CFP: Words & [ ] — a Durational Conference of Art & Thought (Deadline - 2.15.16)


Words & [ ] — a Durational Conference of Art & Thought

When: Friday May 6th 10am - Sunday May 8th 6pm (2016)
Where: The Darling Foundry, Montreal (QC)
Cost: $10/day suggested donation (for all participants)
Accommodations: Presenters will receive free communal accommodations in the gallery
Deadline for Submissions: February 15th, 2016 11:59PM EST

The School of Making Thinking is thrilled to present “Words & [ ] — a Durational Conference of Art & Thought” to take place at The Darling Foundry May 6 - 8 2016. This bilingual [French/English] conference is a 56-hour art and thought marathon with round-the-clock live programming featuring presentations exploring the connections and fissures between thinking and art-making practices. We hope to dynamically explode the conference format through vibrant intermingling of art and thought, eroding the barriers between individuals, disciplines, methods, and cultures via Dionysian exhaustion.

We invite both audience and presenters to partake in the entirety of the event, sleeping and feasting together, fostering a philosophical community born out of an ephemeral maximalist, deep-absorption. What kinds of work might emerge when we enter creative overload together? What new pathways of care might be opened within this methodological breakdown?

Content Streams

Our theme “Words & [ ]”, unpacked in our streams below, rubs against the boundary-lines between art and thought, sensuous and conceptual, intuitive and intellectual. We encourage artists and thinkers to submit unusual/unconventional proposals which lightly or tightly touch on these themes; presentations that exist besides, alongside, in-sight of, the word and the non-word.

Between Words and Not Words What are words? Pieces of a verbal or written language? What separates the word from what it is not? What is the non-worded? Are words and not words of the same ilk (both are signs?) or are they radically different? How thick or thin is this boundary? Where do words and nonwords blend into one-another? Is math words? Is geometry? Is hieroglyphics? What about poetry, theater, film, performance?

The Word/Not-Word battleground Sometimes the word can violently crash against the non-word. If words and non-words are a battleground, has thinking taken sides? Can we think without words? Does thinking with words always come from the not-worded? Was art born of the not-worded? Is worded art less artful? Why are artists so often asked to word their not-words? Have artists incorporated more words into their art than thinkers have incorporated not-words into their thoughts? If thinking and making have become a battleground, what parts of that violent geography are productive and what parts paralyzing?

The Outside Is there anything outside of words and not words?

Traces (How to Read & Write) Words and not-words are often known as such via their traces (whether worded or otherwise): sound echoing, lines on the page, glyphs, diagrams, bodily sensation, performance remains, objects, scores, etc. The technology of writing surfaces as a question — writing? Which in turn surfaces the question of reading those traces — reading? In attempting to unknow and encounter anew reading and writing, might we create new openings into thinking and making? In this stream, we’d like to engage with practices of performative reading and the trace-creating practices of writing, scoring, choreographing, graphics/visuals, etc. How does the event ask to be traced? How does the trace ask to be encountered?

Dream Events The above questions all presuppose a waking mind; how do the above questions shift when we enter dreamland? Given that our conference will take place on two evenings between the hours of 1am and 6am, we are excited about presentations which explore these themes alongside actual dreaming. What is it to present a talk in a dream? How can a workshop work on the dream-state? See the Rubin’s Dream-Over for inspiration

Geniuses of the Highest Class

Forgetting Your Mother Tongue: What would it be to forget your primary language? Are you your mother tongue? How was language your own to begin with, if language is already fundamentally composed of that which is other? How do the networks of words one uses determine self/and/other? Would forgetting your primary language erase your own culture? Would it imprison you in your own identity? Can the self ever be forgotten? Can we will to forget? What is gained through this forgetting? What is lost?

“So much to forget, so little time.” -Margaret Dragu, On her technique of Active Forgetting

This stream is directly inspired by and will take place in the exhibition of Marie-Michelle Deschamps presented by The Fonderie Darling (

W(ord)[and]ering: How do words wander? How does wandering word? Can you identify wandering without the worded? In order to wander in our neoliberal capitalism era, one must deviate from the straight path of the “should” (sara ahmed) – is the should-path worded? Can not[words] deviate? What traces do our wanderings leave behind? If we wander the path-traces of another, are we still wandering? How in wandering do we l i s t e n to pulls (that which pulls us?) in ways different than in the not-wander? What are the surroundings of our wanderings? The city/nature binary crumbles when cuddled close, but the Surround does contain difference. How does the Surround we wander through, body? Do words/not|words body?

This stream is directly inspired by and will take place in the exhibition of Lorna Bauer presented by The Fonderie Darling (


We are excited to accept proposals that engage with the content of the above streams or the overarching theme of the conference across a wide variety of forms. The following are a few ideas that we offer but we expect that there are many other amazing forms and structures that you may come up with and propose:

Performance: a performative enactment or a theatrical presentation. NOTE: Organizers have a particular interest in and dedication to performance art as well as extensive experience in programming this kind of work which we dearly welcome. Extended duration works might also be interesting to propose given the unusual time-frame of this conference!
Workshop: leading a group of people through an immersive, interactive experience.
Structured Talks / Performative Lectures: while we will accept standard academic presentations, we are most excited about artists or thinkers giving talks which go beyond the traditional format of standing up, reading a paper and showing images.
Reading Group: reading a short secondary text together with guided discussion.
Perambulatory: a presentation that moves bodies through multiple spaces while it occurs (either indoors or outdoors)
Sounding: sound making/listening.
Installation: while it is possible for us to have visual or sculptural work installed, we do not have the capacity to support works that are fragile and we are also not able to provide support in installing or de-installing works, which would need to happen on the first morning of the conference. Consider the context as one that may be more suitable to in-process creations that cannot be “ruined” and especially those with a co-creation/“participatory” component.
Screenings: movies, videos or film.
Other: please propose a platform that interests you

NOTE: Feel free to propose a presentation that entails multiple iterations, variations and space use.

Submission Instructions:


Please email your submissions to with the words “2016 Conference Proposal.” In this email please attach a separate document (if it is a written document, .doc is preferable to .PDF so that we can better translate it).

Please include, worded or not worded, the following:
Choose a Content Stream from above or create your own.
Choose a (plat)Form from above or create your own.
Your proposal (i.e. tell us what you want to do with items 1 and 2)
Do you have any technical/material/or other set-up needs that you expect the conference organizers to help you with? (Please note here that we have very limited capacity to help with extensive set-up or tech needs but we will absolutely do what we can!)
Temporal preferences: how long will your presentation be, what dates of the conference are you available? The conference will take place from Friday May 6th at 10am until Sunday May 8th at 7pm. *Note: Conference organizers strongly encourage participants to be available for the entire duration of the conference when possible.
Optional: CV (max. 3 pages) and/or Short Bio

A Note on Economic Exchanges

Presenters and organizers do not pay and are not paid to attend the conference. We ask that participants contribute a few hours of time to the household-running of this ephemeral community (this might include unloading, cooking, door-minding, etc). The conference will be open to the public, who will be asked for a small donation at the door to cover expenses. Further details can be found on our website.