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Borderlines IV: Call for Papers


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Borderlines IV: Resisting, Persisting, Performing, the fourth annual interdisciplinary conference on performance hosted by the Performance Research Group (PRG), is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 22nd June 2016. Developing on previous years’ explorations of the way in which performance may cross, transgress and blur boundaries, this year’s conference investigates performance’s capacity to defiantly, if carefully, withstand and investigate the enforced construction or policing of borderlines.

During last year’s PRG Conference, the keynote speaker, Gerry Harris, challenged the weakness of the term ‘subversion’ in relation to feminist performance attempting to cross global political borderlines and shake misogynist and patriarchal structures worldwide. Harris asked, when it came to the capacity for change delivered by performance, why we were no longer considering the more radical possibilities of ‘revolution’. This raised lingering questions around the current usefulness, relevance, and agency suggested by the terms ‘subversion’ and ‘revolution’, questions that are embedded in this year’s interdisciplinary conference title and direction. While subversion might register as not quite effectual passivity and afterthought, and revolution as forceful imperious activity, both terms bristle with gendered implications and problems.

An alternative might be sought through theorist, Hélène Cixous’s concept of ‘active-passive’, a concept also deployed in body-based performance practices, that refers to dynamic receptivity and responsivity; a dynamic responsivity that might be also suggested by the terms ‘Resisting’ and ‘Persisting’. These terms point to repetitious or long-term protest and challenge, a grounded refusal to surrender that might offer a fruitful response to the current complex state of interpersonal, intersubjective and international borders and borderlines. Persistent resistance or an active-passive state might provide a way of negotiating, for example, clashing stances on the importance of opening or violently regimenting nation-based borderlines, the discourses and acts celebrating or repulsed by the fluidity and transgression of gendered borders or medical advances repositioning the bodily borders between life and death. And then, how can or does performance inhabit or build upon that active-passive state through persistently resistant: actions, embodied presence, sound, composition, choreography, images, technology, technique and text?

Proposals are invited for papers, performances, work demonstrations, artist talks and provocations. Possible areas for engagement might include, but are not limited to:

  • Silence, stillness and / or inactivity and non-confrontational performative acts of civil disobedience
  • Affect, performance and persuasive power
  • Bodily borders and resistance to ownership
  • Exclusion, restriction and borders
  • Enforced or resisted gendered borders
  • Dynamics of power and navigating geographical, environmental and spatial borderlines
  • Acting as resistant witness or revolutionary agent to the modulating or enforcing of borders
  • Invisible borderlines and legislative structures
  • Extending or troubling borders through technology or different media
  • Dissolving borders between the audience and practitioner / artist
  • Impenetrable or porous borderlines between body and voice or text and action
  • Transgressing disciplinary borderlines
  • Reconfiguring / reviewing the borders between life and death
  • Processes and techniques that create or dismantle borders