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School of English, HKU
Writing as spectacle
Abstract

This talk is a preliminary, work-in-progress inquiry into the idea of writing as ‘spectacle’. I will discuss several examples of large scale, extravagant, immersive writing in art and public signage exemplifying three approaches to spectacle: ‘consumerist representation’ (Guy Debord), ‘visual pleasure’ (Laura Mulvey) and ‘grotesque ritual’ (Mikhail Bakhtin). Some of the artists to be discussed in the talk include Fiona Banner (1966–), Alighiero Boetti (1940–1994), Ahmet Güne┼čtekinin (1966–), Robert Indiana (1928–), Roman Opa┼éka (1931–2011), Cy Twombly (1928–2011) and Xu Bing (1955–). In conclusion, I will reflect on how the scale, repetition and materiality of spectacularization position writing somewhere between ‘an enigmatic projection of our own bodies’ (Barthes) and broader questions of signification and meaning-making.