VP Because there is no copy or simulacrum, simply simultaneity. Not of events, which presupposes temporality, or, as George Eliot might say, beginnings, middles, and ends, but of points, which are also spatial. Points of caption, as it were. Postmodernism was very concerned with a managed chaos, disorder put to right ends. Conceptualism is disinterested in ends, except as terminal. The stuff of conceptualism, the textual thing, is the most static of objects, inert, inutile. Dead as a doorknob. Its representations are radical mimesis because they do not represent, just present. Yesterday’s news, the tiny tragedies of today.
AQ Current theoretical work seeking to address postmodernism’s perceived impasses focuses a new or renewed attention to questions of affect, embodiment and materiality. Much of this work tries to understand what is different about our contemporary now by engaging categories that postmodern analytics overlooks or casts aside. How are these discrete but associated discourses at work in conceptual writing?
VP One begins with a definition of conceptualism as writing which does not direct its reception. This shifts the locus of the work to its recipient, necessarily embodied, necessarily affected. What is boredom, after all, if not maximal minimal affect? The question of materiality is closer here to a medieval notion of materialism in which the highest form of materiality is that which is transformed by nothing but the divino spiritu—such as the Eucharist. These categories are no longer so discrete as each becomes not inherent in the stuff, but one of its categorical imperatives.