March 26, 2015 –
This collaborative experimental session of Writing On It All took place at the conference &Now. In it, WOIA team explores the intersections between personal identity and bureaucratic language within the structure of forms. How do we translate ourselves into the narratives of the institution, the university, the state, and the nation? How do forms shape our individual and collective identities, and are they re/shaped in turn? Interpolated as employees, students, medical patients (insured and uninsured), applicants, immigrants, business travelers and tourists, voters and consumers, adopters and adoptees, account holders, jurors and criminals, how do we become readable for the statistical eye and what are those opaque areas in which our status remains illegible? We play with these highly codified and formulaic discourses which are ubiquitous in everyday life, denaturing their apparently natural existence, undermining the universality of subjection to this genre, and proliferating the languages in which forms can be filled out. Getting angry, lyrical, humorous, or unintelligible – and just plain getting back at all those forms – we are going to question the practice of filling them out by projecting them onto walls, creating a collective space of exposure where we can write back and rewrite, and appropriate and refuse, the structures of literal forms.

Neo-Formal Happening

&Now is a biennial literary festival known for presenting cutting edge writing practices, thinking about writing, and interdisciplinary explorations such as performances and electronic and multimedia projects. In addition to presenting new work, panels and readings foster conversation about past, present, and future literary concerns and movements. The &Now Festival has been hosted by a succession of universities, including the University of Notre Dame (2004), Lake Forest College (2006), Chapman University (2007), the University at Buffalo (2009), UC San Diego (2011), Université de la Sorbonne, Paris (2012), and most recently, the University of Colorado at Boulder (2013).