University of Birmingham
June 29-July 1, 2017
Claire Colebrook (Penn State University)
Janet Wolff (University of Manchester)
“Only to the person who is prepared to lose her life in its known form will life appear in its new guises of ever-greater beauty and perfection. But in order to achieve such a position, silence must be reached in both thinking and feeling. This is losing life, for life is, first and foremost, pervaded by human thoughts and feelings in a universal and common form.”
—Hilma af Klint
Modernist Life is an international, interdisciplinary conference that aims to explore the range, depth and prolongation of modernisms from the nineteenth century into the present moment and the future. It takes as its starting point the fundamental tension between art and life, central to modernism, but also the lifespan of modernism itself – beginnings, endings, or alternatively modernism’s longue durée. The conference invites discussion of the ways in which modernisms negotiate the concept of life, afterlife and still life, or death; it is interested in the cultivation of life (the ecological) and the extension or replacement of life (the technological); and it seeks to debate the ways in which modernism’s lives are preserved or reconstructed, through biography, editing, citation, education, cultural institutions and the new technologies of the archive.