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The Shape of the I Conference: Boulder and Denver
I haven’t recovered enough to attempt even a provisional a summary of what was said. Instead, I’ll say this:
We opened with Object Oriented Ontology represented by Tim Morton who spoke about the irreducible series of entities that go into the makeup of the podium (the actual podium), and who made the claim, with OOO, that “I” am no different in value than a frog, a quark, or a weather pattern. That ontology is therefore “horizontal” or “flat,” and that all objects are “withdrawn” from one another, hiding, in some sense, their true essence (“the microphone knows my voice only from the point of view of microphone-ness”). His evocative phrase for the withdrawn object is the “strange stranger.”
Where we ended, after passing through Marx and commodity fetishism, writing as “information” (which is also “formation”—both formed and formational), Conceptual Poetry (which is “all about you”), Agamben’s homo sacer and suicide as sovereignty, the cyborg and the immigrant, the assassination of Harvey Milk, Celia Johnson’s face, Apollinaire’s African soldier, Walter Benjamin’s “tiny fragile human body” “in a field of…destructive torrents and explosions,” chat roulette (talk about strange strangers), transcripts of murderous cell phone calls, the museum that wants to seduce you, the lyric poem that does, the fake memoir, the good doctor, Iron Man, Calvino and the aura of the author, the Child Soldier, Carrie Mae Weems and the re-written subject, I&I staring Babylon in the eye, a bag of plums on her lap, the slave narrative’s “I was born,” the triography and shoplifting, the neo-surreal self as the inclusive self, Agnes Martin and the body in pain, disability and protest, Helen Keller and plagiarism…
where we ended up, finally after all that was before the Holocaust memorial in Berlin where someone asked another “can I touch you”?
Here, for your listening and watching, are readings by Marcia Douglas, Andy Fitch and Sara Marshall, Robin Hemley, Lia Purpura, Bhanu Kapil, Karla Kelsey, Margaret Ronda, Mathias Svalina, and Brian Teare from the final night’s celebration at Counterpath in Denver:
Thanks to all who were part of this I-altering experience