Conveners: Gina Beltran and Julieta Maria


This work group will examine how art and performance politically charge public spaces to make manifest and open to view the unspeakable, absent, hidden, and unseen.  Focusing on the concepts of violence, memory, and trauma, the group will discuss how artwork and performance become points of intersection where the spectator confronts the experience of the other. Considering the silence, disintegration of structures and language, and the precariousness of thought and critical tools that surround terror and traumatic experience, the aim is to explore the way in which artistic practices name, make visible, and give form and meaning to the irreducible and inscrutable nature of violent experience. Possible questions that participants are encouraged to investigate are: How does artwork and performance transform public and everyday spaces into political ones? How does art produce spaces that depict trauma and begin to articulate collective memory? What mechanisms, strategies, or languages do artists develop to narrate the unspeakable and give form to the unseen? What are the ethical implications of seeing and confronting others’ lived violence and terror through art, theatre, and performance? Art forms to consider are sculpture, theatre, performance, art installations, and happenings, among others.


The group will share writing and work samples prior to the 2014 Encuentro to initiate dialogue among the participants. Sessions will integrate scholarly research, artwork discussion, and performance pieces focusing on participants’ presentations followed by general discussion. Projects should preferably be discussed as work in progress open to the possibility of joint and collaborative work/projects after the Encuentro.

The group is open to artists, performers, students, and researchers of theatre, performance, and visual arts who are interested in the theme.


Applicants are invited to upload brief paper abstracts or performance outlines/rationales detailing their potential contribution to the discussion and a bio. Materials should be uploaded via the online application form before October 9th, 2013.

This working group will be limited to 10-12 participants.

Convener Biographies:

Gina Beltran recently completed her Spanish PhD at the University of Toronto and is currently a Visiting Fellow of the Latin American Studies Program at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, titled “Violence and Performance on the Latin American Stage,” uses violence as a theoretical framework to discuss and reconsider the political bearings of the Latin American theatre of the sixties. Her current research further expands her interest in violence and performance from an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing primarily on Colombian narrative, theatre, and visual art. She is recipient of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Doctoral Scholarship, and has carried out research and presented her work on theatre and performance in Cuba and Argentina.

Julieta Maria is a Toronto based new media artist with an MFA from York University.  She works with a variety of media, including video, interactive video installations and web. She has participated in several international screenings and exhibitions, including Scope Basel in Switzerland in 2010, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in Colombia in 2009, and the Interactiva Biennale in Mexico 2009, among others. During the past few years, Julieta has worked in the field of media arts as a facilitator, teaching workshops in video production, video editing, website development and digital story telling. She has also co-curated several Internet and media exhibitions. She is a co-founder of e-Fagia Visual and Media Art Organization in Toronto, where she is currently acting as the executive director.

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