Conveners: Marcela A. Fuentes, Sophie Toupin, and Alessandra Renzi


This workgroup invites artists, scholars, and activists whose work investigates tactics of engagement and opposition through performance and media. We understand tactical media to include the body, imagery, sound, new media, cutting edge technology development, objects, and text. The workgroup will discuss the relationship between means and ends, how media shapes that which we strive for, tactics of making legible and disrupting technologies of power, the role of the audience as participants in open-ended tactical media performances, and the potential of tactics of engagement to generate new forms of association and autonomy beyond dynamics of antagonism.

Related themes and issues:
Tactical media in transnational social movements, its effectiveness, ways in which performance and/ as media redefined notions of political efficacy.
Media choreographies: what notions of embodiment and social mobilization do tactical media advance? What forms of dis/engagement are called forth through media tactics?
Trans-media. How have practices of resistance evolved to include new tactics that address changing power configurations? How does this transfer take place and what does it convey about understanding and intervening on current scenarios of oppression?
New media limitations such as the digital divide, individual vs. collective agency, the conflicting participatory imperative, different contexts and their agendas (digital literacy, State-regulated programs, politics and lives not accounted for in current community media projects).
The relationship between social movements and the rapidly changing media ecology.
Temporality of media tactics. Long-term change (such as media pedagogy and access to media production) vs. tactical media actions as event (media used to disrupt, reveal, mobilize).
Shortcomings of framing activism through “tactics.” What other conceptualizations of means and ends through performance may we advance? What are the local terms describing a plan of action and the media utilized to mobilize it?
Choreography as analytic lens. What does this framing contribute in regards to thinking about bodies, media, tactics.
Troubling the politics of media tactics: Right-wing and conservative mobilizations. Struggles over symbols, slogans, hashtags.
Indigenous media. How are cosmologies and ways of being in the world conveyed and manifested through tactical media in First Nations’ struggles?
Feminist and queer media. What notions of embodiment, bodies and identity or disidentification are mobilized through mediated performance?
Tactical media as interfacing race. Race as social configuration and the usefulness of new media practices in engaging the politics of racialization.
Performance art as tactical media. The symbolic, the aesthetic and the poetics of relation to manifest politics.
Interdisciplinary tactics: Conceptual art as tactical media.
Technologies of capture. Surveillance. Subjects, corporations, and the State. Privacy.
“Obsolete” media.
Online/Offline tensions and relations.
Locative media and geolocation as tactical media.
Hemispheric media: moving together, moving beyond. Cannibalism, hybridity, transcoding.


Our sessions will be structured around three components: discussions of critical essays that participants will have read in advance; presentations of participants’ work (scholarly essays, performances, or media practices); and practice as research, in which through hands-on exercises we will devise performances tackling different tactical media approaches to engage issues relevant to the city of Montreal.

Before the Encuentro, participants will be asked to send final project descriptions and papers. Conveners will assign a respondent to each paper or creative/ activist project. Respondents will provide feedback and lead discussion. Participants will also be responsible for reading the provided material and browsing digital case studies. Additionally, we will ask the group to bring ideas about media and performance in response to the issue of Manifest! as it applies to Montreal.


To apply, please upload a project description or a paper abstract (250-500 words max.) and a brief bio. Materials should be uploaded via the online application form before October 9th, 2013.

The work group will be limited to 12 participants.

Convener Biographies:

Marcela A. Fuentes is Assistant Professor in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her work explores social art tactics and activism across different platforms such as the Internet, surveillance cameras, mobile devices, and the street. Her book manuscript, In the Event of Performance: Media, Embodiment, and Political Action in the Americas, provides a cultural history of uses of performance and technology as techniques of control and resistance within transnational political economies. She co-edited with Diana Taylor an anthology of critical essays in performance studies that was released in Spanish by Fondo de Cultura Económica (Mexico). She also works as a director, performer, and dramaturge.

Sophie Toupin has worked for the past few years with non-governmental organizations in Canada and abroad, the United Nations and the Canadian government on issues ranging from community media, gender and ICTs, women, peace and security, social movements, and gender and access to justice, among others. She is passionate and engaged with community radio and documentary filmmaking. She is a 2012-2013 Research Associate with the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center in Massachusetts and an Associate Researcher with the Raoul-Dandurand Chair in Diplomatic and Strategic Studies, Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM). She holds a BCom (Information systems) from Laval University and a Master’s in International Relations from Aalborg University (Denmark).

Alessandra Renzi's work explores the linkages and relays between media, art and activism through ethnographic studies and multimedia projects. She collaborates with insuˆtv media collective in Italy and is co-creator, with Roberta Buinani, of Activism Beyond the Interface: the Sandbox Project, an art project located at the intersection between face-to-face and interface. Alessandra is Assistant Professor in Emergent Media in the Department of Art + Design and inn the Program in Media and Screen Studies at Northeastern University. Her book Infrastructure Critical: Sacrifice at Toronto's G8/G20 Summit, co-authored with Greg Elmer, is a companion to the forthcoming documentary Preempting Dissent: Policing the Crisis produced at the Infoscape Centre in Toronto. Alessandra's current reseach focuses on the design and socio-cultutural impact of participatory networks and social media platforms on practices of collaboration.

FaLang translation system by Faboba