PANEL 4: Dangerous Methods

Thursday 19th January 2018 – 11:30 – 13:00PM – Embassy Theatre

  • Trans* Bodies, Queer Movements: Queer Trans* Methodological Approaches to Movement Practice. Nina Michelle Worthington

This paper is an excerpt and overview of my ongoing sustained independent project that will explore a queer trans* methodology for movement practice through a trans* reading of Sondra Fraleigh’s concept of the body as a corporeal artefact and a queer approach to trans* embodiment. Rigid, cisnormative forms of performance, especially clear in codified dance forms like ballet, make no space for bodies and identities that exist outside of normative optics, leaving trans* and queer-identified people unable to contribute their bodies and approaches to the larger cultural fabric of dance and movement. With more trans* people coming forward politically and socially every day, now, more than ever, we must begin to have a more complex conversation about what trans* bodies and identities mean for our notions of gender, body, and identity in performance. Queerand transgender perspectives, including non-binary, cross-gender, and gender non-conforming perspectives, demand a re-evaluation of the assumptions underlying performance practices as well as new forms that make space for the experiences of trans* bodies and identities. Unfortunately, conversations around trans* methodologies and performance practices are not happening enough in either practice-based environments or academic environments, and trans* voices and experiences continue to be silenced in favour of cisgender voices and experiences. It is my hope that, through calling attention to a conversation that we need to have but are not having, an investigation into how trans* bodies interact with these cisnormative ideals in movement and dance may begin to unfold at the level of both theory and practice. Trans* perspectives have the potential to benefit a wide variety of theoretical discourses and performance practices, but only as long as these conversations are marked and explored in our rehearsal rooms and in our academic institutions.

Jae Endris is an MFA Performance Practice as Research candidate at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Prior to her MFA, Jae worked and trained as a performer and as a movement and theatre instructor in the United States. Her current masters research explores queer and trans* movement practices, queer and trans* methodologies, queer trans* embodiment, and the relationship between the body and culture.

  • Towards a (New) Dramaturgy of Knowledge. Clio Unger

This paper aims to examine one of the ‘no-go’ methodological areas in theatre and performance studies by analyzing the epistemological limits of the ‘case studies’. Critiquing the case study as a widely accepted representational device of knowledge creation, the paper rethinks current modes of producing and performing knowledge in our field.

Operating under the assumption that there is a discrepancy between the post-structural conception of performative knowledge and the still largely positivistic (and increasingly historicist) approach to producing stable knowledge in the humanities, this paper proposes a preliminary analysis of dramaturgies of producing knowledge in an academic context. By reading the case study within its logic of representation, the paper asks how can contemporary performance studies produce knowledge without adhering to a preconceived notion of knowledge as a subjective internalization of represented objectivity.

Ultimately, the paper works towards a re-thinking of dramaturgy as a mode through which a performative understanding of knowledge can be methodologically implemented in theatre and performance research.

This a co-written paper:

Clio Unger is a first-year PhD student at RCSSD, having transferred to London from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She holds an MA in dramaturgy from the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, where she wrote her MA thesis on the experience and construction of intimacy in contemporary performance. Clio has been awarded IFTR’s New Scholars Prize in 2015, and her essay has been published in the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media. Clio also works as a freelance dramaturg and is the editorial assistant for the Contemporary Theatre Review.

Amir Farjoun is a second-year PhD student at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He holds an MA from Tel-Aviv University. He has co-created and performed in various theatre and performance works including Saddam Hussein – A Mystery Play (2011, featured in Theater Der Welt Festival, Mannheim, 2014), The General and the Sea (Hazira, Jerusalem, 2015) and Debriefing Session II (by Public Movement, Guggenheim Museum, 2016). Amir also serves as the Curriculum’s Officer on the Board of the Doctoral Theatre Students Association at CUNY.

  • A 20min paper (between article and lecture-performance): diagramming censorship(s) across research-in-writing. Paula Caspão & Ingrid Cogne

We are currently going through the protocol-phase of “writing up” research in the frame of the art-based research project Six Formats1 – revisiting its mains concerns, spotting their fragilities and further possibilities. More accurately, we have been trying to articulate an article that would be able to integrate its own ‘presen(ific)ation’: an article that asserts its own writing as (also) a mode of (half) scripting its upcoming encounters and circulations – with and across its future audiences. We are assuming the redundancy of the formulation articulating an article to emphasize the importance of considering the particular ways in which an article produces particular (re)articulations (junctions, conjunctions, t-junctions): how it assembles-resembles-dissembles.

What does it take for a particular piece of research to be (re)articulated, (re)mediated – ready to be (re)mise en jeu? This question entails the knotty relation between discourse and action, i.e. the tension between the actions (movements, gestures, positions, architectural/temporal dramaturgies) and the discursive uses required for the ‘presen(ific)ation’ of a piece of research-in-writing to happen. Yet the discursive dimension alone brings in another set of tensions: between writing and saying/telling; between writing/saying/telling/reading and leaving unwritten, unsaid, untold, unread, misread…

Across these sets of discursive and physical trans-actions – as we were trying to figure out the kinds of (re)mises en jeu our article should be able to allow or disavow – several forms of censorship became manifest. We found it useful to cast that censorship in terms of (im)permeability: by spotting what can (or not) pass; what gets caught in passing; different ways of trespassing; of denying passage; by what/whom, by which means, with what goals/effects for what/whom. As we were reenacting scores of ‘DOs’ and ‘DO NOTs’ from a previous period, a series of ‘NO-GOs’ – but also of ‘TO-GOs’ – clearly emerged. Our proposal is to present(ificate) a diagram of those tensions-movements.

Paula Caspão

Researcher and transversal artist based in Paris. PhD in philosophy (epistemology / aesthetics), University of Paris-10, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Theatre Studies (Lisbon University) / Contemporary History Institute (New University of Lisbon); Visiting Scholar at the Tisch School of the Arts / New York University.

Ingrid Cogne

Artist, facilitator, and researcher working across choreography, visual arts and academia. PhD in Practice, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, cotutelle with the Doctoral School of Human and Social Sciences, University of Lille. Currently postdoctoral researcher at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, where she co-leads Six Formats with F. Thun-Hohenstein.