Time's Excesses and Eccentricities in Music, Literature and Art
International Conference, Caen, France, 27-28 May 2011

Time's Excesses BLOG 

This international conference is intended to explore how time may be represented aesthetically in excessive, eccentric and unthinkable ways. Art appears to have found a means of getting around time's dilemmas by depicting it as irrational or portraying the impossibility of getting a firm grasp of it. In art, time has long been shaped as something out of proportion, excessive, or even violent, which is evidenced by works such as Saturn Devouring his Son

On the one hand, papers may address any aspect of excesses in representing time. Possible contributions could be connected to works that magnify time phenomena and exploit the extremities of time experience. Submissions could focus either on the aesthetics of enlargement, predicated on speed, frequency, and length, or, conversely, on the aesthetics of miniaturization or atomisation of time. Time's excesses also lead us to raise questions about violence, as in artistic representations of shock, collisions, slashes, gaps, or breaks.

On the other hand, as far as eccentricity is concerned, it would be interesting to examine forms related to non traditional ways of depicting time, covering areas of anachronism, discontinuity, verticality, stasis, or any other form of time singularity taken to extremes. One could also consider works presenting us with the exuberance, extravagance and eeriness of time, be it through peculiar formal aspects or ways of conditioning uncanniness.

Finally, time's excesses and peculiarities evoke the unthinkable in works of art that present us with an illogical, absurd or incoherent portrayal of time. Possible studies could incorporate analyses of inconceivable itineraries or durations, overblown time contradictions, or simply incorrect and irrational temporalities.

Is time to be apprehended only through excessive, extravagant and irrational representations? Does art illustrate that time can be perceived exclusively when it borders on madness?

Possible topics in music may include studies related to oversized duration (Wagner, Mahler), miniaturization (Webern, Schoenberg), fragmentation (Stockhausen, Cage) or extensive repetition (Reich, Glass). In literature, proposals may consider time aspects exhibiting excess in traditional genres (diaries, novel sequences), time tensions and imbalances, for instance, between story time and text time, or problematic time-space relationships (Borges, Danielewski). Submissions may also focus on aesthetic perception (painting, architecture, installation art), temporalities related to new technologies (digital literature, interactivity or hypermedia), or any study dealing with time extravagance in cinema or photography.

This interdisciplinary conference will give special consideration to papers grounded in language, literature and cultural studies, musicology, philosophy, aesthetics, arts, history of ideas.

Abstracts between 250-300 words for papers of 20 minutes to be given in English or French are invited by 15 January 2011. Please submit your abstract both to Marcin STAWIARSKI ( and Gilles COUDERC (

Conference papers will be considered for publication in LISA e-Journal and KronoScope: Journal for the Study of Time (Brill).

Language: English or French
Dates: 27-28 May 2011
Abstract deadline: 15 January 2011
Contact details: Gilles COUDERC ( & Marcin STAWIARSKI (