[UPDATE] Book Project & Journal Issue: "Performing philosophy, philosophizing performance"

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
The Apollonian: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies


[Selected essays from the special issue and other essays will subsequently be published as an edited volume from a major academic publisher in 2018, following the publication of the issue]

Performance philosophy has been in development for the past decade as an interdisciplinary approach to performance studies. The contemporary global reality and political-economic situations have called forth performances that operate within new frames of reference and use new technologies. Understanding the complex politics of these new performances requires a fresh theorizing, a specifically contemporary philosophy of performance. The ‘crossover’ of performance and philosophy hybridizes the spaces between and around the two ‘conceptual personae’ (Deleuze and Guattari). The present areas of conceptual interrogation include radical interventionist studies of existing philosophies to place performance into perspective. However, there is a distinct bias towards the re-appropriation of philosophical concepts that already verge on the domain of performance studies or analysis. The politics of performance is multi-layered and multidisciplinary. Baudrillard had distinctly shown us how the Gulf War can itself be construed as an elaborate virtual performance, while Virilio has expanded performance into the hypermodern; social networking has acquainted us with ‘viral’ performances, whereas reality television, conceptual art and deterritorialized performances such as flash mobs have led to further layering of the ‘plasticities’ of performance (Malabou). Manuel DeLanda, commenting on the event of ‘virtual philosophy’, observes that the “simplest non-biological instance of spontaneous correlation between the probabilities of events is the behavior of materials near phase transitions.” Performance philosophy is at a phase transition that situates it broadly within the apex of evental politics of contemporary interdisciplinary studies.

The spaces of interrogation that are developed through the current intersection between philosophy and performance are similarly an interrogation of the event of performance. The performed/performative event intervenes on a plane equivocal to Žižek’s critique of ideology, ontology, and subjectivity, as well as Badiou’s inaesthetics, spanning the intraphilosphical liminality between art and ethics. The contemporary intersections between performance and philosophy may also be viewed as a revival of Actor-Network Theory (ANT), considering the interactivity made possible by technology and philosophy with performance. Agamben states, “The work of art has undergone a process of crisis which has led to its disappearance from the sphere of art with the result that today the performance and living praxis of the artist have tended to replace what we were accustomed to considering as ‘work’.” Which leads to the crucial question: does performance still construe as art? Or is it that the ‘mechanical reproduction’ of performance through technology has led to the superannuation of the performance artist and her/his art? Where does performance stand in the twenty-first century and how has it evolved from the twentieth century? What is the specific topology of contemporary performance philosophy? Does performance afford escalation to philosophy and vice versa? What are the interfaces of interactivity between performance and philosophy? What we seek to explore in the issue is, to borrow from the Prologue of Brecht’s “A Short Organum for the Theatre,” “an aesthetic drawn from a particular kind of … performance which has been worked out in practice over the past few decades,” or rather, in short, a definition for ‘contemporary performance philosophy’.

The issue seeks interactions of performance/s across genres and forms, plasticities, and temporalities. Philosophers and thinkers who have discussed performance and philosophy or expressed interdisciplinary concerns such as Adorno, Foucault, Althusser, Bakhtin, Ranciere, Laruelle, Levinas, Cixous, Derrida, Deleuze, Lyotard, Irigaray, Bruno Latour, Wolfgang Iser, Kristeva, Kant, Butler, Agambern, Jean-Luc Nancy, Horkheimer, Žižek, bell hooks, Eric Lott, C.S. Peirce, Moe Meyer, Shoshana Felman, Patrice Pavis, Susan Sontag and Raymond Williams among others are near canonical as a plethora of publications have assessed performance in the light of concepts developed by these thinkers. Furthermore, the question ‘performativity’ also add its exponents from analytical philosophy including, most prominently, J.L. Austin, Wittgenstein, and Stanley Cavell. We seek essays that critically engage with existing links between performance and philosophy and also forge new connections. Recent publications such as Post-Cinematic Theatre and Performance (2014), Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance (2012), Identity Performance and Technology (2012), Deleuze and Performance (2009) among others tend to look at performance from interdisciplinary perspectives, whereas works such as Performance: A Critical Introduction (1996), Richard Schechner’s Performance Studies: An Introduction (2002), and Performance: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies(2003) are early presentations of the theoretical framework of performance studies. The present issue and the consequent volume will act as a continuation of Schechner’s collaboration with Victor Turner, Between Theatre and Anthropology (1985), tuning it more closely towards a paradigm ‘between theatre and philosophy’.

This special issue of The Apollonian seeks original critical papers that explore new intersections between philosophy and performance from a variety of perspectives. While studies of the contemporary or near-contemporary theatre are welcomed, analyses of other forms of performance as detailed below are highly encouraged. We also seek essays that critically assess or offer synoptic views on philosophical discourses of performance. Themes may include, but are not limited to:

  • Philosophy of Performance
  • Non-traditional/non-representational performance
  • Postmodern performance
  • Digital performance
  • Cinema contra performance/Cinema pro performance
  • Phenomenology of performance
  • The Origin of the ‘Technik’ of Performance
  • Dialogue and post-dialogue in/of performance
  • Theatre of ‘nothingness’
  • Performance and Presence/Absence
  • Performance and Difference/Différance
  • Semiotics of performance
  • Rhizomic Performances
  • Queering Performance
  • Performance and Violence
  • Connective Performance/s
  • Transcultural Performance
  • Postcolonial performances/Performing Bollywood
  • Performance and Gender
  • Performance and Sexuality
  • Performance and Language
  • Architectonic/architecture of performance
  • Performing Cartographies

Selected papers from the issue will also be published in an edited volume due to be published by a reputed international academic publisher in 2018. Standalone submissions for the volume will be accepted too. Please direct any queries to the journal’s email address.

Papers of up to 8000 words using MLA referencing style, accompanied by an abstract within 300 words, must be submitted using the online submission interface on the journal’s Submission page by the 31st August 2017. Please note that the Word file must be named “Submission-Dec 17-Author Name” e.g. Submission-Dec 17-John Smith, to avoid confusion. Before submitting, please prepare your manuscript following the journal’s guidelines which can be found here:http://theapollonian.in/index.php/submission-guidelines/.

Enquiries/ submission proposals should be directed to the Editors atapollonianjournal@gmail.com