Performance and New Technologies: Posthuman Assemblages and Technologically Enabled Performances

Deadline: Thursday 7 April 2022

Posthuman Assemblages and Technologically Enabled Performances

Saturday 28 May 2022 at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh 

Call deadline: Thursday 7 April 2022 

To register for this hybrid event, please visit the Eventbrite page.

The discussion about collaborative relations between humans and other than humans was initiated during our last annual meeting in September 2021. Driven by a desire to continue such conversations and in order to develop a polyphonic discourse that recognises the heterogeneous mix of human and non-human others that operate within the nature/culture/technology continuum, we are organising an event that will take place at the University of Queen Margaret in Edinburgh on 28 May. 

The Performance and New Technologies Working Group invites proposals from researchers and practitioners interested in questions that address the predicament of technologically enabled performance practices seen in the context of posthuman assemblages that operate within the intersectional axes of analysis such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, (dis)ability and class. 

Philosopher Rosi Braidotti critiques the anthropocentric hierarchy of species and exposes the dominant structures within both, humanism and anthropocentrism, that for centuries has been missing perspectives from the Global South, women and LGBTQ+ people. Braidotti posits that posthumanism seeks the inclusion of these missing people. She elucidates the current moment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Sixth Extinction, in which humans and other-than-humans find themselves. She talks about posthuman subjects as assemblages that are in ‘the process of becoming’ named also as ‘nomadic becoming’ (Braidotti, 2018, 2–3). This way of thinking asserts that ‘subjectivity is not restricted to bound individuals but is rather a co-operative trans-species effort (Margulus and Sagan, 1995) that takes place transversally, in-between nature/technology; male/female; black/white; local/global; present/past – in assemblages that flow across and displace the binaries’ (Braidotti, 2018, 3). In a similar vein, Legacy Russell subverts a binary system, which assumes that ‘ourselves are unchangeable’ (Russell, 2020, 8), she calls for engagement with technoculture that will ‘use “body” to give material form to an idea that has no form, an assemblage that is abstract’ (2020, 9). 

Against this backdrop, we ask: how do technologically enabled performance practices challenge and subvert binary oppositions? How can we read contemporary intermedial practices as posthuman assemblages co-operated by trans-species efforts? 

We would like to welcome practice-based responses, provocations, lecture-demonstrations, and papers, exploring and reflecting on various readings, approaches and interpretations of posthuman assemblages in contemporary intermedial practices. Proposals may respond to, but are not limited by, the following prompts:

  • posthuman entanglements and assemblages within technologically enabled performance practices 
  • hierarchical and non-hierarchical relationships between humans and non-human others
  • the politics of race, gender and class in collaborative practices
  • ecology and technologically enabled performance practices 
  • the nature/culture/techno continuum and performance making 
  • new materialism and immersive technology practice
  • ethical problems posed by intersections of human and technological processes 
  • precarious positions and identities in postdigital collaborations

Proposals, if accepted, may be directed into a range of presentational formats, including traditional panels (with 20-minute papers), short provocations that can form the basis for wider discussion or performance-based panels. While we welcome statements of preference, final decisions will be made by the working group conveners and will be indicated at the time of acceptance. We also welcome alternative, practice-as-research or performance-based proposals that engage with the theme. The Working Group also warmly welcomes participants who do not wish to present this year.

Submitting a proposal

This is a one-day event, with tea/coffee and lunch included, and all participants must be TaPRA members. If you are not currently a member, you will be asked to join the organization at the rate of £18 before the date of the event. 

Please send a 300-word (max.) proposal and a short biography in a Word document via email. Please also include precise details of your resourcing needs, for example, any audio-visual technology, or a particular type of space (e.g. drama studio) that you will need to make your presentation.

Email abstracts and information to the Working Group conveners, Dan Barnard, Anka Makrzanowska Peter Woycicki, using the working group email:

The deadline for the submission of proposals is 7 April 2022 by 23.59 UK time

IMPORTANT: Please indicate at the point of submission if you intend to attend the event in person or online. This information is vital so that the event organisers can effectively plan the infrastructure for the event and Working Group convenors can schedule panel sessions effectively.

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

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