The Arts of Attention

And then in the end, we did this awesome conference in September 2013.

rewindImage source: 巻き戻し! – Be Kind! Rewind! by vaporwave-gif

It started out as an idea for a seminar for the 11th ESSE Conference at Bogazici University in Turkey, originally dreamt up by Professors Katalin G. Kállay and Ortwin De Graef. Due to other commitments, they never had the time to organize that seminar in the end, but the idea was far too good to be abandoned. Kata was my Master’s thesis supervisor and is a good friend, and we took it upon ourselves to turn that seminar into a conference. In the end, after long months’ work and preparation, the conference took place between September 11-14, 2013, in Budapest.

It was an absolute miracle that we pulled it off, with each one of us doing the jobs of, like, 3-4 people. Apart from allocating presentations to sessions, managing seminar room bookings, and writing the CFP, which we did together, my specific tasks included promoting the conference online, designing all conference-related printed matter (from envelopes through posters to badges), responding to queries from participants, monitoring and applying for funding opportunities, liaising with the curator of the art show at the conference, chairing a few sessions, organizing a satellite workshop and a book fair, and managing the conference website. For all the help and support, our ineffable gratitude goes to our fellow organizers Rebeka Sára Szigethy, Judit Nagy, Ágnes Kende, and Lőrinc Bubnó.

We had an impressive lineup of the heavy artillery of contemporary humanities, with keynote talks by Ortwin, ‘Sepp’ Gumbrecht and Brett Bourbon, and with and opening message by Stanley Cavell. Yup, him.

taoa_coverAnd once the fun was over, more fun followed when we were collating and editing the conference proceedings, with, as a matter of course, copious amounts of blood, sweat, and tears involved in the process. Géza Kállay, Mátyás Bánhegyi, and Balázs Szigeti provided extra sets of eyes and hands for that, and we must acknowledge the invaluable assistance we received from Donald E. Morse as well.

Besides the editorial credit, I also contributed an extended version of my paper “Victims of a Series of Accidents: Attention and Authority in Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan” to the volume, a preprint of which can be read here. This is the explanation for the pretty cool fact that my name appears on the cover twice.

I’ll hear you out now.


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