CALL FOR PROPOSALS: On Institutions (Performance Research) – world

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: On Institutions (Performance Research)
Deadline date: October 27

Vol. 20, No. 4: ‘On Institutions’ (August 2015)
Edited by Gigi Argyropoulou and Hypatia Vourloumis
Deadline: 27 October 2014

The aim of this issue is to explore the relation between performance and institutions building on the premise that institutional structures are formed through repeated sets of practices, patterns and relations. Through a performance studies lens that approaches the figure of the institution as verb, the editorial thinking behind this issue considers how institutions are performance and in turn how performance practices may enforce or destabilise institutions and initiate new modes of organisation. Although often read as abstractions of seemingly objective, entrenched and systematic structures, institutions, whether formal or informal, are always social processes. Thus, if institutional constructions and resources are established through repeated modes of action and arrangements, how might certain performance practices constitute radical acts, becomings and socialities, and by extension, potential performances of instituting otherwise? The aim of this issue is to bring to the fore theoretical discourses and artistic production that explicitly negotiate with institutions through experimental praxes from within, through and beyond them.

At present, formal educational, cultural and art institutions, whether public or private, comply with neoliberal economic policies or prove un-sustainable. These conditions have spurred diverse opinions regarding the engagement and involvement with and within official institutions. Many argue for an exit as institutional re-structuring becomes increasingly complicit with market rules and neoliberal governmental agendas. As Boltanski and Chiapello amongst many others have shown, artistic practice and critique are often incorporated into the system as an extracted new set of values, attitudes and structures so as to re-legitimise dominant institutions. At the same time many argue that to effect change we must necessarily and simultaneously work from both outside and within current institutions as interconnected sites for social transformation. In what ways can performance practice critique or even attempt to change the conditions it often appears to serve?

In refusing an easy binary between the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of institutional frameworks and between artistic and social performance, the issue aims to offer insights into the ways all of us engage in practices of instituting while maneuvering within, through and against institutional parameters. Historically and in the present, dominating and governing institutional structures are constituted through hierarchical bureaucracies and divisions of labour bound up with the production, function and management of race, gender, sexuality and class. At the same time, the last two decades have seen what Athanassiou and Butler call a “perfomativity in plurality”: new global forms of organisation and resistance including guerilla art practices, activist-artist occupations of state-owned theaters, boycotts of art and educational institutions, worker-run factories, occupied square movements, emergent community assemblies and economies, self-organised art and publishing spaces, relational participatory structures and critical experimental performance. Questions on how practices of performance and mis-performance facilitate other forms of sociality play a key role in interrogating and re-imagining participation, collaboration, collectivity and decision-making. How can an emphasis on institutions as performance and performances of instituting or non-instituting offer examples of contingent and resistant forms, aesthetics, strategies, theories and methods? How do we constitute institutions as they constitute us? Finally, how can a theatre and performance studies approach on institutions augment and complicate current discourses of institutional performance and critique?

This issue seeks to bring together diverse approaches and methodologies of institutional critique past and present as well as propositions for new forms and alternative practices. The editors anticipate the inclusion of both articles and artists’ pages. We strongly encourage theoretical examinations, artists’ writings, analyses of performances, written exchanges and proposals from various fields.

Questions may include:
-The role of institutions and politics of resistance in the current sociopolitical landscape.
-Performance practices (including but not limited to theatre, dance, music, visual and performance art) negotiating with questions of institutional arrangements, borders, aesthetics and norms.
-Interrelations between institutions and performance practice. Effective modes of research, artistic practice and critical engagement and its relation to current institutions.
-Institutions as performance, institutions of performance, performance as institution and instituting or non-instituting otherwise.
-Can performance and cultural practice effect, challenge and re-invent current institutional formats?
-Performance practices as potential alternatives to ideas of hegemony and the “long march through institutions?”
-Performances of governance, institutionalised biopolitics, necropolitics and countering performances.
-What strategies and forms of performance may challenge established practices and ways of doing? Can performance produce new forms of institution?
-Performances within and against state and private institutions, including but not limited to the institution of language, economic and monetary institutions, algorithmic and logistical institutions, religious, health, educational and art institutions.
-Fugitive planning before, within and beyond institution: queer, feminist, black radical  traditions, interventions and the undercommons.
-New forms of instituting: collective, emergent, social and self-organised structures.

Beyond these guiding questions, we also welcome other responses to the theme. Contributions to the issue might take the form of articles, reviews, artworks, interviews, dialogues and manifestos.

Proposals: 27 October 2014
First Drafts: February 2015
Final Drafts: April 2015
Publication Date: August 2015

ALL proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to:

Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the Issue Editors:
Gigi Argyropoulou:
Hypatia Vourloumis:

General Guidelines for Submissions:
-Before submitting a proposal we encourage you to visit our website and familiarize yourself with the journal.
-Proposals will be accepted by e-mail (MS-Word or RTF). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side.
-Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send.
-DO NOT send images electronically without prior agreement.
-Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
-If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.


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