Intersections between theatre, performance, and philosophy; global performance and research; new media and the philosophy of technology; feminist aesthetics; critical art practice and critical theory; theatre directing; installation art; digital humanities; communication.
“Worlding,” “the world of the play,” “making a world onstage”: these are common ways of talking about what happens in a theatre. But what do we mean by “world” and how do theatre and performance (re)frame the “world” in a global context? Drawing on insights from theatre and performance studies, philosophy, and histories of globalization, my dissertation, “Out of Concern: Performance Modes of Engaging with the World” (my PhD dissertation) theorizes performative forms of agency that have shaped the concept of “world” in capitalist, globalizing modernity.
The forms of agency under investigation are media that redistribute subjectivity and objectivity, restaging the relation between them. The agencies studied range from the Cartesian cogito to software (as a form of machine thinking) to plastics and the capitalist commodity, all of which pertain to what the dissertation terms “the material supersensible.” “The material supersensible” defines a region of existence that in certain ways transcends unaided human perception and lived experience.
Through a number of case-studies of performance work by transdisciplinary artists (including Annie Dorsen, Michelle Ellsworth, Pinar Yoldas, Daniel Peltz, and my own performance work), the dissertation shows that theatrical performance is very well suited to engaging with the material supersensible and that, through an “aesthetics of overidentification,” it has the potential to mediate between metaphysics and politics. The dissertation develops the notion of an “aesthetics of overidentification,” borrowed from Daniel Peltz (who in turn took it from Slavoj Žižek), to discuss modes of relating with material supersensible agencies and the complex social systems they undergird. An aesthetics of overidentification involves repetition with a sensible difference, a concept that I develop in the dissertation cognizant of the jazz aesthetic and Suzan-Lori Parks’ theorization of “Rep & Rev”.
RECENT AND FUTURE PROJECTS
“Finding Meaning in the Modern World: An Approach Through Max Weber and Martin Heidegger” (my master’s thesis in Philosophy) argues that the problem of loss of meaning (value) in modernity is tied to what I identify as the emergence of the disenchanted world as a dominant world picture. The thesis proposes a possible solution to this problem that builds on Weber’s notion of Verantwortungsethik (an ethics of responsibility) and on the Heideggerian concept of Sorge (care, concern).
The Performativity of Mathematics in Motion: building on my research in software and performance, this project explores algorithmic performance with a special focus on the relation between algorithmic writing and sound composition first observed by Ada Lovelace in her “Notes” to the English translation of Charles Babbage’s Sketch to the Analytical Engine. Investigating human and computer-generated algorithmic techniques through the work of both artists (Bach, Alan Berg, Xenakis, John Cage, Yoko Ono, Tara Rodgers, Laetitia Sonami) and software programs (the ILLIAC Suite, LISP), the book will aim to theorize the performativity of a mathematics (the “essence” of algorithms, so to speak) in motion.
Ways of World-making in Feminist Perspective: Through analyses of women’s writings, art and performance work, this project investigates embodied ways of thinking and habits of perception in an attempt to develop a conception of aesthetics around the notion of “world-making.” I take the notion of “world-making” from Margaret Cavendish, the seventeenth-century (proto)feminist philosopher and writer, who introduced “world-making” as a possible alternative to world-mastery in her Description of a New World, Called the Blazing World. By focusing on embodied ways of thinking and habits of perception, the project complicates Nelson Goodman’s influential work in aesthetics, in which the operative units of world-making are symbolic systems. I am especially interested in testing the possibilities of “world-making” in cultural contexts where post-communism has grown into neoliberal capitalism.