CALL FOR PROPOSALSPerformance Studies international
PSi #25 2019: “Elasticity”
School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
July 4 – 7, 2019
Extreme fluctuation is a basic aspect of life in Calgary. Situated between the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and the plains of the Prairies, nestled in the bed of the powerful Bow River, Calgary’s landscape is perhaps the most visible manifestation of this characteristic. An elastic and resilient ecosystem is demanded of an environment where springtime flooding is followed by prolonged draught and wildfires in the summer, and where winter chinooks can result in 30-degree temperature fluctuations in a single day. This reality is well known to the region’s indigenous population, while settler cultures continue to acclimatize. The economy, political imagination, educational systems, professional opportunities, and performing arts industry follow a comparable pattern of highs and lows, fluctuating between plenty and scarcity. It is with growing concern that we recognize this defining pull to extremes reflected on a far larger scale in global environmental, political, economic, and humanitarian contexts. As polar oppositions continue to intensify, with ever fewer checks and balances in place, we invite the PSi community to address the demands that extreme fluctuation places on the elasticity of connective tissues/processes, as well as the available modes of response.
Elasticity involves the ability to be shaped by an external force and to return to an original configuration if that force is removed. It refers to the adaptability and plasticity of networked connections, and although elastic tissue has a snapping point, it is far more resilient than inflexible materials.
We call for proposals of panels, papers, performance presentations and workshops involving scholarly and creative reflection on the subject of elasticity as it applies to a wide range of performance studies topics, areas and contexts. These include, but are not limited to:
– The performance of resource-sharing, from the transfer of nutrients in root systems to alternative forms of social organization
– Modes of resistance, resilience and revision within social, political, cultural and artistic dynamics
– Collaboration as adaptation in social and artistic organizational structures and processes
– Elasticity as personal, cultural and/or creative strategy
– Creative strategies and techniques that enhance neuroplasticity and their transferability to other domains
– The elasticity of negotiations between artist/performer and the public
– Performance space as a malleable factor, both for artist and public
– Indigeneity, reconciliation and performance
– Productive economies and creative practice
– Networking places, performers and audiences
– Cultural policies and global impacts
– How spaces, environments and climates shape social, political, cultural and artistic performance
– Design as the ‘stage’ for elasticity, resilience, recovery … the return from ‘breaking points’
We welcome proposals that demonstrate conceptual and/or formal elasticity – that is, which respect and reflect but also adapt and extend the established practices of traditional conference proceedings. Individuals and groups are invited to submit proposals within the following formats:
Papers: 20 minutes individual presentations (may involve performance elements requiring minimal technical support)
Panels: 90 minute curated sessions involving 3-4 pre-selected individual paper presentations (or the collaborative equivalent; may involve performance elements requiring minimal technical support)
Performances: 60 minute individual or group sessions, presentational and/or immersive/participatory in nature, involving modest performance technical support within a studio/rehearsal hall configuration. Can involve an optional, integrated lecture component.
Workshops: 60-90 minute individual or group sessions, facilitating experiential knowledge.
Alternate Formats: 20-90 minute individual and/or group sessions adopting alternate, site-specific and/or experimental approaches. Venues and support are to be negotiated with the conference organizers.
Proposals should be maximum 300 words in length, in addition to the following information:
Name(s) of presenters
Institutional affiliation (if any)
Email address and phone number(s)
Technical and venue support required/requested (as detailed as possible)
Short Bio(s) for each presenter (maximum 50 words each)
Please note: while the final abstracts will be published in both English and the original language of participants, we request that proposals be submitted in English.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 5th, 2018. Please send all proposals to email@example.com, indicating your choice of presentation format in the subject title (for instance, “ALTERNATIVE” or “PAPER”).For more information, consult the PSi#25 website at www.psi2019calgary.com. Additional information regarding registration and accommodation will be posted to the site shortly.
School of Creative and Performing Arts, University of Calgary
Tragedy’s Masks: The Elasticity of Tragic Theory from Aristotle to TodayInterpretations of tragedy fluctuate from one extreme to another. Averroës translates tragedy as “eulogy” or a poem of praise. To Albert the Great, however, tragedy amounts to a recitation of dirty deeds. This paper examines why, unlike the terms philosophy, history, and comedy (which also derive from ancient Greek), tragedy is an elastic term. It provides examples of how this elasticity allows literary theorists to come up with fruitfully ambiguous interpretations of tragedy and concludes by proposing an exciting new interpretation of tragedy.Because the term tragedy is elastic, tragic theory is a product of its age. In ages interested in final causes, tragic theory focusses on teleological interpretations: the goal of tragedy, according to Aristotle, is to elicit catharsis from the audience. In a Newtonian age full of motion and equal and opposite reactions, tragedy becomes a dramatization of colliding moral forces, as exemplified by Hegel. And in ages interested in psychology, tragedy becomes a battleground of conscious and unconscious drives, as exemplified by Nietzsche.Today’s world is increasingly interconnected with the result that local bets carry global implications: think of the Great Recession, Fukushima, Deepwater horizon, artificial intelligence, and gene editing. As such, there is a popular fascination with risk: what happens when low-probability, high-consequence events derail the perfect bet? Theatre can tap into this fascination by reimagining tragedy as a theatre of risk. In the risk theatre interpretation of tragedy, heroes’ best-laid plans are upset by low-probability, high-consequence events such as Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane Hill. To see how this new model of tragedy works, the writer has teamed up with Langham Court Theatre to inaugurate the 2019 Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Competition, the largest playwriting competition in the world dedicated to the writing of tragedy (see risktheatre.com).Short BioEdwin Wong received a MA in the Classics from Brown University, where he concentrated in ancient theatre. He is currently finishing a book on tragic literary theory, The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected. He lives in Victoria, BC.