Conveners: Amelia Jones, Victoria Stanton, Alanna Thain, Sylvie Tourangeau, and Katherine Zien


Trans-­ is a prefix designating a movement or connection across or beyond what it precedes. It also signals change. As such trans- is intimately linked to the claims for performativity or performance, which connects (a performer and an audience, the present soon to be past act and future histories) and opens art to embodiment, fluidity, duration, and change. This work group expands upon the theme of “Trans-Montréal,” an event which a group of local scholars, performance artists, and theorists are developing for Performance Studies international 2015 (Montréal will be one of 15 international sites for the unfolding of the annual PSi interrelated conferences/events in 2015). We seek to engage with new participants interested in developing the concept of “trans‐“ in relation to performance and performance studies in general, but also in relation to local geographies, whether the participants’ own or, in this case, Montréal: the location of Encuentro 2014 and, as noted, of a section of PSi 2015—a vital site of multiple modes of performance (including political protests—or “les manifestations”—performance art, theater, the cinematic, public spectacle, circus, dance), both a city and an island, situated in the flow of the St. Lawrence River in the heart of French Canada yet only miles from the US/Canadian border.

The following themes might organize our discussions:
Transmigration: of people (geographically), of art/performance (in space and time) Transaction: exchanges (socially; artistically; performance as exchange) Transformation: performance and time; performance and change
Translation: all enactments as translations; language as definer of difference; language difference as performative
Transidentification: identification as performative/ performance as identificatory; how do we engage others and define ourselves? Trans-­‐sexuality and other transidentifications


We seek to explore performance as intimately linked to various modes of “trans­‐“ as noted above. Continuing our strategy of meeting every 4-5 months to engage performatively with key questions raised by sub-­groups on the theme of “trans­‐,” we see structuring each meeting through a provocative text, performance, or performative gesture to provoke discussion and exploration. Those chosen for the working group will be invited to attend all Trans-­Montréal meetings prior to Encuentro (either in person or via Skype), and will be considered for the final program of Trans­Montréal in September 2015 as well as for the two publications being planned to document and substantiate the discussions and discoveries of Trans-­Montréal.


Please upload a curriculum vitae or resumé of 2‐3 pages and a summary or abstract (maximum of 300 words) defining your interest in the themes of the working group. Materials should be uploaded via the online application form before October 9th, 2013.

The group will accept a maximum of 5 external participants.

Convener Biographies:

Amelia Jones is Professor and Grierson Chair in Visual Culture at McGill University in Montréal. Her recent publications include major essays on Marina Abramovíc (in TDR), on feminist art and curating, and on performance art histories, as well as the edited volume Feminism and Visual Culture Reader (2003; new edition 2010). Her book, Self Image: Technology, Representation, and the Contemporary Subject (2006) has been followed in 2012 by Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts and her major volume, Perform Repeat Record: Live Art in History, co-­edited with Adrian Heathfield. Her exhibition Material Traces: Time and the Gesture in Contemporary Art took place in 2013 at Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia University, in Montreal.

Alanna Thain teaches Film and Cultural Studies in the Department of English at McGill University, and is also Chair of the Program in World Cinemas. She also co-­‐directs the Moving Image Research Laboratory, devoted to the study of the relation between bodies and moving image media. Her research brings together questions of affect, media and the body, with a special focus on contemporary cinema, animation, and screendance. Her book, Bodies in Time: Suspense, Affect, Cinema is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press. Her work on figures such as William Kentridge, Marie Chouinard, and David Lynch has appeared in journals such as Intermédialités, Parallax, differences and more, and in collections such as David Lynch in Theory. Her essay “Tendering the Flesh,” co-­authored with Virginia Preston, is forthcoming in TDR. She is also an editor of Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation.

Victoria Stanton is an interdisciplinary performance artist and writer who has presented her work in Canada, the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan, and Mexico. She co-authored Impure: Reinventing the Word (conundrum press, 2001), with Vincent Tinguely and is currently working on a book with the TouVA Collective (Anne Bérubé, Sylvie Tourangeau and Victoria Stanton) developing salient notions on how performance is practiced and on the question of ‘the performative.’

Sylvie Tourangeau is an artist and author who has been developing a discourse around the practice of performance art that has emerged principally out of a process of direct transmission and various discursive approaches. Since 1978 her work has focused on the transformative potential of the performative action. Her collective laboratories and individual coaching have created a space for the active experimentation and actualization of a performative consciousness. Recognized as a pioneering Canadian performance artist, her publications include a number of artist books and approximately 50 articles covering a wide range of performance practices from the late 1970s to the present. With the TouVA collective she was an official blogger for the international performance art festival VIVA! Art Action in 2011.

Katherine Zien is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at McGill University. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Zien’s pedagogy and research focus on theatre and performance in the Americas, with emphasis on the contributions of performance practices to the construction of ideological and cultural influences, identities, and bodies of memory. Her scholarship has been published in Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, The Journal of Popular Music Studies, e-misférica, Identities, and Global South. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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