Bjarki Bragason, Claudia Hausfeld and Hildigunnur Birgisdóttir – Keynote Speakers

Eins og eins / Selfsame

A mound of rust, mimicking a stone sitting on a beach, surrounded by piles of stones at the place of a former garbage tip, it has been over the past decades shaped by waves. It has affectionately incorporated any object that drifts by, resulting in half garbage, half stone. Where this object belongs and what constitutes its belonging is the placeholder for the conversation between our practices. The talk will shed light on this process and our upcoming exhibition.

Roger Allen – Keynote Speaker

Arabic and translation: Past and present.

In this presentation I propose to look at Arabic language and culture in the broader context of translation as an inter-cultural activity. I will begin by tracing some of the most significant translation movements in the Arabo-Islamic world in the pre-modern era, but then concentrate on the issues connected with translating modern Arabic fiction into English, both the translation process itself and the multiple issues connected with its reception.

Matthew Rubery – Keynote Speaker

“Can a Book Talk?”

This presentation takes up an unresolved question in the history of recorded literature: is a talking book still a book? In 1934, the United States Library of Congress established the world’s first talking book library in order to provide reading material for war-blinded soldiers and blind civilians. The Bible, Shakespeare, and best-selling novels were read aloud by professional actors on a set of long-playing phonograph records. The talking book represented the most significant advance in blind literacy since the invention of Braille. Yet, at the same time, it raised a profound set of questions about the nature of reading. Hence, this talk traces a series of controversies that arose over the appropriate way to narrate a talking book. Audiences faced a choice between a deliberately understated style that privileged the printed book and a theatrical style that took full advantage of the record’s sound. Such disputes call into question the legitimacy of reading practices among people with visual disabilities and, ultimately, what it means for anyone to read a book.

David Spurr – Keynote Speaker

Architecture and Modern Literature : a Persistent Dialogue

Modern literature, in its fragmentation, its ambiguity, and its exploration of the irrational, is often seen to be at odds with modern architecture, with its geometrical forms, its rational conceptions of space, and its ready adaptation to an industrial economy. In fact these two cultural forms have much in common when we consider how both evolve as reflections of the larger cultural conditions known as modernity. While architecture is the construction of space, literature testifies to the subjective and social experiences of inhabiting that space. The great writers of the age—Proust, Joyce, Kafka—engage in a continuing dialogue with the built environment. At the same time, the architecture of our cities and houses, both ancient and modern, can itself be read as a kind of writing. The constant interplay between architectural and literary works has much to tell us about the way we live now.