Performing Reference(s)/Referencing Performance(s)
The theme of this year’s Intersections in “Practicing Reference(s)/Referencing Practice(s)”. Acts of reference are unavoidable in creative and critical practice and in everyday life. Performance and performativity, in language and in art, rely on reference and upon citation, and necessarily appeal to pre-existing contexts and established authorities in the movement between innovation and convention. Referencing can be a mode of documentation, adaptation and archiving, as well as a means of giving shape to history, oneself and others. Each reference re-casts the past into a possible future, shifting frames of reference until new knowledge and experience emerge out of the old.
To make a reference is to look back in order to move forward, sideways and in all directions. It is a gesture by which some sources, practices, ideas and people are retrieved and others left behind, some links reinforced and some cast back. To reference, to be referenced, to be a reference, runs through the practices of academics and performance makers. What, then, does it mean to reference — to refer to — performance? And in what ways might performance reference, refer to, us?
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