Ricarda Vidal - Visual Culture

Dan Perjovschi, Less is More

Shortness – a very short conference and a very long dinner

Tate Modern, Saturday 20 June 2009, 14.00 – 21.30

This rather performative conference was organised by me in collaboration with the brilliant Irini Marinaki & Konstantinos Stefanis and Tate Public Programmes. It was sponsored by the London Consortium, Tate and LCACE.


In short, this event brought together practitioners and theoreticians of the humanities, arts and sciences to extol or berate, to discuss, explore and explain shortness in all its spatial and temporal manifestations.



Rather than a conventional academic conference, Shortness was an art event in its own right, aiming to create a multidisciplinary and multisensory experience.  Shortness tackled topics ranging from aphorisms, txt msgs and short attention spans to nanophilology, sampling, ephemeral relationships, punch lines, short narratives and other short-lived entities and phenomena (insects and fashion).


The short conference took place at Tate Modern’s Starr Auditorium and lasted from 14.00 to 17.00. It was followed by a long performative dinner in Tate Modern’s East Room, where guests were served food for the palate as well as for eyes, ears and minds in the form of artists’ interventions and performances, film screenings and presentations. Our wonderful compère Nicholas Parsons saw to it that no one overran the minute(s) they had been allocated.



Conference speakers:

Paul D. Miller aka Dj Spooky (composer, multimedia artist and writer) on sampling

Lia and Dan Perjovschi (artists) on ephemerality, punch lines and archiving

Sadie Plant (author and philosopher) on texts, tweets, and other short messages

Tom Shakespeare (bioethicist and sociologist) on aphorisms

Conference discussion was chaired by Steven Connor (Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Birkbeck College and Academic Director of the London Consortium)


Dinner speeches and interventions by:

Jonathan Allen (visual artist and writer)

Colleen Becker (flash fiction writer)

Matthew Steven Carlos (Zen monk and professor of philosophy),

Steven Connor (Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Birkbeck College, and Academic Director of the London Consortium) 

Natasha Degen (PhD candidate and a Gates Scholar at Cambridge)

Mikhail Karikis, (sound artist)

Alice McCabe (artist)

Jon Meyer (consultant, artist and Computer scientist)

Anna Marie Roos (Historian of early modern science and medicine and research associate at the Wellcome Unit, University of Oxford)

Sarah Sparkes (artist and curator)

Clare Wigfall (short story writer)

James Wilkes (poet and PhD candidate at the London Consortium)

Julia Wilson (lecturer in performance at the University of Salford and a freelance performer/devisor) and Niki Woods (artist and lecturer in performance at the University of Salford)


See full programme Listen to an audiorecording of the event