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Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 17 (2022)

 

Perform or Else? Surveying the state of the discipline for the post-pandemic world

Edited by Emma Willis (University of Auckland), Chris Hay (University of Queensland), and Nien Yuan Cheng (University of Sydney)

 

In Perform or Else (2001)Jon McKenzie outlined three performance paradigms – the cultural, the organisational and the technological – to argue that the imperative to perform had replaced Foucault’s description of discipline, hence the book’s subtitle: “from discipline to performance.” McKenzie’s insights partially inspired the name of this journal and our first issue “Performance in the Information Age” (2005) featured his work. This issue returns to McKenzie’s seminal text to ask what the imperative to perform looks like when performance is thwarted – for many, 2020 was marked by a “hyper-stasis” (Reynolds 2011, 516), with change happening all around us as we were (and continue to be) stuck in place. To do this, we take each of McKenzie’s three paradigms in turn, asking how they might be interpreted in the time of COVID-19.

Firstly, how is the playbook of performance management being mobilised at this time? University staff, for example, are currently being asked to consider ‘enhanced leaving,’ or ‘voluntary separation.’ What happens when the paradigm of performance measurement is mobilised against scholars and practitioners of performance, as we’re told “you’re obsolete, liable to be defunded, junkpiled, or dumped” (McKenzie 2001, 15)? How might we reclaim performance as a discipline, a mode of measurement, an act of political resistance? While performance has been defined as “restored behaviour,” Colbert, Jones and Vogel argue that formula can also be reversed. In other words, it can also be a mode of “behaved restoration”, repair, meaning, and becoming (Colbert, Jones, and Vogel 2020, 13)?

Secondly, how have “the worldwide circuits of performative power and knowledge” (McKenzie 2001, 25) aligned to techno-performance been amplified by COVID-19 and what does this amplification tell us about the distribution of such power? For artistic works, how has techno-performance itself performed? What happens when software programs made for business conferences and webinars become the performance spaces of the many artists forced to adapt to these new circumstances? In addition, techno-performance has also brought about new practices in documentation and archiving. What will be the “performance remains” (Schneider  2011, 100) of the pandemic — and, given the imbrication of performance space and commercial product, to whom will these remains belong?

Thirdly, performance studies, like many other disciplines, was facing demands for paradigm shifts in both teaching and research — even before the pandemic. In Perform or Else, McKenzie rehearses the “intellectual history” (2001, 33) of performance studies as located in its relationship with anthropology without fully critically acknowledging anthropology’s violent legacies of cultural and political imperialism. Twenty years on, “decolonisation” has become a buzzword within and beyond the university––but have things really changed? As Bhakti Shringarpure asks, “what counts as ‘authentic’ decolonisation in 2020?” (2020). As a journal with a focus on the Australasian and Oceanic region, we are particularly interested in how this question bears out in this part of the world.

Lastly, and more recently, McKenzie sketches another three “additional paradigms of performance research”: government performance, financial or economic performance, and environmental performance (2006, 37-38). Each of these paradigms has been implicated by the COVID-19 crisis, which has brought with it comparison graphs on national infection rates, vaccination performance reports, and so on. Could we even suggest that pandemic performance might soon form a paradigm of its own?

The above lines of inquiry proposed by this issue are far-ranging; nonetheless, they resonate with one another, bound together by an interest in revisiting and advancing the ideas explored by McKenzie 20 years ago. We ask not only what it means to “perform” in the shadow of a global pandemic, but also what is its “or else?” (McKenzie 2001, 5). This issue therefore seeks essays or interviews in response to the four areas sketched above:

1)     the mobilisation of our field for neoliberal measurement purposes;

2)     the impacts of techno-performance on our work and our experience as scholars, artists and citizens;

3)     the question of how to decolonise performance studies and what that might look like; and

4)     the rising paradigms of governmental, financial and environmental performance.

Please send proposals of approximately 300 words to Dr Emma Willis (emma.willis@auckland.ac.nz) by 11 April 2021. Full articles will be due on 1 November 2021 for publication in Performance Paradigm 17, July 2022.

Please feel free to contact the issue editors with any questions. For more information about them, see here:

Dr Emma Willis, emma.willis@auckland.ac.nzhttp://www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/people/ewil077.

Dr Chris Hay, chris.hay@uq.edu.au, https://researchers.uq.edu.au/researcher/19715.

Dr Nien Yuan Cheng, nien.cheng@sydney.edu.au.

Works Cited:

Colbert, S., Jones, D., & Vogel, S. (Eds.). (2020). Race and Performance after Repetition. Durham, London: Duke University Press.

McKenzie, J. (2001). Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance, London: Routledge, 2001.

---- (2006). “Performance and globalization.” In The SAGE handbook of performance studies, edited by D. S. Madison and J. Hamera, 33-45. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Reynolds, S. (2011). Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addition to its Own Past. London: Faber & Faber.

Schneider, R. (2011). Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment. London: Routledge.

Shringarpure, B. (2020). Notes on fake decolonization." Africa is a Country, 18 December. https://africasacountry.com/2020/12/notes-on-fake-decolonization.

 
Posted: 2021-02-21
 

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 16 (2021)

 

Performance and Radical Kindness  

Edited by Emma Willis (University of Auckland) and Alys Longley (University of Auckland)

Kindness as a radical act is not just ‘being nice’ to one another; it is the core of articulating, recognising, and valuing the complexity and beauty of the human condition, and putting this into practice in order to dismantle harmful systems of oppression and subjugation. Radical kindness is the creation of space for vulnerability. (Burton and Turbine 2019)

 
Posted: 2020-03-31 More...
 

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 15 (2019)

 

Performing Southern Feminisms

Co-editors: Caroline Wake (University of New South Wales) and Emma Willis (University of Auckland), and section editors (TBC)

From Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the United Nations to comedian Hannah Gadsby on Netflix—the women of Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia have rarely been more visible on the international stage. Like their sisters around the world, the women of the Asia-Pacific raised their hands and voices in 2017 to say #metoo. However, regional differences mean that the movement has unfolded differently here. In Australia, strict defamation laws have stymied the naming of perpetrators and instead facilitated the effective “weaponisation” of the #metoo movement (Maley 2018). In China, women were using the hashtags #我也是 (#IAmAlso) and #MeToo在中国 (#MeTooInChina) until the tags were banned, at which pointed they switched to the user-generated nickname for the movement, 米兔, which translates as “rice bunny” but is pronounced as “mi tu” (Zeng 2018). In other instances, the movement served to reanimate previous efforts, for example the Australia Council of the Arts’ report Women in Theatre (Lally and Miller 2012) and in the Republic of Korea, Seo Ji-hyun’s complaint against her senior colleague in 2010 (Haynes and Chen 2018). Now, twelve years after Tarana Burke first tweeted #metoo, and one year after it went viral, women are also asking themselves—what next?

 

 
Posted: 2019-01-23 More...
 

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 14 (2018)

 

Performance, Politics and Non-Participation

Co-editors: Caroline Wake (UNSW, Sydney) and Emma Willis (University of Auckland)

I would prefer not to. —Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853)

Like Bartleby, the legal clerk who famously decides that he would prefer not to, this issue of Performance Paradigm—an open-access, peer-reviewed journal now in its 14th year—investigates the politics and performance of non-participation. The figure of Bartleby appears everywhere in political theory and philosophy: in Gilles Deleuze’s “Bartleby, ou la formule” (1989); in Giorgio Agamben’s companion piece (1993; published in English 1999); in Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire (2000); and in Slavoj Žižek’s The Parallax View (2010). In performance, his spirit manifests in Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler’s project Museum of Non-Participation (from 2007). In performance scholarship, he recently appeared in Daniel Sack’s After Live: Possibility, Potentiality and the Future of Performance (2015). Perhaps we hear him in phrases such as “don’t do it on my account” and catchphrases such as “computer says no”. We might even see him, his slogan printed on a bag or a t-shirt. What are we to make of the fact that more than 160 years after Bartleby first appeared, both pizza ads and productivity coaches proclaim: “No is the new yes” (Huffington Post 2012; Kellaway 2017; Schwartz 2012)? And what is the difference between the “no” and the “non” when it comes to participation? One can choose not to participate (refuse) or one may be excluded from participation, which is altogether different. Is to refuse important in and of itself or should it build towards action; is it, in fact, more a type of action—a striking against—than non-participation?

 
Posted: 2017-11-30 More...
 

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 13 (2017)

 

Performance, Choreography and the Gallery

Edited by Erin Brannigan (UNSW Sydney), Hannah Mathews (Monash University Museum of Art), and Caroline Wake (UNSW Sydney)

This issue of Performance Paradigm takes the 2016 Biennale of Sydney as a starting point for a broader discussion about the relations between performance, choreography and the gallery. Of course, the appearance of performance in the gallery and in the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) sector more broadly is not new. Indeed, the Biennale’s 2016 artistic director Stephanie Rosenthal and two of her ‘curatorial attachés’, Adrian Heathfield and André Lepecki, have been working at this intersection for years. So too have scholars such as Claire Bishop (2012; 2014), Shannon Jackson (2011), and Susan Bennett (2009).

 
Posted: 2017-01-30 More...
 

Call for Papers, Performance Paradigm 12 (2016)

 

Performance, Technology, Intimacy

Edited by Caroline Wake (UNSW, Sydney) and Anna Scheer (University of New England)

Taking its cue from the title of Caryl Churchill’s recent play, this issue investigates the performance, politics and dialectics of “love and information”.

In his review of the play, Michael Billington observed that, “we live in a world where information bombardment is in danger of leading to atrophy of memory, erosion of privacy and decay of feeling.” Yet his criticisms are couched in binaries that the play itself, and contemporary performance more broadly, challenges, unsettles, disrupts and even refuses. In an age of big data, small screens, social media and algorithmic match-making, can we really separate liking and “liking”? Even if we could, are we comfortable with the implicit hierarchies of co-presence here? If technology has become, for better or worse, an “architect of our intimacies” how does performance respond to, reproduce or resist both those architectures and those intimacies?

 
Posted: 2015-11-17 More...
 

Call For Papers, Performance Paradigm 11 (2015)

 

Staging Real People: On the Arts and Effects of Non-Professional Theatre Performers

Guest edited by Ulrike Garde and Meg Mumford

Performance practice since the 1990s has been characterised by an increased interest in the phenomenon of theatre without professional performers. Such performers are selected for a variety of reasons, including: their life experiences, their status as specialists in spheres of expertise other than that of art performance, and their connection to particular social categories such as economic class, field of work, ethnicity, age, and (dis)ability. In the work of companies such as Rimini Protokoll these performers are referred to as both ‘protagonists’ and ‘experts of the everyday’. In her recent study of participatory art, Claire Bishop gives the label ‘delegated performance’ to the tendency to hire such people to perform on behalf of the artist (2012: 219). The currently prominent modes of staging real people* recall, modify or challenge a diverse range of traditions and genres, from realist, documentary, and Dadaist experiments to popular entertainment forms including gladiator fights, freak shows, and most prominently today, reality television.

 
Posted: 2015-01-29 More...
 
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