CfP: Streets, Routes, Methods I (Florence, 5-6 May 2017)

Call for Papers
Streets, Routes, Methods I: Reflections on Paths, Spaces and Temporalities
Florence, May 5 – 06, 2017
Deadline: Jan 31, 2017
A Conference organized by the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz and eikones NCCR Iconic Criticism, University of Basel
by Hannah Baader, Adam Jasper, Stefan Neuner, Gerald Wildgruber, Gerhard Wolf
Paths can be serpentine, straight and anything in between; they might traverse barely accessible mountains, like the Inca Trail, or be
straight, like desire lines. Paths come before roads, survive into the time of roads, or reappear in response to them. Paths tend to be
overgrown, to disappear—in the desert sand—to be overbuilt or abandoned. They have their temporalities, seasons and spatialities,
between proximity and distance. Paths are therefore not purely spatial affairs. Paths have a genuine temporal dimension beyond the duration of
a traveler’s journey. Paths can be seen as chronotopoi, with literary, pictorial and cinematographic histories. Paths must be trodden in order
to survive, exemplifying the Heraclitian formula μεταβάλλον ἀναπαύεται (‘it is in changing that things find repose’). The temporal dimension
of paths ultimately allows us to overcome the sterile dichotomy between real and imagined paths (metaphors, allegories, models). They have a
rich life in the world of metaphors, intrinsic to the notion of met-hodos, based on the Greek word for way, or path. This allies paths
to language and, more specifically, writing, whose elements are also repetitions, tracks that are ‘inked in’. It is the remembered, the
described, and thereby the reusable and transferable path. Paths within language can become ritual tools for the creation of new ones.
Beyond the above mentioned approaches to paths, the conference will explore their relationship to the environment, in line with the eco-art
historical project at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz. How do paths, trails and routes shape or even create landscape? What is the
interplay of geomorphology, flora and fauna, animal and human agency? Paths introduce directionalities, itineraries and nets into the
environment, they are linked to technologies of transport and movement; they offer viewpoints, changing horizons or deep immersion into flora
or architecture; experiencing them is a multisensorial endeavor. Under the hodological conditions of global urban environments and
post/industrial landscapes, paths run across streets, they can be subversive, democratic or pragmatic. They can be reinstalled as
nostalgic evocations of a lost or overcome past, of rural or pastoral life, or serve mass tourism as well as new ecological approaches.
In search of enlightening new theoretical frameworks, as well as informative case studies, we therefore make this call for papers as
open as possible. We invite contributions that touch upon questions not only on paths, mapping, urbanism, but also on metaphor, method,
allegory, ritual and auguration.
Presentations will be of a spoken length of 30 minutes, followed by a discussion of 15 minutes. Please send your proposals (max. 300 words),
preferably in English language, and cv by 31 January 2016 to
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