Performing Elasticity


Performing Elasticity
Performance Studies international Conference #25: Elasticity
University of Calgary, School of Creative and Performing Arts
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
July 2-8, 2019

A site-specific, durational, participatory project unfolding throughout the time-space of PSi #25 in Calgary, Performing Elasticity brackets attendees’ experience at the conference as an elastic performance situation created through relational interactions within (and outside) the space of the conference. Completely dissolving into its context, Performing Elasticity encompasses attendees’ individual and collective gestures and interactions, mediating between the intimate and the expansive.

To signify your participation in the performance, we invite you to wear a “(performing)” button. Post pictures or videos of yourself wearing the button to social media with #PSi25, #PerformingElasticity, and #Performing_________, filling in the blank to spotlight your elastic performances in Calgary.*

The parentheses signify that an ongoing performance is always the subtext of any situation, undergirding the social structure and material conditions of the conference as a public sphere. We incorporate buttons as a material to signify individual and collective performances that are already happening in everyday life. Buttons are canvases or containers for ideas. Buttons are mini-billboards that transmit a message. A button operates within a situated context. A button is an extension of the body: the personal is political. A button is a statement piece – an accessorizing speech act. A button is a social sculpture.

While wearing the button, participants might choose to notice their thoughts, perceptions, and reactions; notice how they are performing their identities (gender, race, sexuality, class, ability, age, etc.); notice how they are physically positioning themselves in relation to others; notice how their performances change in response to various environments; and/or notice other conference-goers wearing the button. Blurring the boundaries between performer and spectator, Performing Elasticity playfully asks, where do our performances of the everyday disrupt, overlap, overflow, transgress boundaries, interrupt, and/or collaborate in unexpected ways?

We have presented iterations of this project at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (2016) and the American Society for Theatre Research Conference (2014). Find more information and images of the work here.

* Examples: #PerformingProfessor, #PerformingParent, #PerformingQueer, #PerformingFeminism, #PerformingBlackness, #PerformingIndigenous, #PerformingTrans, #PerformingLatinx, #PerformingDiaspora, #PerformingImmigrant, #PerformingPoet, #PerformingArtist, #PerformingLabor, #PerformingAcademia, #PerformingPrecarity, #PerformingLoveTrumpsHate, #PerformingFriendship, #PerformingPresence, #PerformingRobot, #PerformingParenthetically, #PerformingSocial, #PerformingSupercalifragilisticexpialidocious, #PerformingUgh, #PerformingICantEven, #PerformingPerformer, #PerformingActor, #PerformingSass, #PerformingFabulous, #PerformingCelebration, #PerformingAnxiety, #PerformingSelfCare, #Performing…..

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