THE METAREFERENTIAL TURN IN CONTEMPORARY ARTS AND MEDIA

 

Date: October 1 – 3, 2009
Venue: Graz, Austria

An International Symposium
organized at the Centre for Intermediality Studies in Graz (CIMIG)
Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz/Austria

Metaization’ – the movement from a first cognitive or communicative level to a higher one on which first-level phenomena and above all the means and media used for the transmission of such phenomena or messages self-reflexively become objects of reflection and communication in their own right – was for a long time mostly restricted to a relative minority of works or artefacts, and in particular to ‘high art’. In the 20th cen¬tury, notably in the context of postmodernism, this situation changed drastically: metaization and its product, ‘metareference’, have not only increased dramatically in quantity but have also spread to areas in which they could rarely, if at all, be found in the past, in particular to popular genres (where they have produced ‘metapop’), but also to the new media. In fact, no matter whether we read a new novel or comic, listen to a musical such as The Phantom of the Opera, or play a computer game – in all cases we are nowadays likely to encounter metaphenomena.
This ‘metareferential turn’ has frequently been observed but rarely studied on a broad basis with the aim of providing a comprehensive synopsis of metareference including its effects and motivations in contemporary arts and media. This is what the forthcoming symposium attempts to do. It is the sequel to a conference held in May 2008 in Graz which was dedicated to both a theoretical debate (the discussion of a conceptual toolbox that would be useful for a transmedial description of ‘metarefer-ence’) and to case studies of works from various genres, arts and media past and present. In partial contrast to the theoretical focus of the earlier conference and its inclusion of historical metaphenomena, the symposium announced here is expected to concentrate exclusively on (in broad terms) contemporary metaphenom¬ena ( i. e., from the second half of the twentieth century), but it will continue the trans¬me¬dial fo-cus and thus encourage discussion of a great variety of media. The follow¬ing issues will be considered in particular:
• collecting and interpreting relevant examples of metareference in contem¬po-rary arts and media, especially where this has not been done so far to a suffi-cient degree;
• exploring major functions and effects of metaization in contemporary arts and media;
• embedding the current metareferential turn in the general cultural-historical de¬velopment of ‘metaization’, and finding possible reasons for its appearance.

Please send abstracts of 300 to 500 words with a short CV including an indication of academic affiliation by email to metareference@uni-graz.at.

See for submissions details, registration, and all further information: http://metareference.uni-graz.at
[Please note: this is an archival entry; conference website may be discontinued.]