As a supplement to the publication of Excursions Vol. 7, Excursions Journal is holding a one-day interdisciplinary symposium on the theme of ‘Failure’.
The concept of failure is gaining traction as a subject of critical attention. Our recent history has been defined by significant and far-reaching failures: from the failure of the U.S. and U.K. governments to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, to the more recent collapse of global financial markets. In the wake of events such as these, the viability of old models of ‘success’ and ‘failure’ has been called into question. Can we resituate failure as not merely an absence, a lack of success, but rather as a category in its own right? Whether figured as a fundamental aspect of modernity, a distinct aesthetic for artistic production, or, as the queer theorist Jack Halberstam has argued, a radical alternative to the restrictive, success-oriented norms of our society, we are faced with the possibility that failure might have a value of its own.