Samuel Beckett, Robert Smithson, and Sublime Entropy

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Working through a number of Smithson's installations, gallery displays, writings, and films, the paper lays out a theory of the sublime with regard to force and movement.
Then in looking closely at a series of Beckett's texts, from THE UNNAMABLE to "Happy Days," cross-references begin to appear.
Framing these emerging dynamic tensions in the language of Rosalind Krauss's "informe" and Derrida's "supplement" and "dissemination," the presentation goes on to show how these vectors coalesce in the pseudo-dynamic of the vortex, as abyss (Smithson), circular hiatus (Beckett), and spiral (Spiral Jetty), and Derrida's idea of the Tower of Babel which collapses into the planar: the spiral (jetty).
The effort is not to make pat connections but to show how such disparate texts and approaches to art and text are actually orchestrated in a remarkable way.


Keywords: Samuel Beckett, Abysses, Voids, Pauses, Robert Smithson, Juxtapositions, Informe, Ruin, Jacques Derrida, Dissemination, Supplement, Sublime, Rosalind Krauss
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Stephen Barker

Professor and Head of Doctoral Studies, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, University of California at Irvine
Irvine, California, USA

My longtime interest at UCI, having arrived the same year as Jacques Derrida, began as purely theoretical and philosophical. My previous work in Europe and South America as a professional actor, dancer, and writer eventually helped me merge these interests into a protracted exploration of performance in its widest sense. I have continued along this path as chair of Studio Art, chair of Drama, Associate and Acting Dean of the School of the Arts, while remaining on the central committee of Critical Theory at UCI. I am founding Advisory Board member of DERRIDA TODAY, the first journal devoted to the post-Derridean world, but my work has focused as much on art as on literature. I am an avid painter, runner, and bicyclist, and a great devoté of Baroque music. In the largest sense, I am dedicated to exploring trans-national, trans-genre, and trans-medium concepts and energies.

Ref: A09P0657