surprises as a newere art form, can accommodate and revitaize these antiquated forms and make them radically new.