Dominic Pettman and I have spent the last year and a half (or so) conducting an experiment born out of a series of related questions: What kinds of knowledge and understandings of the world can be generated – and shared – when we use para-academic techniques and sensibilities to decode or respond to relatively orthodox intellectual objects? And what worlds might be possible if we practiced scholarly work from a place of collaboration and pleasure, as joyful fellow explorers?
In Metagestures, we explore the use of fiction as a tool to write and think with works of theory. Taking Vilém Flusser’s Gestures as its point of inspiration and departure, Metagestures collects 16 pairs of short stories in which we make fictional worlds that animate and enliven each of the major gestures in Flusser’s book, in a gathering of short fictions that test, expand, and further the social scientific claims of the original text with new scenarios and occasions. Here, Flusser’s reflections on physical gesture serve as an inspiration for new ways of conceiving and conducting theory, and for thoughtful creative scholarly imagining, with and alongside one another.
We’re very excited that the book will be coming out with the wonderful awesome inspiring Punctum Books in the next year! Woohoo! Stay tuned!
In the meantime, you can find the first metagestures (on the gesture of photographing) in the awesome new thresholds journal by heading over here. A story from the project also recently appeared in a piece in the PMLA on fictioning and the historian’s craft. We’ve also been giving occasional talks about the project, including this workshop and this conference on Visualizing Theory at CUNY. I’ll post updates and relevant talks here.