css.php

Participants bios and abstracts

 

Jumoke Adeyanju

{{{thirdspace(d)out}}} – A journey to the in-between through poetry, dance, music and visual art.

{{{thirdspace(d)out}}} is a way to contextualize and visualize the imaginary line between diasporic subject’s disparity of locus and their “othered” reflections of selves. A journey to the in-between of reciprocal memories (diasporic and the native) colliding in the Now. Poets reacting to live-painting, visual compilation and soundscapes by free-writing. An audience that experiences the Now through the screened projection of said live-writing and visual arts following an improvised cathartic dance showcase. This was the realised experience at art galleries in Lagos, Nigeria and Berlin, Germany. Speaking from the center and not from the margin when being in performance spaces is a constant struggle for contemporary African artists, who aim to represent themselves through deconstructing colonial fantasies of Blackness. A visual art piece fixed in a canvas is like an imagined, captured memento of the past, whereas visually accessible movement art pieces is a flow of storytelling that has the ability to transform with each performance; to become the center. The practice of being in charge of the power of performing visibility is a testament to how the piling artistic revelations has contributed to a future archival of what Blackness means outside of whiteness.

Jumoke Adeyanju is of Yorùbá heritage and was raised in Aachen, Germany. She holds a BA (Hons) in Area Studies Asia/Africa from Humboldt University of Berlin, now pursuing an MSc in African Politics at SOAS London. During her studies she worked as a research assistant and undergrad-lecturer (teaching on Necropolitics, Fanon, Charity Politics and Performing Arts in East Africa) at the Humboldt University and Alice Salomon University respectively.

Jumoke is a well-established dancer, writer, curator and Vinyl-DJ.  Next to dance and academia, she has successfully evolved as a host of multiple cultural events and as a multilingual poet. She has been on stage at various occasions in Germany, Tanzania, Lagos and New York performing her poems in English, German, Kiswahili and Yorùbá. Jumoke Adeyanju is the founder of The Poetry Meets Series and radio host for YAASAA – an African media platform. Her multidimensional work has been commissioned and exhibited by Arthouse Foundation Lagos, African Artist’s Foundation, Galerie Wedding. As an allround-artist, Jumoke’s approach touches on topics like diaspora nostalgia, memory, performativity and how various elements of expressive artforms interrelate and incorporate the potential to (re-)create moments of reviving other or rather lost selves.

 

Sareh Z. Afshar. NYU

The Performance of Unvisibility in Postrevolutionary Iran: Martyrdom on Display and Self-Surveillance in the Age of Necropticism.

Skin is what we show of ourselves and see of others, how we know and come to be known. Steven Connor suggests that the reason skin—in and of itself—figures so prominently in our current moment is due to “the multiplication of skin-surfaces… [and] signifying screens” and not merely a result of its evermore visible presence in social representations. Identifying the photograph as “[t]he first such modern skin-surface.”1 he joins together the acts of touching and looking. Barthes too was fixated on the ways in which light operated as “a carnal medium, a skin [he shared] with anyone who has been photographed,” as well as radiations that “touch”ed the photographed body “to [his] gaze.”2 However, what both of these thinkers overlook in their meditations on the allure of the photograph is their own participatory role in this linkage, leaving all the work of touching and feeling up to the image, the photograph, the other.

Taking its cue from this missing link, this paper interrogates the affective work of a particular spectator. That is, it looks specifically at how the interplay of the images of the martyred dead of the Iran-Iraq war (1980–88)—ubiquitous in the urbanscape as well as in private domains—along with the living dead, blistered bodies of veterans and civilians exposed to mustard gas during said war, work to create the architectural form I dub the “necropticon,” in which the aforementioned spectator is a direct collaborator. In turn, this disciplinary mechanism, obtained from exteriorizing the markers conventional to interior spaces, functions to hierarchize the population and their dead, along with public feelings. Crucially—as I argue through an analysis of Gohar Dashti’s conceptual photo series Today’s Life & War (2008) and Narges Bajoghli’s documentary film The Skin that Burns (2013)—this opto-architectural technology of power does so not in spite of but precisely because of its performance of unvisibility, promised through the normalization of the sights of the memorialized dead and the living dead among Tehrani spectators.

Sareh Z Afshar is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at NYU. Her areas of research include public affect, aesthetics of everyday life, the materiality of visuality, and body-/bio-politics. Author of “Are We Neda? Iranian Women, the Election, and International Media,” she has served as assistant/managing editor to e-misférica, TDR, and قاور . Currently, she adjuncts at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, College of Arts & Science, and Tandon School of Engineering. www.sarehzafshar.com

 

Taylor Black. NYU

Just a Robot Keeping it Real: Fiction and Authenticity in Instagram Corporate Performance.

Where screens are infinitely capable of constructing new realities, we must also examine ways that world-making is performed and fragmented within platform spaces. One of the surprising outcomes of the social media era of the Internet is its internal contradiction between the endless possibilities for fiction, identity play, performance, and lying, and the profile structure, with its insistence on a single, unified, and quantifiable self. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists “you have one identity” while the entire history of Internet culture suggests one, in fact, has many. As a result, the meaning of authenticity becomes a crucial point in determining the future of online life, and in this respect, it represents a contradiction that the world of performance is uniquely familiar with. This project reconsiders virtual performances of authenticity and realness as platform-specific social texts, using performance theory to complicate the idea of univocal self-construction in online life. I primarily present the story of Miquela, a “robot” Instagram influencer whose real self was exposed as virtual by another robotic influencer, Bermuda, in 2018. By comparing fictionalized social media influencer Miquela with other corporate performances of social engagement, throughout the 2000s and developing in the early 2010s, I seek to update connections between authenticity, intimacy, and self-image to adapt to late-2010s ways of self-branding and personal storytelling online. Further, I argue these same tools are reflected by corporate brands to further compel audiences to entangle brand identity with their own selves. The tropes of Instagram self-performance are deployed across a spectrum of personal, political, social, and capitalist modes, with authenticity enabling this new height of context collapse.

Taylor Black is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at NYU whose research considers acts of lying on the Internet as performance and explores the role of performance in developing ethics in online spaces. Taylor also teaches coding, performance and technology, and tactical technology, and is a student fellow of NYU Law’s Privacy Research Group and Online Editor of Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory.

 

Juliana Fadil-Luchkiw. NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

Dragged into It: Making Kin with Cthulhu

In this paper, I think with Victoria Sin’s two “Cthulhu” films from the series of short films, Narrative Reflections on Looking (2017) to suggest that, read together, these two films show how working with conventions of horror, desire, and speculative fiction can shift gazes, where the monster becomes the channel through which a collective and relational sense self and other is produced as palpable. The series unfolds a nonlinear and fragmented speculative narrative that deals with ways of identifying with images, desire and the power dynamics of looking, specifically by confronting the construction of white western norms of femininity and outlines of the body. Therefore, what I am particularly drawn to here is the use of drag as speculative practice, and, within this, the use of horror, unconventionally and allegorically, to take up the abject as a form of disidentification in relation to multispecies intimacies and kinship. Elaborating on how monstrosity can be a medium through which one encounters a relational sense of self and other through the alien within, I contend that these films bring the viewer to confront the otherness of the self. Through Sin’s films, I argue that shifting gazes can allow the membrane of the screen to be a site of connection and disconnection, coming together and falling apart, providing a transformative experience that addresses the horrors of imposed western norms and ideals to evoke relational modes through affects within the viewer.

Juliana Fadil-Luchkiw is a hybrid creature, drawn to the intertwining agential affinities of fiction, theory, and lived experience. She is one half of nadahada, an artistic collaboration with María Paz Valenzuela Silva that implements performance, video, installation. Based in NYC, nadahada has performed and exhibited in the U.S. and internationally. Juliana is currently finishing her MA degree at NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study, with a concentration in Performance, Aesthetics, and Society. She holds a BFA from Parsons School of Design and a BA from Eugene Lang College, both at The New School University.

 

sair goetz.

Voice Euphoria Hour (lecture performance)

This lecture performance considers implications for trans* identity that stem from the recent divergence of sound-media and moving-image media. A rise in podcasts and a rise in text-captioned video brings to the foreground the disconnect between the privacy of personal sonic space and the privacy of personal screen space. The control over one’s image and the control over one’s voice are deeply tied to gender-performance. While such a sonic/image disconnect might cause physic distress for some, I work through the euphoric implications of the voice/image disconnect for my own experience of trans* identity development. This lecture performance will move through the euphoric potentials and ethical stumbling blocks that accompany audio-only and video-only media, as well as ethical questions that arise from queered acts of ventriloquism (drag, lip-sync) that helped me reach the realization of my own trans* identity.

sair goetz writes instructions that queer problematic realities into speculative fictions. Their work seeks to leverage the weightlessness of language to complicate, manipulate, and annotate the weighty matters it circumscribes. This speculative language is inscribed back into reality through bodily performance, video, installation, and signage. The works become lines of inquiry that move propositions about pertinent topics (sexual violation, illusions of safety, gender non-binaries, the future of literacy, and the stability of self-definition) into the specificities of embodiment (the elasticity of a tongue, an industrial scissor-lift, buttons on the left side of a shirt, devices for dialog, and 300lbs of ice).

sair received their MFA from the Ohio State University in 2017 and their BA in Visual and Media Studies, Arts of the Moving Image, and Documentary Studies from Duke University in 2011. In 2017-2018 sair was awarded the Dedalus Foundation post-MFA fellowship. sair has shown their work nationally and internationally and completed several residencies across the US: SPACE, Portland, ME; ACRE, Stuben, WI; Little Paper Planes @ Minnesota Street Projects, San Francisco, CA; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Weir Farm, Wilson, CT; Sedona Arts Center, Sedona, AZ (with four for collective); Elsewhere Museum, Greensboro, NC. They are a member of the CTRL+SHFT Collective in Oakland, CA.

 

Emma Humphris. Stanford University

Subjective Evidence Based Ethnography (SEBE): the role of technology in performance
ethnography.

Subjective Evidence Based Ethnography (SEBE) is a method designed by Saadi Lahlou to access subjective experience in ethnographic research. It uses First Person Perspective (FPP) digital recordings with Body Worn Camera (BWC) as a basis for analytic Replay Interviews (RIW) with the participants. In this paper, I argue that SEBE is a crucial case study that intersects technology and performance ethnography. SEBE interrogates technology’s ability to grasp the subjective experience of the performer and frames a unique relationship between researcher and performer, based both on collaboration and the mediating power of the BWC. To explore those questions, I will closely look at Johannes Rieken’s use of SEBE with the London Metropolitan police. Rieken analyses 27 real cases of intervention by officers in London, recorded in first person perspective by miniature video-cameras worn by the officers themselves. Officers then participate in the analysis of the tapes. Unlike third-party cameras, BWC are consistently implicating the subject’s body. To what extent BWC allow for a more introspective account of the performer’s experience? What are the implications for liveness and presence in this performance? Moreover, the “replay interviews” reveal the ways in which the researcher has to negotiate his presence and collaboration with the performer, offering new avenues of exploration for Dwight Conquergood’s “co-performative witness” in performance ethnography. Therefore, SEBE serves as an apt example of digital and participatory performance ethnography that,through the use of digital interfaces and replay interviews, articulates crucial questions of presence and collaboration between researcher and performer.

Emma Humphris is a PhD student in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. She holds a Master of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Oxford University, a Bachelor in Philosophy and Political Science from Sciences Po-Paris and La Sorbonne. She comes to the field of performance studies with extensive work and research experience in the Lebanese criminal justice system. Her first dance film, advocating against arbitrary detention in Lebanon, got selected for screening in the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. She has a keen interest in the use of interactive technologies and participatory methodologies to examine social performances and design powerful interventions. Her current focus is on gender performances in the police in Europe and the Middle-East.

 

Jisun Kim. Yale University

The Aesthetics of Storytelling Medium: Drama, Novel, and Film.

This paper explores how different aesthetics of medium change the fundamental way of storytelling. The paper focuses on the case of Thérèse Raquin written by Émile Zola. Zola wrote his third novel Thérèse Raquin in 1867, followed by his play with the same title in 1873. He was the writer who believed that naturalism is the best way to present the human condition in art. In his preface for the novel Thérèse Raquin, he said that he chose “protagonists who were supremely dominated by their nerves and their blood, deprived of free will and drawn into every action of their lives by predetermined lot of their flesh.” His claim was successfully realized in his novel with through descriptions of the characters’ genetic and environmental conditions. However, in his play Thérèse Raquin (he was also a naturalist dramatist), his characters betray his will by executing their “free will” to the point of disrupting Zola’s naturalistic intention of the play. The play becomes a radically different story from the original novel, because the aesthetics of the play require actions of the characters, not descriptions of the author to confine them under the law of nature. Interestingly, more than a hundred years later, a Korean film adaptation version of the novel Thérèse Raquin, Thirst (2009) revived Zola’s idea of naturalism in the aesthetics of supernaturalism by utilizing the vampire genre. By comparing these three versions of Thérèse Raquin, the paper explores how the medium itself, not a plot, determines the way of storytelling.

Jisun Kim is a first year MFA candidate in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama. Her general research interests lie in theories of affect and performativity with a focus on contemporary women playwrights and performance artists. Her recent interest is to explore how different aesthetic forms of theater interact with audience perceptions.

 

So-Rim Lee. Columbia University

From Boyfriend to Roleplays to Virtual Surgeries: Korean ASMRtists Perform for Tingles and Digital Intimacy.

Recent scholarship on Korean ASMR culture situates the rising popularity of ASMR within the wider discourse of digital intimacy and self-care as antidote to the neoliberal society’s structural fatigues. Yet this reading tends to focus on the so-called “nonthreatening” aspects of the ASMR that refuse to associate it with eroticism and sexuality, both of which are keenly tied to, if not indispensable in, the creation of digital intimacy. Using case studies of male and female Korean ASMRtists, I examine the complexities with which some ASMRtists directly address, represent, and engage with gender and sexuality. Round ASMR’s performance takes up hil-ling into many “male” roles for the female audience including brother, friend, crush, and boyfriend, attesting to a notion of care and digital intimacy unique to Korean cultural considerations while maintaining a delicate balance between intimacy and eroticism. ASMR Rappeler, on the other hand, has been famously controversial with the “sex offender castration roleplay” (2018, currently taken down), triggering a large population of her former followers to unsubscribe, as well as receive countless death threats from the anonymous YouTube community at large. What with the feminist and #me-too movements having exploded into the so-called “gender wars” in the South Korean public arena in 2018, the digital space of internet ASMR community reflects or deflects this trend in its own complex politics of representation. In analyzing each artist’s performance, I contemplate the ASMR as a contemporary “body genre” of new media engagement that expands upon Linda Williams’s previous definition of narrative film genres (horror, pornography, melodrama) in the twentieth century.

So-Rim Lee (sl2179@columbia.edu) is an AKS postdoctoral research fellow at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University, and holds a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies from Stanford University. Lee researches on contemporary popular culture’s complex embodiments of neoliberalism through the intersections of performance studies and visual culture. Lee’s writings have previously appeared in New Theatre Quarterly, Performance Research, and Theatre Survey.

 

Stephanie Lim. University of California, Irvine

Finding a Formula for On-Screen Success: Live TV Musicals’ Experimentations in Liveness, Unpredictability, and Nostalgia.

Although TV and theatre seem paradoxical to one another (one is usually experienced as an edited recording and the other experienced in person), that “the boundaries between all media are often in a subtle state of flux” (Creeber 2) is an important truth embraced by FOX’s 2016 live telecast of Grease. Its opening sequence highlights – rather than hides – imperfections and backstage views, blending together TV and musical theatre aesthetics. These blurred boundaries ultimately proved successful: Grease: Live garnered an unprecedented five Emmy wins, especially surprising given the amount of “hatewatching” surrounding its live musical predecessors (NBC’s Sound of Music, Peter Pan, and The Wiz) and FOX’s own 2019 “not-so-live” broadcast of RENT.

While live TV today is demarcated by reality, documentary, and sports subgenres, FOX’s success with Grease and NBC’s celebrated Jesus Christ Superstar in 2018 indicate a nuanced genre of performance on screen that is neither wholly theatrical nor TV in scope but a combination of the two. Experimenting with the elements most crucial to both mediums, live musical broadcasts simultaneously call attention to and embrace the liveness of theatre and the cinematic qualities of TV. Exploring the phenomena of live televised musicals since 2013, this essay pays particular attention to Grease: Live and Jesus Christ Superstar Live’s formulas for success – that is, unapologetic engagements with immediacy, unpredictability, audience engagement, and nostalgia. This sudden upsurge in live musicals signals both a renaissance period stemming from America’s earliest TV musicals and a new, unique partnership between theatrical and TV discourses.

Stephanie Lim is a PhD student in Drama & Theatre at University of California, Irvine. She holds her BA and MA in English from California State University, Northridge and teaches undergrad classes at UCI, CSUN, and AMDA College & Conservatory. Her research focuses broadly on contemporary American musical theatre, with specific interests in Deaf Studies and Disability Studies, the representation and inclusion of minorities on stage, and adaptations. Recent publications appear in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Everything Sondheim, and Studies in Musical Theatre. Stephanie currently serves as Grad Student Rep for ATHE’s Music Theatre/Dance focus group.

 

Elyse Singer. The Graduate Center, CUNY

Ophelia on the VR Stream: Performing Mad Scenes in New Media.

Hamlet has found new life in Virtual Reality. In January 2019, the Boston-based Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, in a partnership with Google, released Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, an immersive one-hour version of Shakespeare’s tragedy “best viewed using a VR headset, such as the Google Pixel phone with Google Cardboard or Daydream View.” To Be With Hamlet, a mixed reality version of the play that enables audience members to interact with a 3D avatar of the prince in a virtual Elsinore, premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival in 2017 to similar fanfare, albeit with fewer corporate tie-ins. While both of these new media interpretations of Hamlet stress the ability of immersive technology to bring the user inside the world of the play—and Hamlet’s “mindscape” — Ophelia’s mad scene is either minimized or erased entirely. This paper will use Ophelia’s mad scene as a lens through which to explore ways in which female madness functions in immersive VR and 360-degree video. In what ways do performances of madness and representations of mental illness differ in immersive forms from cinematic or stage representations? It is possible to locate the residue of historic motifs and gestures of female madness through today’s Daydream View?

Elyse Singer is a Ph.D. Candidate in Theatre and Performance, with a Film Studies Certificate, at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her essay “Pauvre Folle!” received the Special Commendation, 2018 Domitor Student Essay Contest. A theatre director and playwright, she is Artistic Director of the Obie-winning Hourglass Group. She teaches at City College and Tisch’s Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing at New York University. MA, Hunter College; BA, Yale University.

 

Paula Vilaplana. Columbia University

Screening Teleplasms: The Female Body as a Proto-Cinematic Device.

This lecture performance explores alternative aesthetics of haunting in relation to the representation of the female body. Focusing in the Victorian era, it dismantles the discourses through which the visions of femenine spectralities have been constructed. Following the rise of Spiritualism, haunted houses spread throughout the US as a popular phenomenon. Yet, these spaces are not haunted per se: the presence of ghosts is tied to the performance of the (often) female medium during the course of a séance. Such haunting is a scheduled spectacle that not only transforms the victorian parlor into a public stage, but makes it the core of a total display, especially during the production of teleplasms. Performing in the dark under a red glow, Tom Gunning describes the medium as “an uncanny photomat, dispensing images from its orifices”, by contrast Karen Beckman compares the production of teleplasm to a birthing scene, with the medium painfully delivering the spirit assisted by male physicians. Teleplasms, I would argue, are closer to performing an abortion than a birth, and turn-of-the-century Spiritualism involves questions of gender, labor, sexuality, and reproductive rights.

Combining archival material and the production of mixed media, this lecture performance revisits the body of the female medium as a proto-cinematic device. It reenacts the transformation of the Victorian séance-room into a screening space, where haptic modes of vision create an immersive experience that predates the codes and protocols of contemporary new media, and which impact reverberates through further performative practices during the XXth century.

Paula Vilaplana (Alicante, 1985) is a New York based architect, designer, and performer. She is co-director of the firms Fru*Fru and Vilaplana&Vilaplana where she develops installations and performances related to the intrusion of technology and the media in domestic landscapes. Her work has been exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, CA2M, and Matadero Madrid amongst other venues. She has recently developed design works for Storefront for Art And Architecture NY and Princeton University.

Vilaplana is currently enrolled in the MS in Critical, Curatorial, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at Columbia University where she has been recently awarded the Buell Center for American Architecture Fellowship for the project Haunted Real Estate. Architectural Strategies for a feminist revisitation of theUS Victorian Landscape. A piece of her work was recently exhibited at the Spanish Pavilion in the Venice Architecture Biennale.

 

Andrew Zuliani. NYU

Screening the Book: “Kubla Khan” and materiality deferred.

What happens to materiality when it is flattened out, dispersed, made virtual? In my paper I will perform a reading of a Google Books copy of Samuel Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” whose transition from book to screen is marked by glitches and distortions that warp the text into something new and strange.

A poem about the impossibility of perfect recall – a poem of weird materialisms, of thwarted access, of evaporating visions – is itself subjected to a process of forgetful remembering by the sweep of the scanner and the astigmatic eyes of optical character recognition. In its new life on the screen, paratextual information and printing artefacts are injected into the body of the text, and smudged ink is translated into disruptive clusters of letters. The stubborn three-dimensionality of the book, the curvature of the pages as they plunge down into the gutter, resists the linear process of OCR: meaning is, like the dream-palace of Xanadu, broken apart and sucked down into a “deep romantic chasm.”

Opponents to the scan-and-burn digitization of texts fear that the materiality of the book will be lost in the process. My paper will suggest that things are a bit more complicated, a bit more strange: rather than being wholly lost, discarded like a husk in favor of pure, liquid “content,” the materiality of books will return to haunt our screens, to obstruct our reading, and to make us newly aware of both the physicality of the text and of our own obscured embodiment.

 

Andrew Zuliani is a writer and visual artist from Vancouver who is researching flatness and glitch aesthetics at NYU.