Activism and Performance: Embodied Gestures Beyond Representation

Coordinated by Marsha Gall

This workgroup proposes a space to build a dialogue around the role of performance as a key tool for intervention. Approaches to the efficacy of the body, live and online, through notions of conceptuality, parody, theatricality, the imaginary, utopia, and visibility, can help us to examine the many ways in which not only artists and cultural workers but also organizations and people in the streets have resorted to embodied behavior to make their concerns be heard.

Some initial questions are:

  • What kind of power formation do these performatic gestures assume?
  • What kind of knowledge about politics do these actions convey?
  • In which way notions about performance as, on one end, an ephemeral event destined to dissipation, and, on the other, as restored behavior, or embodied memory, can inform the force of the many endeavors undertaken under the guise of a “serious” performance?
  • Can we say that the performatic drive towards activism or the activist take on performance entail tactics that can potentially be staged equally across the Americas given the fact that they work beyond language issues? How does the local vs. global play out in this regard?

The workgroup intends to constitute a place for the circulation of ideas, potential collaboration and case studies presentations thus opening the possibility of building a network towards the future.


Andrea Maciel Garcia, Fernando Salis, Fabiane Borges, Ilona Dougherty, Erin Freeland, Lia Gladstone, Guy Sioui Durand, Carla Melo, Katherine Nigh, Anadel Lynton, Julie Nagam, Suzy Khimm, Teoma Naccarato, Raphi Soifer, Lyndon K. Gill, Carol Fadini