After Fiction: Anna Kornbluh
“That which, or something that, is imaginatively invented; feigned existence, event, or state of things; invention as opposed to fact.” This is the OED definition of fiction.
In modern art studies, this understanding of the divide between the fictional and what is real is essential to a number of fundamental concepts such as representation, imagination, invention, plot, fantasy, and many more. Fiction, indeed, is a fundamental tenet in the basic understanding of what art is – whether as something superior to mere facts, or as something that is dispensed of conforming to the reign of the factual.
However, this understanding is also challenged in today’s culture. In the realm of art, we are witnessing a rapid growth of works and events that overtly and provocatively use and display non-fictional forms, claims and materials. Inversely, the social realms of information, politics and economy are getting still more dependent on forms and ideas that bear more resemblance to fictional phenomena than to actually assignable facts on the ground. Information is instrumental in strategic warfare agendas, political claims address affects of imaginary scenarios, assessment of bonds and stocks becomes relative to a finely tuned set of values, faith professions and expectations, and so on. With this symposium, we will discuss how the neatly delineated “realms” of the invented and the factual become entangled, blurred, contested, negotiated or recast.
November 1st Keynote
Anna Kornbluh:“Climate Realism, Capitalist and Otherwise”
Anna Kornbluh is Associate Professor at the Dept. of English at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She is the author of Realizing Capital: Financial and Psychic Economies in Victorian Form (Fordham UP 2014), which studies the emergent trope of "psychic economy" in the period of financialization, and two books appearing in 2019: The Order of Forms: Realism, Formalism, and Social Space (University of Chicago) and Marxist Film Theory and Fight Club (Bloomsbury "Film Theory in Practice” series).
After Fiction is a graduate symposium with keynote lectures open to the public. Paper sessions are restricted to registered participants. Questions may be directed to Ina Blom at email@example.com.
Image: Hannah Höch, High Finance, 1923