I’ve been dipping my toes into the disorienting and brilliant program for BABEL 2014 all weekend. The conference promises to be oceanic in scale, beachy in feel, coastal in location, and changeable in form. Just my sort of thing!
My salty eyes being perhaps bigger than my oceanic stomach, I’ve slotted myself to speak five (5!) times during the three-day event. That means either I’ll have more fun than anyone else or I’ll dissolve into a sandy puddle before I fly home. Or both.
The opening event will be the conference’s first Plenary session on Th 10/16 at 9:30 am. In collaboration with my glacier-hiking buddy Lowell Duckert, who’ll be talking about lagoons and lacunae, I’ll discuss “Bodysurfing” as a theoretical, physical, and ecological practice. Here’s the abstract from the conference program:
Treating Jane Bennet’s notion of “strategic anthropomorphism” as an enabling provocation transforms the sport of wave-riding into a physical and intellectual engagement with the substance of the ocean. Dispensing with surfboards entirely, this talk and the immersive practicum that precedes it [see below] examines three key moments in a bodysurfer’s ride: swimming into the wave, the instant of “the catch,” and many possible white-water aftermaths. Treating this three-part cycle as symbolic template and physical experience, the talk imagines the knowledge a wave-rider gains through immersion: swimming creates antithetical movements, the catch temporarily unifies those forces, and disorderly aftermaths cast them up on shore. Bodysurfing becomes, in a repeatable instant, a form of physical and intellectual sympathy with a post-equilibrium environment.
*Steve will take 12-18 persons bodysurfing with him at Hendry’s Beach [Arroyo Burro Beach Park] at 8:00am on the morning before this Plenary I session; wetsuits are optional but more than decent swimming expertise is a must. If you are interested in joining Steve for this venture, contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact me if you want to come out early on Th morning to the beach! Cold Pacific surf is really the ideal way to start BABEL-ing.