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Multimodal Litmods

November 24, 2017

Several Literatures of Modernity M.A. students participated in the double feature “Florine Stettheimer’s Multimodal Modernism,” which consisted of a Symposium at the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre, Ryerson (November 16) and “A Soirée Of Performance” at The Art Gallery of Ontario (November 23). The events showcased the culminating projects for the interdisciplinary course CC8992: Florine Stettheimer’s New York Salon. Taught by Department of English Professor Irene Gammel, the course engaged the students with the exhibition Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry on view at the AGO.

During the Symposium, scholarly papers were delivered by LitMod students Zach McCann-Armitage (“Affectionately: Duchamp’s Letters to the Stettheimer Sisters”); Adriana Monachino (“The Domestic Feminism of Carrie’s Dollhouse”); and Emily Fleming (“The Rat and the Zoo: Stettheimer’s Dadaist Impulses in Poetry”). The following week, the LitMods (alongside fellow Ryerson and York students from Communication and Culture, Fashion, and Environmental Studies) immersed themselves in the public exhibition space at the AGO, participating in presentations and performances in front of Stettheimer’s paintings. Hadia Kahn premiered her video “Mobilizing Stettheimer’s Poems into Pictures” while Soraya Gallant served as a docent on her personalized tour “Reading Bodies, Reading Styles in Stettheimer’s Paintings.” Additionally, Hayley Horvath scripted and performed (with Bernadette Horvath) the dialogue “Duchamp Visits – Based on Ettie Stettheimer’s Love Days,” and Emily Fleming recited a series of her own poems, “Ekphrastic Poems (Inspired by Florine Stettheimer).”

“Multimodal Modernism” illuminated the work of Stettheimer, to be sure, but it also highlighted the intellectual and artistic talents of our students and the rewards of collaboration. As Hayley reflects, “Everyone in the class was kind and their enthusiasm made me feel part of a larger organism and push myself beyond what would have been merely comfortable. I was so impressed and intrigued by everyone's different facets which I doubt I would have learned of otherwise.” Emily (pictured above, photo by Adriana) concurs: “The event itself was both nerve-wracking and exciting. The nerves came mostly from my admiration of Stettheimer; I wanted to live up to her work, and try to write poetry that paid homage rather than parodying. The bulk of the excitement came from my classmates, who are such a creative, insightful bunch. I couldn’t wait to see what they came up with. The mix of specialties made for a really varied event, and the students who worked on the curation of the event put in so much work to make sure that the items worked well and logically in sequence.” The success of the evening is summed up by Emily: “What a rush.”