On the Mundane--Performance Research Journal

deadline for submissions: 
September 5, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Eero Laine
contact email: 

CFPVolume 28, Issue 3 - On the Mundane

Deadline: 5 September 2022



Issue Editors: 

Sozita Goudouna, Goldsmiths, University of London

Eleni Kolliopoulou, University of Peloponnese

Eero Laine, State University of New York at Buffalo

Kristen Lewis, Osgoode Hall Law School and Gull Cry Dance

Rumen Rachev, Auckland University of Technology


This issue of Performance Research examines the mundane as an analytic of day-to-day performance and as an inspiration for art and performances. Here we consider the long histories of avant-garde and other artists who have embraced and highlighted even as they disrupted and destroyed the mundane and the attendant monotony and conventions of daily life. Despite the extraordinary events of the past few years, we continue to embrace and even rely on the mundane as an often-invisible structure to our lives and performative practices. Examining the mundane presents a paradox wherein the unexceptional is made notable or no longer mundane. This special issue takes seriously the potential expansiveness of performance to investigate that which is so commonplace as to be often overlooked. We thus invite the field to push the logics of performance through the lens of mundanity.

The topic of research into the mundane has a long and ongoing trajectory that expands into multiple academic fields. This issue, ‘On the Mundane’, seeks to expand the scope of existing related academic enquiry by considering how performance addresses the quotidian, especially as notions of the mundane often reverse the relationship between performance and labour, as well as models of value-production in the arts. Notable studies include the work of Ju Yon Kim, who examines the ‘racial mundane’ of day-to-day activities and Alan Read’s examination of theatre and the everyday. In sociology, Wayne Brekhus’s ‘A Mundane Manifesto’ (2000) calls ‘for analytically interesting studies of the socially uninteresting’. Brekhus argues that the emphasis on the ‘extraordinary’ shifts our focus away from the ‘ordinary’ and, ultimately, obscures the immediacy of the here and now. Another example is the short-lived Journal of Mundane Behavior (2000–4), which explored ‘the minor, redundant and commonplace scenes of life’ and celebrated ‘the majesty of the obvious’. The research into the mundane has reached further still to the fields of science-fiction studies, calling for a new field named Mundane Science Fiction and the related Cyborg Anthropology. 

Artists and scholars have engaged extensively with the matter of everyday phenomena. Performance can make the mundane and its ramifications manifest, as in the flatness of Chantal Ackerman’s performance of the mundane (trivial actions including cooking and housework) or Yvonne Rainer’s manifesto titled No Manifesto and Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975) whereby the artist highlighted unexpected nuances emerging out of the female body when routine actions are performed in the kitchen. Bruce Nauman’s 16 mm film piece Two Balls between the Floor and Ceiling with Changing Rhythms (1967–8) features the artist performing various mundane tasks. Martine Syms’s film The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto (2015) imagines a future as a continuation of the present, consisting of banal and ordinary experiences in a society that continues to struggle with white supremacy and racial injustice. Matthew Angelo Harrison, who works in the display of artefacts from the African diaspora, staged an exhibition addressing the complexities of collecting and displaying objects acquired by way of colonialism (Pew Center for Arts & Heritage).

Alastair Maclennan also addressed the mundane by blending use of everyday objects, simple actions to compose his own rituals. In Days and Nights he walked backwards at the ACME Gallery for six days and nights, drawing from walking meditation in Zen practices. Any ritual can be lifted from its original setting, argues Richard Schechner and can be ‘performed as theater just as any everyday event can be. This is possible because context distinguishes ritual, entertainment, and everyday life from each other’ (Schechner and Shuman 1976). In this way, an everyday action such as walking becomes a performative event owing to its duration, modality and the location where it is performed. Marilyn Arsem interacts with common objects that engage the audience in simple actions and enable a ceremonial aspect to emerge out of the mundane. Her project Fall in São Paulo was performed near an old Indian fig tree. The participants tried to catch the leaves in mid-air and then Arsem sewed them together. ‘People came and went, and the wind came less often’ (Arsem 2016). The artist’s statement reveals an approach of interconnecting forces incorporating human and non-human entities and to the ceremonial that emerges from the performance of mundane actions. 

We are interested in both theoretical considerations of the mundane or the seemingly insignificant performances of everyday life as well as artistic work that represents, reframes or otherwise engages the mundane. We believe this issue will open new conversations related to the limits of performance, while building on previous work related to the performance of mundanity. 

The Performance Research issue ‘On the Mundane’ welcomes contributions and will present the broadest possible perspectives with regards to the materials presented as well as the methods for approaching the mundane. Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Mundanity and the everyday
  • Performing the mundane/The mundane in performance
  • Theatre of the mundane
  • Mundane value and labour
  • Idle theatre, idleness, and the mundane 
  • The mundane and the sublime or the profound
  • The collaborative and the mundane/Shared mundanities
  • The mundane as failure or success
  • The materiality of the mundane/Mundane materials
  • Historical and contemporary connections between anthropology and sociology and performance studies
  • The mundane in science 
  • The ‘non-mundane’ or reactions to the mundane

We invite proposals for articles and shorter essays and provocations, including artist pages and other contributions that use distinctive layouts and typographies.

We also invite participation in an experimental collaborative encounter with the mundane. For this option, the editors will work with interested participants to collaboratively consider mundane, daily performances across the planet. Deep description and theorization of mundane daily performances together will map an array of performing mundanity. Working collaboratively, we aim to examine the mundane performances that people participate in each day, even as they are inflected by local geography, politics and customs. How does, say, crossing the street in Mumbai speak to the same mundane performance in Cairo, Ramallah, São Paulo, Vancouver? What mundane acts are performed each day by a billion people? How might we collectively theorize the shared performances of our often-mundane daily lives? Through these and related enquiries, we anticipate this section will curate a series of encounters with mundane performance across geographies and experiences. 





Arsem, Marilyn (2016) http://marilynarsem.net/projects/fall/, accessed 1 June 2022.

Brekhus, Wayne (2000) ‘A Mundane Manifesto’, Journal of Mundane Behavior 1(1): 89–106.

Maclennan, Alastair (1988) Days and Nights [live performance]. https://amaclennan-archive.ac.uk/2020/11/18/days-and-nights, accessed 1 June 2022.

Nauman, Bruce (1967–8) Two Balls between the Floor and Ceiling with Changing Rhythms [film], © 2022 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS). Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.

Rainer, Yvonne, (1965) ‘No Manifesto’, Tulane Drama Review 10(2): 168–78.

Rosler, Martha (1975) Semiotics of the Kitchen. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.

Schechner, Richard and Schuman, Mady (1976) Ritual, Play and Performance: Readings in the social sciences/theatre, New York: Seabury.

Syms, Martine (2015) ‘The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto’, https://rhizome.org/editorial/2013/dec/17/mundane-afrofuturist-manifesto/, accessed 1 June 2022.





Please send 300- to 400-word abstracts (with a 100-word author bio) for critical essays, artist pages, interviews, practice-research essays or provocations that attend to (but are not limited to) any aspect of the above. For the curated, collaborative mundane section, please indicate your interest and experience working collaboratively and a short list of mundane activities you are interested in thinking and writing about.


Issue Contacts:

All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to Performance Research at: info@performance-research.org


Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors via:

Sozita Goudouna, Goldsmiths, University of London, email: sozita@gmail.com



Proposals: September 2022

First drafts: December 2022

Final drafts: March 2023

Publication: May 2023


General Guidelines for Submissions: 

• Before submitting a proposal, we encourage you to visit our website (www.performance-research.org ) and familiarize yourself with the journal. 

• Proposals will be accepted by email (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (RTF)).

 Proposals should not exceed one A4 side. 

• Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send. 

• Please include the issue title and issue number in the subject line of your email. 

• Submission of images and other visual material is welcome provided that all attachments do not exceed 5 MB, and there is a maximum of five images. 

• Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere. 

• If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in the first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article, you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.