A multidisciplinary conference on medievalism in the post-Middle Ages. MAMO 3 will take place at the University of Manchester between 28 June and 1 July, 2017.
SATURDAY 1 JULY
MAIN LECTURE THEATRE, SAMUEL ALEXANDER BUILDING, THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER, Lime Grove, Manchester M13 9PP 🐝
10:00-11.30am Panel session 10
A. Neomedieval Fictioning before and after Contemporary Art
(Org. The Confraternity of Neoflagellants; mod. Neil Mulholland)
Plastique Fantastique, ‘Mumming in the Post-Truth Era’
The Confraternity of Neoflagellants, ‘Trial by Future Dead’
David Steans, ‘Saint Good Works’
This panel consists of commissioned art works that take the form of three little neomedieval theory-fictions (c.20mins each).
In its attempt to disrupt postmedieval anthropocentrism, art is currently gripped by intense speculation on all things nonmodern. This often takes the form of nonmodern world-building, the practice of constructing theory-fictions. Fictioning as a world-building technology combines with mythopoesis: how previous modes of existence might be utilised against the impasses of the present. By using the term ‘fiction’ as a verb we refer to the writing, imaging, performance or other material embodiment of alternate worlds.
Broadly speaking, while the pre-modern bestiary has long formed the sine qua non of small scale curating, the pre-modern university – a hybrid, transtemporal fictioning of social relationships, tools and things – is fictioned as the true modus operandi of today’s artists. The medieval Wandergesellen is fictioned as a permanent supranational state, one in which artisans, scholars, cultural pilgrims, artefacts and many other things drift endlessly betwixt compagon and biennale.
In these brief examples, cultural production is periodically fictioned after contemporary art. The timeframe of artistic practice has shifted from the finite ‘just-now’, bound by human finitude, to a ‘long-now’ that outlives and eludes us, in which the people of the middle ages are our exact contemporaries. Fictioning today, thus, is both before and after contemporary art.
Trial by Future Dead
The Confraternity of Neoflagellants
Following their book-length neomedieval theory fiction thN Lng folk 2go (a preview of which was presented at MAMO 2013) the Confraternity have continued their project of non-modern ‘world building’ through a series of speculative hagiographies, avatar bestiaries, mall-rat pilgrim confessions, technocratic relic translations, liturgical corporate strategizing and scholastic summae of conflict management.
In attunement with neo-animist configurations of the non-human turn, this fictioning will precis two parts of the trial of a rooster-redeemed $50 Amazon Gift Voucher. The cock-a-rooster will undergo Trial by Compurgation and Trial by Ordeal:
“Great Moderator: Nevertheless, The Great Moderator asks this of its Defence Council: If we were to forcefully decouple said Voucher organ from said Polyresinal Rooster organ, do you propose that the Cock is culpable but the Coupon not? How is The Swarm to discern and apportion the faulty or culpable portions of this thing without recourse to the butcher’s arts of cutting out the back bits to imprison in a humble pie?”
Similar to a medieval body-part relic, the Polyresinal Rooster organ-redeemedvoucher is part corporeal, part transaction and part commodity. As a person-object, subject to continuous translation, the Amazon $50 Redeemed Gift Rooster, inhabits and embodies a cosmology in which aesthetics is not limited to the sensual relations between human self and world, but, instead, describes a synaesthetic hyper-economy through which all ‘selves’ inscribed or enfleshed, animal, vegetable or mineral, represent, translate and co-construct common-oddities that probe the otherwise separate realities they inhabit. Will the Amazon $50 Redeemed Gift Rooster be proven innocent or guilty? Let the swarm decree….
The presentation will be performed in the Confraternity’s own ludic sub lingua franca comprising post-literate netspeak, emojinal gylphs, product spin, inter-species pidgin, object noise-chatter, and middle American mall talk. Dialogue includes Electronic Voice Phenomena recordings of the medieval dead.
Green Screen Mumming in the Modern Age
Members of the group producing the performance fiction Plastique Fantastique will present a new collaboration with the artist group Orphan Drift. This collaboration involves and a common interest in mumming and animism. Plastique Fantastique have used mumming – the tradition of presenting masked plays – as mode for delivering communiqués from the extreme past and future in a number of performance works, most recently in the flag-ship Apple shop in London. The talk will present the group’s films and discuss their interest in animism and human and non-human agents explored in relation to mass-media. They will also talk about the concept of myth-science and performance in relation to what has been referred to as the post-truth or past-fact era.
Saint Good Works
Saint Good Works is a short fable that manifests in the form of a talking pebble: “When SGW reached the age of one hundred, he conclude d that his life was coming to an end, and that he was no longer able to usefully serve God on this earth. After attending to what little worldly affairs he had, he walked into the mountains, with neither provisions nor intent of return. After a day of walking he sought rest within a cave. Grown thin and weary, he sat down in the cave and contemplated his death. In the cave he held a stone, shiny and grey underneath its coat of moss. He contemplated the stone….” The pebble will narrate its magnificent story.
Presenters’ Biographies and Contact Details:
1. The Confraternity of Neoflagellants (Hogg and Mulholland) are lay peoples dedicated to the ludic, ascetic, aesthetic and athletic treatment and application of neomedievalism in the hypereconomus of contemporary non-modern cultures. They are an equal opportunities confraternity bound by chirograph.
2. Plastique Fantastique (Burrows and O’Sullivan) is a mythopoetic fiction – an investigation of aesthetics, the sacred, popular culture and politics – produced through comics, performances, text, installations and shrines and assemblages.
3. Saint Good Works is a talking pebble made by David Steans an artist and curator based in Leeds. Steans co-founded the Medieval Helpdesk at the 2015 Leeds International Medieval Congress www.medievalhelpdesk.co.uk. He teaches fine art at Leeds College of Art and is a practice-based PhD student at The University of Leeds.