Friday, January 28, 2011

Blackness. And Publication. What more can you ask for?

Fiction International is hosting a fiction (prose) writing contest in Spring 2011. The contest is intended to expose new talent to a critical audience of discerning, literary readers, and is limited to writers who have no more than two published books.

The theme is BLACKNESS (FI always has a theme), and there's a 2000 word limit for entries. The submission period is: February 1, 2011 - June 1, 2011.

Entries will be read by Fiction International editors and comments will be returned to the entrants. The top 20 entries will be read by FI editor-in-chief Harold Jaffe (who will select the winners). The grand-prize submission will be published in the 2012 volume of Fiction International and the author will be awarded a $1000 cash prize. There will also be two honorable mentions that will be published in the 2012 edition of Fiction International.

Winner will be announced Fall 2011. Go to to sign up for the contest.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aesthetic Wit(h)nessing in the Era of Trauma

I came across a strong article in EurAmerica (Dec. 2010, Vol 40, No 4, pp 829-886) today by
Griselda Pollock. She writes about Bracha Ettinger and the need for artists to approach their work with "ethical commitment" given the preponderance of trauma in the 20th century. A sample of Ettinger's art is provided here. The abstract is below.

Israeli/French artist and psychoanalytical theorist, Bracha Ettinger has declared: "In art today we are moving from phantasm to trauma. Contemporary aesthetics is moving from phallic structure to matrixial sphere." In analysing the significance of this claim, this article will bring together the legacies of feminist, post-colonial cultural theories in relation to the current focus on trauma, memory and aesthetics in an international context. The understanding of the twentieth century as a century of catastrophe demands theoretical attention be given to concepts such as trauma, as artists with deep ethical commitments bring issues of traumatic legacies to the surface of cultural awareness and potentially provide through the aesthetic encounter a passage from the traces of trauma. This article introduces, explains and analyses the contribution of Bracha Ettinger as a major theoretician of trauma, aesthetics and above all sexual difference. In addition, it elaborates on her parallel concept of a matrixial aesthetic practice, enacted through a post-conceptual painting, that retunes the legacies of technologies of surveillance and documentation/archiving, as a means to effect the passage to a future that accepts the burden of sharing the trauma while processing and transforming it. The article demonstrates the dual functions of Ettingerian theories of a matrixial supplement to the phallocentric Imginary and Symbolic in relation to the major challenges we face as we seek to understand, acknowledge and move on from the catastrophes that render our age post-traumatic.