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March 14-17, 2016 University of Vienna

Austrian Studies Association (ASA) Conference

Austria – USA

Artistic and Intercultural Dialogue

 Hosted and organized by
The Research Platform Elfriede Jelinek: Texts – Kontexts – Reception of the University of Vienna

Download the Call for papers here

The 2016 conference of the Austrian Studies Association (ASA) focused on the artistic and intercultural dialogue between the United States of America and Austria.

Elfriede Jelinek’s oeuvre, which establishes many connections to the US at various levels,  was a point of departure for our explorations: Ever since she started writing, the Austrian Nobelprize winner has taken a critical look at US-American pop culture phenomena and pop myths; she has repeatedly shown her literary engagement with the political conditions, the power structures of the mass media, and the economic crisis in the US. With regard to Jelinek’s aesthetics, one can also note interconnections and influences: for example, Jelinek’s translation of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity Rainbow has had a major impact on her own intertextual writing style, and in her essays, plays, and libretti we can discern her familiarity with the films of David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, et al. as well as with the art of Paul McCarthy or Cindy Sherman. Yet another important dimension is the reception of Jelinek in the USA—as is manifest in translations, performances, and scholarly treatments.

Taking the US-links of Jelinek’s work as a springboard, the conference presentations examined the artistic and intercultural relations between the USA and Austria, which include all forms of art: literature, theater, film, visual arts, and music. The time period to be considered for conference papers spans the 19th to the 21st centuries.

Supplementing the sessions of scholarly presentations, the conference offered a rich artistic/cultural program that highlighted the myriad of connections between Austrian art and the US: on March 14, the actress Petra Morzé presented Elfriede Jelinek’s text Der Tod und das Mädchen IV (Jackie); on March 15, we discussed works by the composer Olga Neuwirth (Lost Highway, American Lulu, Moby Dick etc.), and there was a dialogue between Theodora Bauer and Doron Rabinovici; and on March 16, we viewed Ruth Beckermann’s film American Passages and had the opportunity to discuss it with the filmmaker.

Suggestions for possible approaches and thematic emphases (pertaining to papers in the areas of literature, theater, film, visual arts, music and the process of transmission/mediation):

  • What kinds of artistic exploration of the other country (US/Austria) can we observe? What sort of aesthetic interactions can be noted and how can they be analyzed?
  • What kinds of “translations” or “transpositions” are there? How are cultural, linguistic, and other aspects transformed into one’s own culture and language?
  • What kind of reception have Austrian and US-American artists experienced in the respective countries? What sorts of difficulties have shaped their reception and what opportunities arise from the cultural transfer?
  • What can we say about the cultural, educational, and scientific/scholarly exchange between the two countries –and what significance can be attributed to institutions and programs promoting such exchange?

Organizing Committee:  Pia Janke, Maria-Regina Kecht, Teresa Kovacs

For all general questions, please contact: asa2016@univie.ac.at

Research Platform Elfriede Jelinek:
Texts - Kontexts - Reception
University of Vienna
Universitätsring 1
1010 Vienna

Contact to the Organizing Committee:
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0