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Call for participation: TaPRA Performance and New Technologies Working Group

Re-envisaging Performance and ‘New’ Technologies: Evolving contexts, Emerging Practices, Current Challenges, New Directions

10th Annual TaPRA Conference, hosted by Royal Holloway

Call deadline: 30 April 2014

The Performance and New Technologies Working Group invites contributors to reconsider performance and ‘new’ technologies by reflecting on current contexts, practices, and theories. The aim of the 2014 call is to examine how this area of practice and research has evolved, to appraise its current significance and envisage future directions. This investigation and self-reflection is framed by rapid, latter-day socio-technical developments such as social networking, internet of things, cloud computing, and augmented reality, and their transformative impact on the cultural landscapes of today.

Interplays between performance/theatre and technology date back to the origins of theatre history (Reilly 2013). Nevertheless, their recent negotiations and ‘entanglements’ (Salter 2010) are marked by an era where humanist notions of materiality, embodiment and alterity are being reconfigured giving rise to major socio-cultural shifts as well as ontologically novel performance paradigms (Giannachi 2004, Broadhurst 2011, Dixon 2007, Causey 2006, Chatzichristodoulou, Jefferies and Zerihan 2009, among others). These developments reshape the ways we make and experience theatre and performance and pose questions that problematise the particular research area, specifically:

What is new about ‘new’ technologies in theatre and performance? Which are the new performance practices, methodological approaches, and theoretical paradigms? How does the terrain of performance and technology cross over, inform, and challenge other areas of enquiry in theatre and performance studies?

What is at stake for theatre and performance once it becomes repositioned as less of a “human-centered affair” (Salter, 2010: xxvii)? How does it engage with machines, objects, matter and ‘actors’ (Latour 1987) rather than ‘props’ subservient to human creativity? Finally, self-reflexively for the Working Group itself – does performance and ‘new’ technologies continue to constitute a distinct field of practice and research?

Proposals might consider the following issues, though these are not exclusive:

Re-envisaging the field and remapping terrains: performance and technology, digital and networked performance, and intermedial performance practices;
Performance and (anti-)social networking;
Non-human theatre: machinic agency and affect;
Live algorithms: new interpretations of liveness in performance and theatre practice;
Geopolitical shifts: technologies of colonialism in the service of performance;
Connectivity, access, participation: the democratisation of performance;
Outsourcing labour and user engagement: the ethics of virtual and networked theatre and performance practice;
Expanding/limiting audience communities: digital and mixed-reality negotiations between the individual and the group, the user and the theatre crowd;
The role of performance and theatre within Digital Humanities;


Please send a 300 word proposal, a short biographical statement, and an outline of technical requirements by 30th April to both Maria Chatzichristodoulou, and Eirini Nedelkopoulou, .

Proposals, if accepted, may be directed into a range of presentational formats: traditional panels (with 20 minute papers); pre-circulated papers that form the basis for a short presentation and discussion; or, where appropriate, performance-based panels. While we welcome statements of preference, final decisions will be made by the working group convenors and will be indicated at the time of acceptance. We welcome alternative, practice-as-research or performative proposals that engage rigorously with the theme, but these must be achievable with limited resources and within a 20-30 minute time period.

Working Group Management

The Working Group also warmly welcomes participants who do not wish to present a paper this year.

Please note: Only one proposal may be submitted for the TaPRA 2014 Conference at Royal Holloway University of London. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Papers.

All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the conference; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the conference venue. If your paper has been accepted, yet you have not registered for the Conference by the final registration deadline of 8 August 2014, we will deem you no longer intend to participate and present at TaPRA 2014.

The conveners of the Performance and New Technologies Working Group are: Martin Blain, Maria Chatzichristodoulou and Eirini Nedelkopoulou.

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