09 Inside Out: Play, Performance, and Practice-as-Research


For some time now, practice-as-research as a political and epistemological principle has interpellated hegemonic formations of knowledge, blurring spaces and temporalities of cognitive experience and meaning making, and turning traditional notions of perception, action, and embodiment inside out. This work group invites artists, scholars, and activists whose work employs performance to mobilize and/or theorize affective power, knowledge production, and collective politics, thereby broadening current understandings and approaches to practice-as-research. Putting in conversation theories of affect, play, and politics, we aim to explore creative research that engages performative and media-specific processes of hegemonic control, strategic subversion, and spontaneous formation. Questions that will frame our conversations are: How can performance be used as a method for tracking strategies of (de)saturation, disorientation, sensorial recalibration, (de)subjectivation, and collective excess? How can research composition perform affective epistemologies of thinking/feeling as well as address situations and multitudes rather than individuals? How might playful renderings of our political present combat “compassion exhaustion,” “wokeness” and platitudinal liberalism in order to make space for in-depth solidarity and systemic transformation? How can humor and play offer, not only tactics, but also structures of emancipation?  

Format and Structure:

We invite artistic, ethnographic, and theoretical analyses of events or practices that use performance as a method to understand and/or respond to affective-driven politics.

Possible Topics include:

  • Hemispheric iterations of practice-as-research
  • Play and media technologies: mimicry, competition, chance and vertigo
  • Affect and the flesh: political mediations
  • Machinic saturation: re-tweeting, over-sharing, and binge-watching
  • Agnotologic capitalism: ignorance and the post-factual
  • Networked mobilizations and meme insurgencies
  • Bots and trolling performances as “playing with”
  • Sensorial decolonization, delinking, fugitivity
  • Swarm formations and distributive selfhood
  • Disidentification 2.0
  • Anarchic responses to neoliberalism
  • Stillness, slowness and withdrawal
  • Delinquent aesthetics and uncaptured pleasures

Our sessions will be structured around two main components: discussions of critical essays that participants will have read in advance, and presentations of participants’ work (scholarly essays, performances, or tactical media practices). Conveners encourage participants to explore performative modes of presenting their work during the meetings. Before the Encuentro, participants will be asked to send final project descriptions and papers/ scripts/ experimental writing pieces. Conveners will assign a respondent to each written piece and ask respondents to compose a 5 minute reaction paper assessing the project’s engagement with and contribution to the work group questions.

Languages spoken/understood by conveners:

Portuguese, Spanish, English


Pablo Assumpção Barros Costa teaches in the Graduate Program in the Arts and the Dance Undergraduate Program at the Universidade Federal do Ceará (Fortaleza, Brazil). His research interests include practices of experimental ethnography, theories of embodiment, performance art and urban space, and queer theory. He is Editor-in-Chief of Vazantes (Journal of the Arts), in Brazil, and served as Global Visiting Scholar at New York University’s Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality in 2017.

Sebastián Calderón Bentín teaches in the Department of Drama at New York University. His research interests include performance theory, mass media, and Latin American cultural studies. His writings have appeared in the journals Theater Survey, TDR, Identities, and Istmo as well as book anthologies such as Neoliberalism and Global Theaters (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and Support Networks (University of Chicago Press, 2015). As a theater-maker he has collaborated with Witness Relocation, Anna Deavere Smith, John Jesurun, Ann Carlson, Faye Driscoll, Tim Etchells and Matthew Goulish’s Institute of Failure, and the International Contemporary Ensemble, among others. He performs frequently with the Chicago-based theater company Every House Has a Door and is founding member of the performance duo Donovan & Calderón.

Marcela A. Fuentes teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her work focuses on performance and digital networking as tactical tools in contemporary insurrectionary movements. Through the concept of “performance constellations” she examines how practices of hacktivism, social media protests, memes, digital storytelling, flash mobs, and other technopolitical performances redefine notions of liveness, site-specificity, and embodiment as crucial aspects of transnational mobilization. She is currently on the Editorial Board of HemiPress, a digital publication initiative by the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. She is  a member of the feminist collective “Ni Una Menos” (Not One Less), and an External Consultant for the Buenos Aires Performance Biennial.

Christine Greiner is Professor in the Department of Body Languages, Graduate Program of Communication and Semiotics and the Undergraduate Course of Communication and Body Arts at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil. She is the author of several books and articles on Contemporary Dance and Performance, Japanese Culture and Philosophy of the Body, including Readings of the Body in Japan and Cognitive Diasporas (2015), and Fabulations of the Japanese Body and Microactivisms (2017), both published by n-1 Publications (São Paulo, Brazil).


  • Adam J` Scarborough
  • Alma Martinez
  • Andre Carreira
  • Carminda Mendes André
  • Celia Vara
  • Elia Arce
  • Enzo Vasquez Toral
  • Evan Pensis
  • Hannah Schwadron
  • Isil Egrikavuk
  • Jean-François Côté
  • Jeff McMahon
  • Karen Schupp
  • Lo Bil
  • Lua Girino
  • Marlon Jimenez Oviedo
  • Melissa M. Wilcox
  • Zena Bibler
  • Marco Vidal