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Royal College of Art

1 Hester Road

Dyson Building, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

London

SW11 4AN

United Kingdom

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'Autofiction is like a dream; a dream is not life, a book is not life,' wrote Serge Doubrovsky in his 1977 novel, Fils, which is often cited as the origin of the term 'autofiction'. Recent years have seen Doubrovksy invoked time and again to address a new writerly preoccupation with a seemingly old genre. Some trace autofiction back to Joyce or Proust, to the Confessions of Rousseau, and Augustine before him, or even further, to Hesiod’s Works and Days. 'How ‘Auto’ is ‘Autofiction?' asks a recent article; and 'Drawn from life: why have novelists stopped making things up?'

But what is at stake in these contemporary conversations, and what are the conditions that have produced them? What is the balance between the 'auto' (autobiography, memoir, and 'the self' in general) and the 'fiction'? Is the distinction between fact and fiction, the truth and the fabricated? Or is there, increasingly, a desire to redistribute the relation between the self and fiction: the question of how to live or how to create as reflexively embedded with the process of making itself? Autofiction as a term — a practice, a concern, a process — remains mobile and in flux, perhaps telling us more about what we want from a work of art than its sometimes plainly stated aims and origins. So just what is it that makes today’s autofiction so different, so appealing?

This two-day conference, featuring keynote speaker Anne Boyer, aims to generate a critical and creative discourse around ideas, practices, theories, contradictions, arguments, refutations, histories — and more! — of the AUTO— as it relates to creative works. We hope to wrangle with and refine its usage, which can sometimes seem catch-all; and we will also consider the ways in which these conversations relate and spill into other genres and disciplines.

** Free for current RCA students and staff, please book using your RCA email address. One ticket per person!

SCHEDULE

23 MAY

10.00: Registration

10.30-10.45: Welcome, Introduction

10.45-12.15: Looking forward, looking back

Tom Overton: ‘an orphan form’: John Berger and Autobiography

Hannah van Hove: ‘A lot of gestures to unlearn’: Christine Brooke-Rose, Life, End Of and the writing of (auto)fiction

Kaye Mitchell: Empathy, Intersubjectivity and the Feminist Politics of the AUTO—

Martin Schauss: Autofiction By Any Other Means: Experiments in Citation and Form

Brian Dillon: chair

12.15-12.30: Coffee + tea break

12.30-1.00: Performance

Roy Claire Potter: Is This What I’m Supposed to Be Doing?

1.00-2.00: Lunch

2.00-3.30: Cross-, Anti-, Inter-discipline

Philomena Epps: Life or Theatre? Visual Autofiction and Feminism

Catherine Damman: The Work of Art in the Age of Half-Hearted Reproducibility

Lauren Fournier: Performing Philosophy for the Camera: Autotheory and Artists’ Video in Turtle Island, 1969-2019

Emily LaBarge: chair

3.30-3.45: Coffee + tea break

3.45-5.15: Writing, reading, performing AUTO—

Adjoa Armah: I know you’re you, but can’t you just try to be me sometimes?

Joanne Tatham: The Bitter Cup

Joanna Walsh: A Woman Sitting In Front of a Screen: User Manifesto

Sally O'Reilly: chair

5.15-6.00: Break

6.00-7.15: Screening

Moyra Davey, Les Goddesses (61 minutes)

With an introduction by Hannah Paveck


24 MAY

10: Introduction

10.15-11.45: Between AUTO— and a hard place

Claire-Louise Bennett

Heike Geissler

Brian Dillon

Kishani Widyaratna, chair

11.45-12: Coffee + tea break

12-1: Screening

David Blandy and Larry Achiampong, Finding Fanon trilogy (45 min)

With an introduction by Annie Kwan

1-2: Lunch

2-3.30: Subject to AUTO—

Rosanna Mclaughlin

Mira Mattar

Maija Timonen

Juliet Jacques, chair

3.30-3.45: Coffee + tea break

3.45-5: Keynote

Anne Boyer

5-6.30: Drinks reception

Date and Time

Location

Royal College of Art

1 Hester Road

Dyson Building, Gorvy Lecture Theatre

London

SW11 4AN

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event

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