The full programme for the conference, The Semiotics of Shipwreck, at which I will be presenting a paper, is now online here. I am hoping that my paper will loop back through some of the ideas relating to failure that have been explored in other work.
Detail from The Wreck of the East Indiaman 'Dutton' at Plymouth Sound, 1821,
by Thomas Luny (oil on canvas) NMM Collection
"Shipwreck is the evidence of a failed performance; the remainder of an endeavour somehow prevented from reaching its goal (curiously describing both the event itself and its subsequent residue). It signals trajectory of action suspended part way through, a break or rupture in the timeline of a journey, progress stalled. Shipwreck is the site of an unfulfilled task, an unresolved quest, a mission left unfinished, incomplete or abandoned mid flow. In this paper, I want to address the motif of the shipwreck as a specific manifestation of failure – in turn, attempting to recuperate a critical, even affirmative, value therein; asserting that it is through its failing or irresolution, that the shipwreck remains a particularly potent motif for artists."