Saturday was the second and last day of The Conference On the Conference. Of the six panels scheduled, only [In absentia] was comprised of texts written by those unable to attend, and in turn read by proxies. The text I read was “The Conference as Imaginative Historicity”, by Dimitrios Otis, aka Dhymitruy Bouryotis. Dimitrios is currently serving a five-year prison term in a Pecos, Texas for drug trafficking.
The highlight of our panel, at least to my mind, was a text first delivered at Centre A’s Let’s Twist Again symposium last fall. The text, in the form of a question posed (sincerely) by a UBC art student, amounted to a five minute self-portrait concerning her future as an artist and was addressed to keynote speaker David Elliot, an internationally-renowned curator and cultural historian.
An audio recording of the question/text was played by Stacey Ho, an independent Vancouver-based scholar, who asked us to consider the question less as an instance of embarrassment than as a meditative space, something that this new context (The Conference On the Conference) provided. Ho went on to say that Elliot more or less dismissed the questioned and that the artist who asked it was later censored by the ringing of a bell.
Ho’s “found” text, and her discussion of it, generated what I thought to be the best of our conversation. If not an artwork, then the basis for one.