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Cultivating Arts of Attention Unconference

All Bard Faculty & Staff Welcome!

Please register by March 11, 2019

The unconference is free and open to all Bard faculty and staff, and includes coffee, lunch, and childcare. However, please register in advance to help us prepare for the day. The brief form that follows will include opportunities for you to sign up for lunch; provide information about accommodation and childcare needs; propose a topic, event, or session; and describe your interest in the topic of attention.

Register Here


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Attention is at the crux of all sorts of current interdisciplinary debates, and the subject of much public discourse in our age of social media and mobile tech. This event will place special emphasis on how attention works (and when it doesn't) in the context of the contemporary academy, but will also create space for broader conversations about presence, distraction, and technology now and in previous epochs. This "unconference" is distinct from a traditional conference in that all attendees have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary discussions, take part in skills-building workshops, and enjoy an array of activities all dedicated to the subject of attention.

The keynote will feature Jason Farman (University of Maryland), who will speak on his book Delayed Response: The Art of Waiting from the Ancient to the Instant World (Yale UP, 2018). Bard's own Marina van Zuylen, author of The Plenitude of Distraction (Sequence/MIT Press, 2018) will serve as respondent.

The keynote will be at 1:00PM in RKC 103 and is open to students as well.



Jason Farman

Jason Farman is the Director of the Design Cultures & Creativity Program, an Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies, and a faculty member with the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is author of the book Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media (Routledge, 2012 — winner of the 2012 Book of the Year Award from the Association of Internet Researchers), which focuses on how the worldwide adoption of mobile technologies is causing a reexamination of the core ideas about what it means to live our everyday lives: the practice of embodied space. Farman has been a contributing author for The Atlantic, Atlas Obscura, Real Life, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has also been interviewed on NPR, ABC News, the Associated Press, the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun, the Denver Post, among others. He received his Ph.D. in Performance Studies and Digital Media from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Learn More


Marina van Zuylen

Marina van Zuylen is a Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Bard College. She was educated in France before receiving a B.A. in Russian Literature and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Harvard. She is the author of Difficulty as an Aesthetic Principle, Monomania, and The Plenitude of Distraction (Sequence/MIT Press). She has published articles in praise of some of the most beleaguered maladies of modernity—boredom, fatigue, idleness—and written about snobbery, dissociative disorders, and obsessive compulsive aesthetics. She has contributed to a number of collections about the work of Jacques Rancière and has written for MoMA and other art-related publications. She has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and the university of Paris VII. She is the national academic director of the Clemente Course in the Humanities, a free college course for underserved adults, and accepted on its behalf a National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2014. She is presently writing Good Enough, a book about the unsung virtues of classical and modern mediocrity.

Schedule (draft)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Optional pre-unconference early morning sessions (such as birding, meditation, etc.)

8:30-9am: Coffee and registration

9-9:30am: Welcome and introductions

9:30-10:45am: Opening discussions about attention in the digital age

10:45-11am: Break

11-12pm: Workshops, exhibitions and parallel sessions

12-1pm: Lunch

1-2:15pm: Keynote by Jason Farman, response by Marina van Zuylen. Open to students and the public.

2:15-2:30pm: Break

2:30-4pm: Workshops, exhibitions and parallel sessions

4-4:30pm: Closing

Optional Slow Dinners (more details coming soon)

There will be exhibits and events in RKC throughout the day