Beginning and Beginning and Beginning: Spring 2019

IMG_3588.jpg

I love the winter—for me, it’s time for reading, writing, and dreaming—but I’m keeping an eye on the new year lately, too. All kinds of beginnings are important. My friend and collaborator Carla Nappi recently published an inspiring annotated essay on beginnings over at our Invisible College, from which I’ll just quote a little bit here:

We don’t go into [academic] performative contexts expecting or being able to assume generosity. And so we’re afraid. And so we keep reproducing the same forms that everyone complains about. Because the reality is: there are consequences. Academia is not yet the generous space that many of us want it to be. …. It is that fear, that shame, that I’m talking about here. And that’s what I want to leave behind by beginning and beginning and beginning. 

In beginning 2019, I’ll be going into various talks and readings, refusing to reproduce those “forms that everyone complains about.”

My Spring 2019 talk schedule contains three academic talks and a literary festival. I don’t know yet exactly what these performative appearances will look like, but I can promise that none of them is going to look like a middle-aged woman meekly repeating her latest journal article or book chapter, adopting the armour of “expertise” because she is ashamed to get up on that stage/podium/performance space and begin doing something that is vulnerable and different.

To be clear, it’s not that I won’t feel the shame. I will.

My talks will likely focus around the Symposium Reimagined project, which talks back to Plato and the academy about love, sex, gender, power, knowledge, and other things. The first published sections from Symposium Reimagined include my “Before Aristophanes,” which is in some ways a poem about trying to begin back before (what I’ve always been presented with as) the beginning, but is also about having an existential panic attack. Beginning and beginning and beginning is terrifying, but the beginning is where the wild possibilities are.

I understand the appeal of being regarded as an “expert,” and I know well that it’s a requirement for being taken seriously, both inside and outside the academy. But at my core I decline to be an expert. I aim to be a beginner.

The Invisible College and Reimagining Symposium

  Trying out some new looks

Trying out some new looks

Plato's Symposium is the original problematic fave.

It's a great work of philosophy. It's also the source of the idea that we are all broken and miserable unless we find and attach ourselves to our "other half." Plus there are literally no women allowed in the room while the discussion takes place.

Historical pataphysicist Carla Nappi and I co-taught Plato's Symposium for a couple of years, and discovered we had a lot of feelings about it that we needed to deal with. So we undertook a creative project: to rewrite--or more accurately reimagine--the Symposium, reworking the text as it was handed down to us, looking to explore its silences and the ways we find ourselves troubled by its influence.

The first publications from the project are now available!

In this month's Philosophers Magazine you can read Prof. Nappi's rewrite of The Speech of Phaedrus, my poem Before Aristophanes, and a short conversation between the two of us where we talk about where the project is coming from.

If you don't have a copy of the Philosophers Magazine you can find the pdf of our section (shared with permission) over at The Invisible College, where we'll also be sharing future developments.

We'd love to hear reactions or questions about the project. If you are curious about it or have thoughts to share, feel free to contact us here.

Ends And Beginnings

The project podcast, Labels of Love, rounds out its first season this week with Episode 10: Curation.

And as that one enterprise ends, a new creative project gets underway with Project Collaborator Carla Nappi, Canada Research Chair in Historical Pataphysics at UBC. (What does "Historical Pataphysics" mean? Find out here.) Prof. Nappi and I are working on a re-imagining of Plato's Symposium. Watch this space for more in the new year.

Podcast and December Events

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from the Metaphysics of Love Project!

Photo by Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa

The project podcast, Labels Of Love, is now half way through its first season run of ten episodes. The five episodes currently available look at Love-Crafting, Love Stories, Weddings, Consent, and Love Poetry. We're taking a brief hiatus this week and will be back with five more episodes from October 17th (starting with Money).

Looking ahead, we have a very special workshop coming up on December 4th. In addition to a day of talks and readings, there will be a screening of Angela Fama's work What Is Love at the Fox Cabaret starting at 7pm, plus a live Q&A with the artist!

Both the talks and the evening event are open to the public. Entry is free but spaces are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a place at either or both, email: themetaphysicsoflove@gmail.com.