Call for chapters, visual essays and intermedial transmission for peer-reviewed book.

Institutions are, by definition, foundational, architectural, disciplinary, symbolic and generally fixed in nature. Aligned with well-established patterns of behavior, they are inherently performative. How do current institutions therefore perform – academically, spatially, custodially and structurally – and how can their performances be critiqued and re-designed?   

In January 2018, the 3rd International Performance Design Symposium was held in Fara Sabina, Italy; gathering performance designers, artists, architects, theorists, researchers and educators from more than ten countries to present, develop and workshop ideas - existing and conceptual – regarding how institutions can be rearranged, restructured and reimagined – as academy, architecture, organization and provocation.

Since it was instigated as an emergent interdisciplinary field in 2004 – focusing on designing performance and performing design – Performance Design has become institutionalized and incorporated into universities as well as international events such as The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design & Space and World Stage Design’s global performance design festival. In the same period institutions such as universities, academies, conservatories, museums, galleries and festivals have fundamentally changed, substantively and structurally, alongside cultural requirements and expectations: a combined result of aesthetic, social, global and political development. Playing into neoliberal capitalism, our institutional and individual performances are being designed, assessed and closely monitored: generally working against criticality and experimentation upon which creative fields are predicated. As theorist Jon McKenzie suggests we find ourselves having to “perform or else”.

Performance Design is now therefore at a crossroads. Is it still a transdisciplinary creative arts paradigm or has the time come for Performance Design to (de/re)institutionalize as an independent post-disciplinary research field and artistic paradigm that resists institutionalization: including and influencing physical museums, theaters, universities and academies, as well as venues, cities, technologies, materials and event genres?

In this proposed anthology, we draw inspiration from critical thinkers such as Jane Rendell Chantal Mouffe, Felix Guattari, Isabelle Stengers, Jacques Rancière, Pelin Tan and the Silent University, Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, Nikolaus Hirsch and Markus Miessen among others. Whilst the relevance of these perspectives for “institutional polity” (Miessen), and more specifically Mouffe’s “counter-hegemonic practices” and Moten and Harney’s “undercommons” are evident, the publication’s editors invite contributors to reflect – through written scholarship and creative practice – on how such approaches might inform new critical encounters with/as or away from institutions.

Therefore, with a view towards an epistemological transformation, this anthology aims to expand upon the recent discourse on institutional engagement through aesthetic resistance within the broader context of pedagogical practices and methodologies of artistic research with a focus on themes addressing institutions as Place, Body, Event, Atmosphere, Commons, and Desire.

The book is currently themed and co-edited in four sections as follows: -

  • Academy/Pedagogystructures of care (instituting the new)  
  • Places of Representation: desiring change (queering the house) 
  • Cultural Practices/Issues: manifestos & critiques (performing against discipline)
  • Performances/Events: testing grounds (redesigning through eventing) 

We welcome contributions from fields outside (but pertinent to) the study of performance and design. Contributions may include scholarly essays (5000-8000 words, incl. maximum 5 illustrations over 15 pages), visual essays (800-1500 words, incl. maximum of 18 illustrations over 12 pages), and manifestoes/statements/narrations that do not fit neatly into the current discourses and paradigms; presenting models of critical engagement or discussing material instances of the realization of institutional critique through performance design practice.

We hope that many of you would like to participate in this peer-reviewed book project

Proposals (of max. 300 words) should be sent to Performing.Institutions@gmail.com before August 20th.

 You will hear back from the Editorial team in October 2018. 

The deadline for full articles and essays is January 15th 2019 to be able (as we plan) to present the publication in the Summer of 2019.