Category Archives: Confraternity of Neoflagellants

🐲@Neoflagellants : The Middle Ages in the Modern World 🐉

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’

Panel Synopsis:

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.

Presentations:

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

Plastique Fantastique & Orphan Drift

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

David Steans

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.

confraternityofneoflagellants.org.uk

@neoflagellants

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.

www.plastiquefantastique.org

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.

www.grinkinginthedraveyard.co.uk

@Dovad_Steans

Confraternity of Neoflagellants | 48th Annual Conference of the International Visual Literacy Association

ivla-logo-colour-500pxhttp://ivla.org/conference2016/about/

More specifically, in attunement with neo-animist configurations of the ‘non-human turn’, this paper evokes a cosmology in which aesthetics is not limited to the sensual relations between human self and world but instead describes a synesthetic hyper-economy through which all selves inscribed or enfleshed, animal, vegetable or mineral, represent, translate and interact across the otherwise separate realities they inhabit. As anthropologist Eduardo Kohn argues, a subject, self or mind does not produce signs but is in fact an emergent product of semiosis, of the way it represents the world and is represented by others in the world. In other words a self is a “loci of enchantment”—the non-anthropological outcome of aesthetic processes. Thinking aesthetics in this way intervenes provocatively with the notion of ‘visual literacy’ since it requires a non-symbolic conception of representation as a “open whole” that cannot be confined within human linguistic frameworks.

The Confraternity pursues their speculative cosmology through their ongoing fascination with the enchanted iconicity of medieval sacramental practices such as body part relic-ing. The ritual elevation, translation and sometimes humiliation of ‘person-objects’ epitomizes the dynamic interrelations between corpus and textus, likeness and presence and confounds the hierarchical segregation of ‘representing subject’ from ‘represented thing’.

The A/V presentation takes the form of an alt-future parable, following the synesthetic adventures of an independent broker of sensual exchange. Part corporeal, part corporate and part commodity, Muller Ltd. is a journeying apprentice, or ‘Junior Solution Aligner’, who is pursuing the ultimate ambassadorial title of ‘Universal Travel Adaptor’ by immersing itself in increasingly ‘alien’ centers of experience. As the parable unfolds Muller Ltd’s ‘powers of feeling’ increase dramatically, but only at the terrifying cost of dissolving its own corporeal branding (its iconic ‘equity’) into the synesthetic matrix. The parable thus takes a speculative look at the precarious integrity of visual literacy as it expands its territory into the non-cognitive or ‘illiterate’ realm of the non-human sensorium.

Confraternity of Neoflagellants at Listaháskóli Íslands

10:00 Friday 30th September 2016 | Confraternity of Neoflagellants | Listaháskóli Íslands  11, Þverholt, Reykjavík, 105, Iceland

Neil Mulholland og Norman Hogg from Myndlistardeild LHI on Vimeo.

Neomedievalisms are cultural practices that breathe a bouquet of premoderns as permanent rehearsals of coming events. To the medievalist, medievalisms provide powerful indexes that reveal how post-medieval societies have variously imagined ‘little middle ages’ to suit current agendas. To the neomedievalist, however, medievalisms are theory-fictions that facilitate ludic speculation on non-modern futurities. Given its nonmodern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the stasis of the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century. This lecture will present some of the ways in which The Confraternity have developed neomedieval materialisms with their own nonmodern lexicon, dense hypereconomic practices that combine production, transfer, consumption, humilitas and virtus.

The Confraternity will transfigure four scripts-into-flesh: When Transfiguration Became Commonplace, Thekarites, Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) and Let us know about anything wrong, or anything you don’t like about this review, and you could win a $50 Amazon voucher!

The Confraternity will also elaborate some of their curatorial projects (‘Thekaries’ / ‘Bokes’) and ways in which the quasi-neomedieval practices of their peers adopt ‘backward-thinking’ to develop possible premodern futures through a visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialism.

confraternityofneoflagellants.org.uk

Confraternity of Neoflagellants: Envisioning Future Premodern Materialisms

Day 3 – 23. September, 2016
18.15-18.45
Confraternity of Neoflagellants: Envisioning Future Premodern Materialisms

Performing Situated Knowledges: Space, Time, Vulnerability: 7th Annual Conference on the New Materialisms, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw.

Organized by: New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’, European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST), Action IS 1307

This conference is one of a series of new materialism conferences that together aim to explore, through both theoretical and practical multiple transversal methodologies and approaches, the notion that vibrant, agential “matter” matters and further, to investigate the ontological, political, ethical, esthetical, and sociological implications this may carry. This year, whilst acknowledging the fast approaching thirtieth anniversary of the publication of Donna Haraway’s groundbreaking essay on “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” (1988), we invite participants to explore, perform anew, and enliven the concept of “situated knowledges”.

http://newmaterialism2016.wixsite.com

Confraternity of Neoflagellants | Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.)

“If art can be said to reflect the conditions of the world in which it is made, art that engages with the vanguard technology of an era can perhaps be said to have a particular purchase on contemporaneous visions of the arc of the future.” Chris Wiley, Beginnings + Ends (post-net art), frieze, Issue 159, Nov-Dec 2013.

We will perform Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) a  multimedia audio-visual work. As neomedievalist artists based in Scotland and Québec, our collaborative work is often fabricated mid-Atlantic in a cloud-workshop using freeware. Where much post-net art tends to rework the forward-thinking modern/postmodern collectives of the 1960s and ‘70s, neomedieval artistic practice adopts ‘backward-thinking’, to identify and develop possible ‘premodern futures’ through a visceral, indulgent, lavish, liturgical and ludic materialism. Given its non-modern condition, contemporary artistic practice has as much in common with the guilds of the middle ages as it does with the avant-garde of the 20th century.

Set in a contemporary passion park, Mobilitas Loci (Muller Ltd.) entangles a number of medieval sources (from the Bestiary of Philippe de Thaon to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs) with the work of living and fictitious artists, knowledge-architects, Ponzi schemers, and philosophers (e.g. Alexandr Petrovsky, Amanda Beech, Ray Brassier, Adam Toffler, www.bobsacamano.dr). The A/V work takes the form of a bestiary entry on the dog-head Muller Ltd., a quasi-human protagonist in our theory-fiction thN Lng Folk 2 Go: Investigating Future Premoderns™ (Punctum, 2013). It is performed in a mixture of middle and modern Scots and middle American mall talk and includes cover versions of electronic voice phenomena recordings of the medieval dead and moving images of Muller Ltd.

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Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Enchantment

Thursday, 26th November 2015

Andrew Grant Lecture Theatre, Evolution House, West Port, Edinburgh College of Art

Organised by the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

Earlier this year the discovery of homo naledi propelled enchantment into a framework of deep time. The speculation is that early human ancestors, perhaps from as much as 4 million years ago, may have ritually buried their dead in the dark Rising Star caves. The questions of when, where and for whom the world first appeared as enchanted have abruptly shifted from the 200,000 or so years of homo sapiens into a much longer past. Elsewhere, the deep future of enchantment can be gleaned from discussions around the future of nuclear waste. Will future descendants still be enchanted by this ‘new immortal’? If so how do present humans protect them from their own curiosity when conventions of communication are so closely embedded within shallow time? Looking closely at the implications of these questions reveal cracks in the shell of human exceptionalism. After all the questions around nuclear waste are often accompanied by the caveat that these descendants we seek to protect may no longer be human.  Yet enchantment is a concept tied to the core of the humanities. Stories of the loss of disenchantment remain central to definitions of modernity and the rise of secularism, and enchantment’s return, via claims of the rise of religious fundamentalism, is central to contemporary geopolitics. Within environmental literatures enchantment has been seen as a way of mobilising ethical responses on an increasingly damaged planet (e.g. Abram; Bennet) and critiqued for contributing to the forgetting of countless ‘unloved others’ (Rose & van Dooren).

Our series focus on ‘unexpected encounters with deep time’ emphasises the way that deep time is encountered in materiality of the everyday. Likewise Jane Bennet has stressed that enchantment arises, unanticipated, in the moment, in the “active engagement with objects of sensuous experience” (5).

The aim of this workshop is to explore what enchantment might become within a framework of deep time. We hope to explore questions such as:

  • How might deep time and enchantment reframe or challenge each other?
  • How are their ties to the everyday world to be understood?
  • How might deep time trouble the humanist frame within which enchantment has primarily been situated?
  • How might it disturb current understandings of the promises and perils of enchantment for environmental thought and action?
  • What are the political and ethical implications, positive or negative, of ‘enchanting’ deep time?
  • How might deep time queer the temporalities of enchantment (cf Burlein & Orr)?

Organisers: Michelle Bastian (michelle.bastian@ed.ac.uk) and David Farrier (David.Farrier@ed.ac.uk)

Confraternity of Neoflagellants | BABEL Un/Session 6: Mash Notes | Toronto

4th BIENNIAL MEETING OF THE BABEL WORKING GROUP 

Centre for Medieval Studies, Lillian Massey Building, 125 Queen’s Park, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

DAY 3: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11

Un/Session 6. Mash Notes

Co-Organizers: Helen Burgess (North Carolina State University) + Craig J. Saper (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Flâneur: David Gersten

*This un/session will run all day Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, The University of Toronto, Canada.

We have long participated in signed or anonymous declarations of love and desire. Adderall 30mg even in our neoliberal institutions, peculiarly bloodless forms remain: the corporate pitch meeting, the grant proposal warped by our understanding of what the other (funding agencies) “wants.” Screw that. As Roland Barthes declares, “What love lays bare in me is energy.” This will be an online/offline un-session conducted all day Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Great Hall, Centre for Medieval Studies, featuring participants entering into the lover’s discourse, with documents both electrical and tactile. Updates and online components of this session will be found HERE.

  • Helen J Burgess (North Carolina State University), “MashBOT” (A twitterbot. With printer.)

What would a bot do if it could write a mash note? Let’s ask it. This project will craft some handmade lovebots on Twitter, and pair them with a small thermal printer.

  • Craig Saper (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), “TENT–a–tive Vision(s) for an Electric [Kool-Aid Acid] Press” (A manifesto.)

There is already a consensus in academia of the main values founding our Electric Press project in collaboration with punctum books. The scholarly (or creative) value is not determined by mode: printed on paper no longer the privileged mode of delivery. Major scholarly organizations and associations have constructed guidelines for peer-review and legitimacy of electronic and multimodal publications. Multimodal projects can also make available new tools, perspectives, and types of knowledge. Multimodal book-equivalents are still part of the history of the book and printing. Once we agree on these foundational values, then the next question is what specifically do we intend to publish. This paper will spend the majority of its time establishing the aspects of Electric Press’ focus. In general, that tentative focus of Electric Press has two general criteria. The works published will: engage in experimental research methods; explore the shift from print-literacy to electronic/Electracy rather than remediating the advantages of the printed-on-paper book in a pdf or other form that mimics and expands the book. The ethos of the Electric Press can be summarized by the revised slogan from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (“Drop Out & Turn On”): “Drop In & Boot Up” . . . and to do so, you’ll need a TENT-a-tive vision.

  • Haylie Swenson (George Washington University), “Philia” (A radio podcast.)

I propose, as a labor of love, presenting my “paper” in podcast form. My dissertation considers the intimacies that arise at the intersection of human and animal death across pre-modern and contemporary literature. My podcast will tell the story behind the story, as it were; it will describe the emotional and tactile encounters I have had with animal vulnerability that underlie this project (an invasive insect I saved from being squished on the Metro; a fox that surprised me in a moment of contemplating my father’s illness; a baby mouse that died in my hand). Using the intimate medium of radio, I will tell these stories as a way of considering the fine line that divides the personal and the scholarly. A love letter to both radio storytelling and scholarship, my podcast will explore one possible, underutilized outlet for telling the stories — the sorrows and passions, the serendipitous encounters — that fuel our academic work.

  • Leslie King (Radford University), “Erased – Memories of a Forgotten Daughter” (A handmade book and digital counterpart.)

The memories come and go. Sometimes they manifest in a distorted form. To deal with her mother’s memory loss and how their relationship is changing because of this, Leslie King combines the creation of a handmade book and a digital publication that deconstructs it. The three-dimensional book represents tangible memory. The book is formatted as an origami blizzard book, which holds in its pockets King’s miniature drypoint etchings, words, and event proof in the form of photographs, receipts, and other odds and ends. In the book’s two-dimensional digital representation, the subject becomes distorted through its flattened nature and eventual pixilation loss, like memory, as time goes by.

  • Norman Hogg and Neil Mulholland, Confraternity of Neoflagellants (Concordia University + University of Edinburgh), “Thekarites (2014)” (A slideshow.)

Thekarites is a theory-fictional account of the life and death of the artist Paul Thek and his ‘Technological Reliquaries’. In this re-telling, Thek continues to confound the contemporary art scene after his death. Though his processual rituals Thek enacts a dismantling, relic-ing and radical redistribution of the self that floods the sensual hyper-economy with tiny Thekarites — clusters of affective agency or desire. Thek’s radical little ‘me-machines’ then lead a revolution from within the ‘internet of things’ pathing the way for the West’s ecstatic embrace of an animist future.