The Centre for Contemporary and Digital Performance

2006. 2007. 2008. 2009. 2009-10 . 2010-11 .2011-12. 2012-13 . 2013-14 . 2015-17. 2018-19. 2019-20.

Interdisciplinary Performance Research Seminars 2015-17

Department of Arts & Humanities -- Brunel University London

Precarity and the Politics of Art: Performative and Critical Empowerment after Democracy

Coordinated by Johannes Birringer


This Research Seminar Series aims to probe troubling interpretations of the increasing unrestrainment of capital, and its impact on all social-economic, cultural, creative, and educational sectors in the developed world; the sustainability of democracy is an urgent emerging research theme for those of us in the performing arts/creative field becoming intensely aware of the multiplication of realities (virtualization; networked infrastructures) and the growing depoliticization of culture and art. The main objective of the Series is to articulate various perspectives on the emptying of politics in favour of the aestheticization of pure ideology within the context of precarization and the operations of unknowable information technologies. In particular, the series will examine

• Labour and virtuosity / refuge and asylum
• Decolonization and the politics of ‘not-quite’ identities
• The aestheticization of performativity
• Ritual politics, gender relations, social and sectarian conventions
• Algorithmic culture and participatory art

Autumn 2017: Season III

Wednesday  November 15, 2017

16:oo- 18:oo

Drama Studio, Gaskell Hall

Katerina Paramana (Theatre - Brunel University)

“IDEA: THIS IS GOOD: On Neoliberal OverFlows and the Reconceptualization of Economy”

It has been argued that the term ‘overflow’ – despite its changing meaning in different fields, contexts and epochs – is always discussed in relation to scarcity, and that all discourses of overflow have a moral dimension (Czarniawska-Joerges and Löfgren 2012). In the contemporary moment, we witness, for example, a scarcity of time and of stability in social relations and employment, and an overflow, a great spillage, of neoliberal ethics and rationalities (which have contributed to inequality, precariousness and injustice) into all areas of social life. In this paper, Dr Paramana proposes a rupture with these ethics and rationalities and the economic model itself, by suggesting a reconceptualision of the term ‘economy’ on ethical terms. For this, based on a Byzantine era definition of the term which she rehabilitates and extends, she argues for and proposes a redefinition of the term ‘economy’ which points to an ethics of care and justice, and which becomes the subject of the case study of this paper – her installation-performance IDEA: THIS IS GOOD (Gasworks Gallery, London, 2014). She begins by offering a discussion on the history, etymology and genealogy of the term ‘economy’, and the changing ethics attached to the term from Ancient Greece to the current times, drawing on texts on the history of economic thought and on Michel Foucault’s, Jeremy Gilbert’s, and Wendy Brown’s thinking. She then traces the process through which she arrives at the redefinition of the term and discusses IDEA: THIS IS GOOD, which uses this redefinition as its conceptual base, as an object within the work, and as that which characterises all the tasks created and performed in it. The redefinition becomes a proposition that two spectators at a time, working together to perform tasks, are asked to question, negotiate their individual responses to it, and act according to their decisions. The work, opposing neoliberal overflows, proposes the reconceptualization of economy on ethical terms and points to the importance of the creation of what Gilbert (2014) refers to as spaces of decision, affect, and creative possibility. It is such spaces that can contribute to social change by initiating what Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger (1998) refer to as ‘communities of practice’ and by producing what Paramana refers to as ethical encounters.

Katerina Paramana is an artist and scholar, and a Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University London. Her research is concerned with the social, political, and ethical dimensions of contemporary performance. Her writing has been published with Contemporary Theatre Review, Dance Research, and Performance Research journals and her performances have been presented in theatres and galleries in the US, UK, and Europe (Her website).

Wednesday  November 29, 2017

16:oo- 18:oo

Drama Studio, Gaskell Hall

Holly Maples (Theatre - Brunel University)

"Acting Out in Public: Display, Decency and 19th Century American Female Spectatorship"

"Acting Out in Public" comes from Holly Maples’ current book project, The Erotic Spectator, examining female spectatorship in 19th and early 20th century America. Much of the struggle against “indecent entertainment” focused on the moral degradation of American women of the “middling sorts.” How women negotiated their position in society as symbols of American virtue and integrity, while also using it to push the boundaries of their place in the public sphere through the politics of “pernicious pleasure” is at the heart of this project. This project intersects archival research with theories of embodied spectatorship and sensorial history.

Holly Maples is a Senior Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University London. Both a theatre practitioner and a scholar, she has directed productions in the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom. She formerly taught at University of East Anglia, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Maples research addresses how popular entertainment, heritage performance, and commemorative festivals reflect and shape societal change. Her book, Culture War: Conflict, Commemoration and the Contemporary Abbey Theatre, was published in the Reimagining Ireland series in 2011 (Peter Lang). She is particularly interested in investigating "performative publics," examining the public's manifestations of national, embodied, and collective identity through popular entertainment such as parades, national festivals, social dance, theatre spectatorship and heritage performance.

* * * * *

Autumn 2016: Season II

Henry Daniel in performance

Wednesday  November 23, 2016

16:oo- 18:oo

Drama Studio, Gaskell Hall

Henry Daniel (Simon Fraser University - Vancouver, Canada)

“Contemporary Nomads”

Henry Daniel is Professor of Dance and Performance Studies, scholar, performer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Full Performing Bodies. His research concentrates on strengthening notions of Practice-as-Research (PaR), Arts-based-Research, and Research/Creation in Canada. He leads a group of artists and scholars who help define new parameters for excellence in these areas. He has a professional background in dance, theatre, and new media with a career that started in his native Trinidad & Tobago and continued in the USA, Germany, the UK, and Canada. 'Contemporary Nomads' identifies two main axes of current migratory movements; one that runs in an East/West direction between Europe, the Far East, and the Americas, and another that runs in a North/South direction connecting Canada and the USA to Mexico and Central and South America. Contemporary Nomads seeks to investigate these large-scale movements of bodies across international spaces as a kind chaotic transnational choreography, one that speaks to the deep fragmentation which exists between communities within as well as outside national borders, between nationalized and personalized bodies, and between social and political institutions and the ordinary people they were meant to serve.

Wednesday December 7, 2016

16:oo- 18:oo

Fabrizio Manco in 'Melissa (Home Bee),' Melissano and countryside, Italy 2008. Photo: Fabio Pino.

Fabrizio Manco (Roehamption University)

“Ear Bodies: Acoustic Ecologies in Site-Contingent Performance"

This presentation, based on Manco’s recently completed PhD thesis, delves into a philosophy and a performance practice of the ear. It is a theoretical reflection as well as a discussion on his hearing/listening and performance practice, research and workshops. Here is where sound and the body move and perform by relating to the constantly changing acoustic environment. It is an enquiry into and a corporeal experience of sound as the ear body, a bodied experience of sound and listening where the whole body becomes an ear. This is explored through his experience of chronic tinnitus, a criticism of over-determined technology and through a discussion on the trance-dance therapy of Tarantism. With a focus on environmental awareness, the research encompasses an ecophenomenological investigation in Manco’s theory of site contingency, where he connects his ecophenomenological approach to contingency – contingency intended as a necessary experience of the world – and to acoustic ecology.

Fabrizio Manco is an artist, scholar and visiting lecturer at the University of Portsmouth and University of Roehampton. He obtained his PhD from the University of Roehampton, entitled Ear Bodies: Acoustic Folds and Ecologies in Site-specific Performance. His research applies acoustic ecology, drawing and ecophenomenology to what he calls site contingent performance, exploring and engaging 'bodiment', perception and experience of the auditory in choreographic, kinaesthetic, spatial and visual forms. Past projects include [STATES OF]TRANCEformation (2005) on Tarantism at Chisenhale Dance Space and Ringing Forest (2005), a sci-art project on tinnitus at the Ear Institute (Wellcome Trust award), Building:Sound (2010) a collaboration with Ella Finer (AHRC Beyond Text initiative).

winter 2016-17

Wednesday  March 1, 2017

16:oo- 18:oo

Drama Studio, Gaskell Hall

"Faultline" by Shobana Jeyasingh.

Anusha Kedhar (Dance Department, Colorado College, USA)

“Breaking Point: Flexibility, Risk, Pain, and Precarity in British South Asian Dance”

Due to its seemingly banal, normalized, and sometimes even celebrated existence in the dance industry, pain and injury is an under theorized area in dance studies scholarship. In this paper, Dr Kedhar analyzes pain and injury not from a physiological or psychological perspective but as an embodied condition of neoliberal multiculturalism. Focusing on the labor of South Asian dancers, she shows how pain and injury are induced not just through neoliberal working conditions in the studio but also through multicultural expectations for assimilation and legibility outside of it. Dancers’ bodies, however, are not merely inscribed by racial and economic ideologies. South Asian dancers use choreographic tools and other bodily tactics to gain creative control over their bodily labor and continue to circulate within a competitive British dance economy in ways that are safe and pleasurable.

Anusha Kedhar is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Colorado College, and currently a Visiting Scholar at Brunel University. Her current book project examines British South Asian dancers in the late 20th and early 21st century and the creative ways in which these dancers negotiate precarious racial, economic, and national identity positions through flexible bodily tactics. Her scholarly writing has been published by Dance Research Journal, The Feminist Wire, and The New York Times. Kedhar is also an established artist and choreographer, and has worked with various contemporary South Asian choreographers in the US and Europe, including Subathra Subramaniam (London), Mayuri Boonham (London), Mavin Khoo (London/Malta), Johanna Devi (Berlin), Cynthia Ling Lee (Los Angeles), and Meena Murugesan (Los Angeles).

Wednesday  March 29, 2017

16:oo- 18:oo

Drama Studio, Gaskell Hall

Still from "At Home in Gaza and London", networked performance dissolve (c) Station House Opera, dir. Julian Maynard Smith and Taghrid Choucair-Vizoso

Research Cluster Meeting

“Transcultures Survival (Hosts and Guests)"

This interdisciplinary Cluster builds on fieldwork and research activities of its members, working toward a testbed (media installation & symposium) for the integration of an ethics of politics. Posing questions about hospitality, temporary guests, migration, mediation and a critical philosophy of the refugee, the cluster probes conflicts/tensions in Europe (and Brexit Britain) directly related to war and militarized zones in Syria, the Middle East, and the Ukraine (these fields constitute research areas of the members) – affecting existence, policies, ideologies, cultural practices, social formations, representations of religion and nation, of masculinities and militarization, of security and auto-immune deficiency.


Johannes Birringer (Theatre, cluster lead); Yohai Hakak (Social Work/Institute of Environment, Health and Societies); Martina Reynolds (Life Sciences/Psychology); Mark Neocleous (Politics/History); Anne Chappell (Education) Alison Carrol (Politics/History); Maria Kastrinou (Anthropology); Olga Danylyuk (postdoctoral fellow, Theatre)

The Research Cluster is currently planning a Round Table discussion of the research activities to be held on Wednesday June 21st, 2017.


DAP-Lab and Brunel Research Cluster Immersion/Presence invite

"Metakimosphere no.4/HorLa"

Stills from VR and spatial immersion rehearsals (c) photos DAP-Lab

A round table and immersive exhibition-performance created by DAP-Lab and the Research Cluster on Immersion/Presence

Artaud Performance Centre

Saturday, May 27

Roundtable with Research Presentations: 16:30

Exhibition: 18:30

entry is free


Paul Moody (Film/Media) Christian Stiegler (Film/Media, cluster co-lead) Johannes Birringer (Co-director DAP-Lab, cluster co-lead);Michele Danjoux (Co-director, DAP-Lab); Meghan Horvarth (Film/Media); Emma Filtness (Creative Writing) Martina Reynolds (DAP-Lab/Institute of Environment, Health and Societies);Doros Polydorou (DAP-Lab/University of Hertfordshire); David Tree (UNiversity of Hertfordshire), Maria Mitsi (UNiversity of Hertfordshire); Sara S. Belle (DAP-Lab); Helenna Ren (DAP-Lab), Yoko Ishiguro (DAP-Lab),; Claudia Robles Angel (DAP-Lab); Ashley Rezvani (Games Design); Haein Song (DAP-Lab); Aggeliki Margeti (DAP-Lab); Olga Danylyuk (postdoctoral fellow, Theatre)


Autumn 2015: Season I

Wednesday October 21, 2015

16:oo- 18:oo

Decolonizing Gestures and the Colonial Gaze

Melissa Blanco-Borelli (Royal Holloway) "Bodily Archives and Hi(p)stories: Dancing in Cuba's academias de baile";

Broderick Chow (Brunel,Theatre) "Animatedness and the Filipino/a performing body";

Bodily Archives and Hi(p)-stories: Dancing in Cuba’s academias de baile

This talk comes out of Dr Blanco Borelli’s forthcoming monograph, She Is Cuba: A Genealogy of the Mulata Body (Oxford University Press), which examines the genealogy of the mulata body and her contribution to Cuban cultural production. As a representative of the Cuban national imaginary, the mulata suffers from the tragedy of colonialism and racialist discourse that deemed her body as aberrant--only useful in its ability to incite sexual desire and act as the static iconographic symbol of a racially mixed nation. This project seeks to dismantle these fixed notions of mulata identity by concentrating on the corporeal power of the mulata body in theatrical and everyday spaces.

In her talk, she describes the academias de bailes (literally translated as dance academy, but they were in fact taxi dance halls/nightclubs) of early twentieth century Cuba. Academias de baile drew mobsters, crime, and prostitution leading Fidel Castro to not just eradicate them physically, but historically as well. Within these academias, (mulata) women would dance, teach, and often engage in consensual sexual liaisons with men. I am particularly interested in how these women choreographed their bodies within these spaces. What happened to the (mulata) women who used to dance and teach there? How does the power of an embodied history contravene the discursive power of an official history? How did their bodies function as archives, proof, truth and evidence of a racialised and gendered everyday history of Cuba? Overall, thistalks also highlights the need for a feminist embodied historiography of this significant era in Cuban cultural dance history—a history that has been re-written and edited by official post-Revolutionary History.


Melissa Blanco Borelli is a Senior Lecturer in Dance at Royal Holloway. She is the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Dance and the Popular Screen and author of She Is Cuba: A Genealogy of The Mulata Body, both from Oxford University Press. Other writings have appeared in Women and Performance: a journal of feminist theory, International Journal of Performing Arts and Digital Media, Brolga: An Australian Journal About Dance, Black Performance Theory (edited by Thomas De Frantz and Anita Gonzalez), and Zizek and Performance (edited by Broderick Chow and Alex Mangold). Her research engages with performance, gender, corporeality, race, historiography and popular dance on screen.

Animatedness and the Filipino/a performing body

Like its predecessors, the 2014 West-End revival of the mega-musical Miss Saigon followed an established practice of casting numerous Filipino/a actors in principal and ensemble roles. Despite the musical’s Vietnam War narrative, the Philippines has since the original production in 1989 been perceived as an ideal place to find ‘authentic’ Asian bodies skilled in the forms and idioms of Western culture, owing to its history of colonization. This practice is exemplary of the peculiarly liminal form of racialization to which the Filipino/a performing body is subject; visibly ‘Other’ and yet skilled at ‘mimicry.’ This perception extends past the theatre to other instances of ‘performance’ that mark the Philippines’ place in the global context of transnational labour and exchange in which, according to Epifanio San Juan, Filipino/a subjects ‘belong to the world’ (1998: 7). These include the viral video trend of the ‘Random Girl’ singing karaoke in a shopping mall (; cover bands performing in five-star hotels across Asia; call-centre workers for multi-national corporations; and the performances of care in the affective and emotional labour of Overseas Contract Workers employed as nurses or domestic workers. In this presentation, Dr Chow investigates the economic, political, and ideological conditions of the racialization of the Filipino/a performer. In the global conditions of its labour, the Filipino/a performing body is defined by adaptability, hiding in plain sight—on show but not seen. In other words, the Filipino/a performing body is understood as ‘animated’; overtly theatrical but also, as in Sianne Ngai’s (2005: 92) reading of ‘animatedness’, moved by external forces. In contrast to animatedness as a racializing tendency, he will argue that theatricality provides a space in which the Filipino/a performer can shift from mimicry to mestizoness, an ambivalent state that both calls forth and resists the colonial gaze.


Broderick Chow is Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University London, UK, where he teaches theatre theory and history and leads the musical theatre strand of the BA Theatre program. His current project examines fitness and masculinity through the lens of performance studies, and he is also working on a book project on East Asian performance in the UK, with a focus on Filipino/a transnational performance. Broderick has published widely in journals including TDR: The Drama Review, Performance Research, and Contemporary Theatre Review. He is coeditor with Alex Mangold of Žižek and Performance (Palgrave, 2014), and with Claire Warden and Eero Laine of the forthcoming Professional Wrestling and Performance (Routledge 2016). In November 2014 he was runner-up for the Yasuo Sakakibara Prize for best paper by an international scholar at the American Studies Association Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

Still from a performance by Jaime del Val, 2015.

Wednesday October 28, 2015

16:oo- 18:oo

Olu Taiwo (University of Winchester) "Expanded Politics of Street Performance";
Jaime del Val (Madrid) – “Metabody: embodied media and the wars of indeterminacy and control"

Olu Taiwo, Senior lecturer at the University of Winchester, teaches in Street Arts, Visual Development, Dance and Performing Arts in a combination of real and digital formats. He has a background in Fine Art, Street Dance, African percussion, physical theatre and the martial arts including Tai Chi Chuan and Animal spirit movement. He has performed in national and international contexts pioneering concepts surrounding practice as research. This includes how practice as a research strategy can explore the nature of performance and the relationships between "effort", "performance" and "performative actions" as they occur in different arenas. Consequently, his aim is through the use of practice, to propagate 21st century issues concerning the interaction between the body, identity, audience, street and technology in an age of Globalisation. He is well published and interests include: Practice as Research, Visual design, Movement, Theatre, Street Arts, New technology, Trans-cultural studies, Geometry, Philosophy and Religious studies. In his presentation he will address the performance politics and educational dimensions of his effort to help develop a trans-European Federation of Education and Training in Street Arts

Jaime del Val presents his performance work and addresses the question how in the Big Data Era a new ontological threshold is crossed in the longstanding tradition of perceptual colonisations through reduction of movement to patterns. While disciplinary society was about repetition of totalising patterns, cybernetic and postcybernetic control is about prediction, anticipation and constant modulation of movement patterns. In this framework the Metabody EU project seeks to redefine the body as movement and embodied media as embracing the creative force of indeterminacy. Jaime del Val is meta-media artist, metaformer, metahumanist philosopher and activist, director of Reverso Institute of Metahuman Technologies ( and coordinator of the METABODY Project ( Jaime del Val develops transdisciplinary projects in the convergence of arts, technologies, critical theory and activism, proposing redefinitions of embodiment, perception and affects that challenge the ontological foundations of contemporary control society as well as challenging traditional conception of the human, of binary gender-sex conceptions and of perceptual colonialism.

Wednesday  November 25 , 2015

16:oo- 18:oo

Still from video “seizure” by Marina Grzinic, Aina Smid, 2015 / Still from "Fabrica Vitae" by Pascale Pollier,Jelle Janssens, Sofie Hanegreefs.2015

Pascale Pollier (Brussels/London) - “Curating Fabrics of Human Bodies”
Marina Grzinic (Institute of Philosophy at the ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana): “Necropolitics, Racialisation, and ‘Social’ Curating”

Pascale Pollier studied fine art and Painting in St Lucas art school in Ghent, Belgium, before postgraduate training with the Medical Artists Association, London UK. Till May 2015 she was president and is co-founder of BIOMAB (Biological and Medical Art in Belgium) In 2010 With Biomab she was curating and organizing exhibitions, dissection drawing classes, collaborative art/science projects, symposiums and conferences. In May 2015 the non profit organization ARSIC ‘Art Researches Science International Collaborations’ was founded - an international collective where Art and Science become entangled. This interdisciplinary association pursues several goals: Organizing and curating SciArt exhibitions, conferences and collaborative projects, supporting the publication of articles, books and films. Pascale is returning from a workshop in Moscow and recently curated the exhibition Post Mortem in Ghent, and before that the large touring exhibition Fabrica Vitae. Her inspiration is drawn from observing the internal and external human body in all its diversity, life and nature in all its beauty, strength, fragility, disease, mortality, immortality and death. Pascale currently lives and works in London as a self-employed artist

Marina Grzinic will talk on capitalism and time and the image changes and challenges for art, the performative and the political. The talk will be based on her book coauthored with Sefik Tatlic with the title Necropolitics, Racialization, and Global Capitalism Historicization of Biopolitics and Forensics of Politics, Art, and Life (2014). This book argues that necropolitics are a dominant, yet obscene, form of politics that sustains contemporary racism (racialization) as a primal ideology of global capitalism and connects globalization and its modernist narratives directly with colonialism. The book is important for those—and this means almost all of us—working with relations of modes of life and global capitalism and with articulations of political and epistemological principles onto which capitalism organizes its reproduction. Marina Grzinic is professor of philosophy and works as researcher advisor at the Institute of Philosophy at the ZRC SAZU (Scientific and Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Art) in Ljubljana. She is also professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

Wednesday January 27, 2016

16:oo- 18:oo

film still, 'Our Beloved Sudan' by Taghreed Elsanhouri, copyright 2012 Taghreed Elsanhouri

Piotr Cieplak (Brunel, Screen Media): "Memory Cards (film project)"
Taghreed Elsanhouri (filmmaker, screen writer): “Autopsy of a Partition/Sudan in 2” (video installation)

Piotr is a Lecturer in Documentary Practice. Prior to joining Brunel in September 2013, he was a senior teaching fellow in African film and video at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and worked for Africa Research Institute, a Westminster-based policy think-tank. Before then, Piotr was the 2010/11 holder of the Harper-Wood Studentship for English Poetry and Literature at St John’s College, Cambridge. Piotr holds a BA (Hons) in English and History from the University of York, as well as an MPhil in Screen Media and Cultures and a PhD (AHRC-funded) in photography and documentary film from the University of Cambridge. Piotr has a particular interest in lens-based representations of the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath. He has worked with the Rwanda Cinema Centre, the Gisozi Memorial Centre in Kigali and other institutions in the country to explore the use of images in commemorative and testimonial practices. He is currently completing a monograph entitled Death, Memory, Image: The Rwandan Genocide and its Aftermath in Photography and Documentary Film (Palgrave 2016). Piotr’s film work explores alternative film practices, the short and essay film form, the use of archival footage and the representation of memory and liminal spaces. His audiovisual work has been exhibited in the UK, Europe and Africa including at the Cambridge Film Festival, Rwanda Film Festival (Kigali), Montecatini International Short Film Festival (Italy), Africa-in-Motion Festival (Edinburgh), Thinking Futures Festival (Bristol) and Firestone International Experimental Film Festival (Moscow).

Taghreed Elsanhouri began her career in broadcast news and entertainment television. She is now completing a PhD by practice at Brunel University. Our beloved Sudan, the filmmaker’s 3rd independent documentary feature, premiered at the Dubai film festival in December 2011 and won the special Jury Silver award at the Luxor African film festival in February 2012. The film then went on to feature at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, New York, Lines of Control exhibition, 2012. Mother Unknown, her 2nd Independent feature, won the Unicef Child Rights award in 2009. Her directorial debut All about Darfur won the Award of Commendation from the American Anthropological Association in 2006 and the Chair Person’s prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (Ziff) 2005 and was selected at numerous film festivals including the Toronto international Film Festival 2005. Television projects include ‘Orphans of Mygoma,’ a short documentary commissioned by Aljazeera International for their ‘Witness’ documentary strand.

Professor Anshuman Mondal's presentation, unfortunately, had to be cancelled due to illness

Wednesday February 17, 2016

Ching-Ying Chien wrapped up with Akram Khan, 'Until the Lions' (c) 2015 Jean Louis Fernandez. Courtesy of The Roundhouse

16:oo- 18:oo

Royona Mitra (Brunel Theatre) “Choreographing the Politics of Touch”
Maria Kastrinou (Brunel Anthropology) “'Either we'll survive the sea or we'll die': From Syria to War”

Choreographing the Politics of Touch: This presentation offers a reflexive glimpse into my complex relationship with performing and reading choreographies of touch, framed through my own middleclass South Asian upbringing and its inherent body politics vis-à-vis sexuality, gender and class. Trained in the north Indian classical solo dance form of kathak in Calcutta, and then moving onto encounter the somatic practice and choreographic vocabulary of contact improvisation in the UK, this paper starts by examining the moments of rupture that defined my own disorientating, terrifying yet liberating experiences of making physical contact with other dancing bodies. I have subsequently come to note that these initial phenomenological responses I had to touch and being touched as a performer, has gone on to intrinsically shape the way I read other choreographies of touch. In this paper I examine three different choreographies of touch in Chandralekha’s Sharira (2001), Vincent Dance Theatre’s Broken Chords (2005) and Akram Khan Company’s Until the Lions (2016) through my own embodied and schismatic relationship to touch while recognising its prominent place within the contemporary dance landscape.

Royona Mitra is the author of Akram Khan: Dancing New Interculturalism (Palgrave, May 2015). She has a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London (2011) on the British-Bangladeshi artist Akram Khan, an MA in Physical Theatre from Royal Holloway, University of London (2001) and a BA (Hons) in Theatre & Performance from the University of Plymouth (2000). She trained in classical and contemporary South Asian dance in India and specialised in physical theatre in the UK. Royona was the founding member and performer with Kinaetma Theatre, an intercultural physical theatre company that made work between India, UK and Portugal from 2002 to 2007. Prior to joining the Theatre Department at Brunel, Royona was a Senior Lecturer in the Drama Department at University of Wolverhampton where she was also the MA Drama Course Leader.

“Either we’ll survive the sea or we’ll die” is a phrase Maria Kastrinou heard often, too often in Lesbos, Greece, uttered by people who had just crossed the sea in perilous conditions, often, too often, with little children and newborns, women, men, old and young. In this talk, Maria des not ask what ‘drives’ these people to risk everything, including their lives, in order to reach the shores of Europe. Instead, she recounts what has made them flee from Syria. To do this, she pieces together fragments of Syria in peace and in war, recounted through personal stories and also long-term ethnographic fieldwork. "From Syria to war," then, is an exploration and a provocation to re-think and perhaps re-centre where the crisis is…

Maria Kastrinou is a political anthropologist whose work examines power relations in the construction of states and subjects through an ethnographic focus on ‘sectarianism,’ energy (geo)politics, statelessness and refugee. She has conducted long-term fieldwork in pre-war Syria (2008–2010) looking at contested identities and politics between the Druze sect and the Syrian state. Her research has incorporated political economy and historical sociology approaches in an ongoing project on energy and resource conflict in Syria, initiated through a research fellowship at Durham Energy Institute (2013-2014). Since the war erupted, Maria has been carrying out new research with Syrian refugees in Greece and Lebanon, and on energy politics and belonging in Lebanon and the Occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

Piotr Cieplak (Brunel, Documentary Practice) “Archives of Terror” project, "Memory Cards", was shown in Seminar 4, as he kindly stepped in to replace Professor Mondal who had to cancel.

Wednesday March 09, 2016

16:oo- 18:oo

A portrait of the artist as a dead boy

Nicephor Herrantes (São Paulo): "Mourning Others: Queering Lament/Selections from the Occult Songs of the Greek People" (fieldwork/performance)
Holly Maples (Brunel, Theatre): "Posturing History: Embodying Protest from Black Lives Matter to Beyoncé"

Mourning Other: Queering Lament/Selections from the Occult Songs of the Greek People -- “Dating back to the late 19th century, the Politis Manuscript came to light three years ago and contains twenty, disavowed or 'occult' 'Selections from the songs of the Greek people' which were recorded by Nikolaos Politis (1850-1921), the patriarch of Greek Folk Studies, but have never been included in his same-titled key publication (1914). All these texts raise issues about various forms of homoerotic desire, while at the same time they decry the impossibility for different kinds of radical subjects to become worthy of mourning. For the reasons that this paper elucidates, since the year 1914, individuals and communities in different countries appropriated these songs, depicting them as original creations and silencing their Greek origins. The research project presented here aims a) to identify the Politis Manuscript folksongs with individual and collective works of the world literary heritage, b) to restore and publish the discovered manuscript as the first Greek folk anthology of queer laments (pustiás ké ololygmú).”

Dr. Nicephor Herrantes is a Modern-Greek Studies scholar. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of São Paulo, where he participates at the research project The Manuscript Polites and its international mongering: identifying twenty Greek folk songs with their worldwide replicas. A Brazilian of Greek origin, he studied Anthropology at the University of Brasilia and Modern Greek Literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. In 2010, he earned his PhD in Modern Greek Literature from the University of São Paulo, under the supervision of Professor Nikolau Polites Da Silveira. Nicephor has published articles on both Brazilian and Modern Greek oral traditions. Nicephor is the editor of José Muñoz’s complete works in Modern Greek, and he translates the Greek Folk Studies scholars Nicolaos Polites and Stilpon Kyriakidis in Portuguese.

"Posturing History: Embodying Protest from Black Lives Matter to Beyoncé": The 50th anniversary of the 1965 Selma March was darkened by the release of the Ferguson Report, condemning systemic signs of racist policing just days before the celebrations. Unsettling echoes of the 1960s, from burning churches, to violent protests, and images of police brutality, appeared alongside those of important American civil rights commemorations, creating a climate of performative protest, where re-enactments of civil rights era America gave ammunition to the current struggle. Twitter feeds positioned Black Lives Matter protests side by side images from the 1960s, creating a virtual performative space to fuse the past to the present. Continuing this trend, protestors staged re-enactments of civil rights marches and speeches, while posing and performing gestures of historic leaders and protestors from the Civil Rights era. As President Obama stages a re-enactment of the famous photo of Rosa Parks on the Alabama bus, Black Lives Matter protestors perform dark mimicries of the 1960s sit-ins by staging “die-ins”, laying down as if dead in front of a police station in Ferguson, Missouri, and Beyoncé’s channeling of the Black Panthers at the SuperBowl is directly associate to Black Lives Matter protests by her dancers. In these events, past and present struggles are fuse together into embodied performances of protest. However, the posturing of the 1960s are not solely political devices, but enable members of the public to inscribe acts of racial injustice upon their own bodies. Through an interrogation of how such performative protests affect the minds and imaginations of the public, this paper examines how the past becomes absorbed into the collective imaginings of American citizens through the act of posing, posturing, and re-enacting past events, allowing them to physically imagine, and indeed, become, the body politic of the nation.

Holly Maples is a Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University London. Both a theatre practitioner and a scholar, she has performed and directed productions in the United States, Ireland and the United Kingdom. She has a Ph.D. in Drama from Trinity College Dublin. Her research examines sensorial spectatorship and public performance of collective identity in times of social change. Her book, Culture War: Conflict, Commemoration and the Contemporary Abbey Theatre, was published in the Reimagining Ireland series (Peter Lang). Her current book project The Commemorative Body: The Performance of Collective Identity and National Resistance in America investigates the centrality of embodied performative experience by the public as they negotiate concerns over race, collective trauma and national identity in contemporary America through commemorative practice from 1876 to the present.

Rehearsal for metakimosphere no, 3


laboratory w o r k s h o p
APRIL 4 - 10, 2 0 1 6
A r t a u d P e r f o r m a n c e C e n t r e


Admission by Registration

* * *

Thursday, 7 April: Symposium 16:oo - 2o:oo Friday and Saturday, April 8- 9, 2016

The event is a week-long artistic–research workshop, with the Thursday symposium, followed by performances, exhibitions and screenings, and training classes in immersion performance. Our theatre and studio spaces will be available for physical and conceptual workshop encounters over a period of three days (Thursday through Saturday, April 7-9), with prior lab and tech phases Monday through Wednesday, also possibly including an e-stitch/e-textile workshop [Wed]. The public performances, exhibitions, screenings, and urban situations are on Friday and Saturday.

Preview for urban interventions outdoors

May 25, 2016

16:oo - 19:3o


Olga Danyluyk in the Ukraine during fieldwork

Symposium: “Algorithmic culture and participatory art in times of war”

Bojana Kunst (Ljubljana) "Precarisation and Institution"
Soenke Zehle (Saarbruecken) “Gesture Machines”
Olga Danylyuk (Kiev/London) "'The first casualty of war’. Is it possible to recognise who is telling the truth in the contemporary media environment?"
Maria Kastrinou (Brunel Anthropology): "Power, sect and state in Syria"
Teow Yue Han (Singapore/Slade): "Performing the Smart Nation"

Other speakers/respondents from the year-long Series will join. Round-table discussion moderated by Johannes Birringer.

NOTE: The Teachers Union UCU has announed that a strike action is planned in the UK for May 25-26 and in order to show solidarity it is likely that our symmposium will be moved to a different location which we shall post. Please meet us at 15:45 at the U3 bus stop, at the pond in front of university, Cleveland Road, Uxbridge. `````````````````````````

Some abstracts from the presentations:

Precarisation and Institution (B. Kunst)

This presentation reflects on the relation between precarisation of artistic experience and governmental precarisation that finds today its most visible form in the rise of participatory events and exhibition of sociality. We are surrounded today with ‘responsible’ institutions, which could be only exposed as social places because of the meticulous normative procedures, excellent logistical skills and top-off curatorial management. What is then urgently needed is to instill disobedience in this perfection of procedures and disclose the material infrastructure of the institution. To think more about stubborn institutions, connected with the surrounding habitat, an earthly infrastructure, which would not create clouds of experiences that can be easily whipped away and replaced with the new ones, but that would spread the practices and materialize the temporal and spatial quality of actions.

Gesture Machine (S. Zehle)

Reflecting on the contemporary industrialization of gesture, i.e. the structuration and incorporation of human movement into the design and operation of a new generation of cyber-physical systems across places and processes of work, the talk explores these developments in the context of an alternative history of gesture, from the research on "industrial gestures" (Aleksej Gastev) conducted in the wake of the Russian Revolution to the use of gestures as means both of self-organization and collective memory in social movements such as Occupy, Indignados, and Nuits Debout.

‘The first casualty of war’. Is it possible to recognise who is telling the truth in the contemporary media environment? (O. Danylyuk)

Despite the multi-modal media representations of war conflicts we very often find ourselves in the situation of not having a clue of what is actually happening. It might be due to the fact that the age of the war correspondent as hero appears to be over, as suggested by Phillip Knightley (2004). In most cases the first draft of history produced by the immediacy of real-time reporting has to be substantially rewritten in the retrospect to disclose important parts that have been excluded or twisted. In the zones of danger the degree of manipulation and control by government and military is even greater, basically accommodating correspondents as propagandists and myth-makers. When media strategies are successfully employed to normalise the waging of war the remaining scope for political action is rather limited. This continuous normalisation from which we suffer undermines our trust in authority. In order to disrupt this situation Olga Danylyuk refers to the practice of parrhesia as conceptualised by Foucault. In her film essay about the war in Eastern Ukraine she explores her personal relation to truth independent of the absolute values, which are often used to justify violence.

Performing the Smart Nation (Teow,Y.H)

The projected artwork is an interactive installation that will be activated by dance performance. The work seeks to put the two systems/apparatuses of the smart city (algorithmic governance, the grid) and dance (choreography, virtuality, human experience) in conversation, to dream and draw out new possibilities for nation building.

Power, sect and state in Syria (M. Kastrinou)

The Syrian state's rhetoric of Arab nationalism left little room for the official recognition of minority identities in pre-war Syria. Yet in practice, the state continually engaged with the Druze and other minorities to reinforce its legitimacy, often through cultural policy. Uncovering this neglected aspect of pre-war Syrian politics, Kastrinou will read form her just published book on the cultural politics of marriage in Syria, primarily among the Druze, to reveal how practical rituals of marriage inform sectarian and national identity formation.

* * *

This Research Seminar Series is supported by a grant from Brunel University London

+ + + +

The public is invited to participate in this series of encounters, lectures, screenings, physical and new media workshops and discussions, focussed on new thinking in performance practices,new medi arts, technologies, physical and digital/scientific creativity, and cultural production.

For more information contact 01895 267 343 .........Admission free..........

Location: Drama Studio-Gaskell Hall, Cleveland Rd, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH

All Research Seminars are co-produced with and the special DAP-LabTV Research Seminar playlist on youtube by Marlon Barrios Solano & Johannes Birringer.

Research Seminar on Dance TECH TV LIVE


( c ) 2 0 1 5 T h e C e n t e r f o r C o n t e m p o r a r y a n d D i g i t a l P e r f o r m a n c e , J o h a n n e s B i r r i n g e r ( a c t i n g d i r e c t o r )