Call for papers
« Entrusting / Confier »
n° 40 (fall 2022)
Intermediality. History and Theory of the Arts, Literature, and Technologies
Intermédialités. Histoire et théorie des arts, des lettres et des techniques
Guest editors :
Frédérique Berthet, Université de Paris
Marion Froger, Université de Montréal
Deadline to submit proposals: 30 November 2021
Announcement of selected proposals: 15 December 2021
Submission of completed texts for peer review: 15 March 2022
Publication of the texts approved by the Selection Committee: Fall 2022
If trust never ceases to be questioned by economists and sociologists as a social phenomenon whose scale is measured, whose variations throughout history are studied, whose lack is deplored or whose rule is praised, the act of entrusting or confiding as such has received little attention. An act of mediation with multiple stakes, entrusting implies critical situations, vulnerable objects, beings whose fates are interconnected, an auspicious place and time. It seeks a relational situation, a particular state, an identifying trait, while being constantly on edge and threatened with reversal. One entrusts one’s heart, one’s soul, one’s life, what one holds most dear, what cannot endure without vigilance. One can be forced to trust or choose to do so. What we gain in faith, we lose in confidence. “Entrusting” transforms a relationship, at the risk of losing it, into a wager on the future. We invent secrets, promises, sanctuaries, as well as betrayals, perils, sorrows. Sometimes all it takes is one warm night for souls and bodies to align like stars, and another for everything to fall apart.
But have we always grasped the medial dimension of this act?
To trust seems to come from the quest for a relationship without mediation. There is no need for a contract or a pact. The connection to the other becomes the only guarantee of the benevolence and vigilance of those who reciprocate one another’s trust. However, it really is a question of “doing”—as in the French, “faire confiance”—and therefore of inventing the conditions that allow such a connection to be established, of producing the “air” where trust (in the sense of openness to the other, of commitment) is breathed. How to establish a relationship where one is missing, if not, before all else, through language, the first medium?
Like all practices, trust is also shaped by its socio-technical environment. The act of confiding takes a different turn when it is done verbally, physically or by other material supports. What is entrusted is always prone to be shared, moved around, transmitted, remediated and disseminated by all sorts of media. Referring trust to the history of technics (and especially those engaging with an artistic gesture) makes it possible to measure this interdependence and to observe how the very terms of the relation have evolved, between contract and abandon, between an intimate rapport and a creative opening to the world.
And then there is what the media retain, the sediments or deposits they gather, often without anyone’s intentions to entrust them with anything. Undoubtedly, we have learned to be wary of mechanized recording and playback media—media that are not always innocuous, and that at times betray the unconscious or transform into an insipid or indistinct sound continuum what once was at the centre of life. The media offer us astounding modalities of presence through recorded voices and images, exerting myriad effects on those who hear and/or see them. This is the very substance of many works that move or perplex us—works whose material invents life stories (fictional or real) and evokes the trust they bring to fruition.
With regard to researchers, an ethics of trust that can be called upon to elucidate methods, epistemological developments or scientific paths that resonate beyond scholarly communities. We are thinking specifically here of archival research, which moves from the rigorous analysis of documents towards beings of flesh and blood (who have made the active choice of entrusting the traces of their work or their lives), the fragments of whose existence surface within media supports; we are also thinking of that bibliographic trend or those multimodal interviews (do they form a genre in themselves under the voluminous heading of “ego-history”?) where the researcher tells his or her story, confides in others, in order to better illuminate the network in which his/her work and life have been or are embedded.
This intermedial approach aims to make distinct perspectives converge on the act of entrusting in order to gauge its importance in regard to its tenuousness. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The dispositifs and ambiences that favor trust; the differential, even asymmetrical, relation established between those who confide and those who receive; the role of mediations (recording devices, material supports for storage and playback) in the reversal or transformation of the established relations.
- The scene—at once imaginary and real—that transforms the act of entrusting into a connection that frees one from suffering or, on the contrary, generates it; the contemporary fictions that explore its mysteries, broken pieces, dramatic turning points or criminal abuses; the means used for the mediation of this experience through various media.
- The act of creating as an act of entrusting. How do artworks reflect its unique medial dimension? Who confides what, to whom and how in the artistic world? Does the act of entrusting inform a particular type of artwork (in its rendition of the real, for instance)? How should scholarly analysis of artworks change so as to account for and respond to it?
- That which exceeds the present and ends up binding the living to the dead. What are the powers of media that the heirs’ acts of transmission can count upon? Is entrusting historicizable, does it allow for the revival of the past, for writing and thinking history? How long does it take to learn to trust?
- The confession to third parties, in the medial space that is transforming society: Is the act of trusting or confiding a new injunction, a way of restoring connections and beings, an act of resistance? What kind of community emerges from the foundation of these acts? How does it impact our relation to a collective?
- What does it mean to entrust something to a machine? What does the mediation of the machine repair or damage in relations of trust between human beings? What ethical issues emerge when the sense of security promised by the machine replaces interpersonal connections where one person confides in another?
- How can we entrust the future of the planet to the very people who have compromised it? What mediating role can the arts play in preparing us for this task, in restoring confidence in the collective “us,” despite all that humans have done throughout history to cause this collective’s collapse by turning against their fellow human beings (as evidenced by the genocides of the twentieth century) or against the natural world to which they owe their very existence?
Intermédialités/Intermediality is a biannual journal, which publishes original articles in French and English evaluated through a blind peer review process.
Proposals (350–400 words) in English or French should include an abstract, a preliminary bibliography (five books or articles) and a brief biographical note (academic program, fields of interest, 5–10 lines). Proposals will be evaluated by the journal’s scientific committee, based on the originality of the approach and the relevance of the problematic. They should be sent before November 30th, 2021 to Marion Froger and Frédérique Berthet at the following email addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Completed texts should be sent before March 15th, 2022. They should be no longer than 6,000 words (40,000 characters, including spaces) and can incorporate illustrations (audio, visual, still or animated) whose publication rights should be secured by the authors.
Authors are requested to follow the submission guidelines available at:
For more information on Intermédialités/Intermedialities, please consult the journal issues available through the online portal Érudit: http://www.erudit.org/revue/im/apropos.html
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