Artaud Forum 3: Theatre and Resonant Politics





Additional visual and audiovisual material is here:


Performing/Exhibiting Artists


Luis C. Sotelo-Castro

Luis Carlos Sotelo-Castro (PhD) is a Colombian artist-researcher now based in the United Kingdom. He currently works as lecturer in theatre studies and socially engaged practices at the Institute for Performing Arts Development, University of East London. His practice is performance-based. He typically creates live environments of memory in collaboration with other artists and participants from specific communities and locations. He has done work with and for internally displaced people, Indigenous communities, elderly people, and more recently Latin American migrants to London.

His (collaborative and solo) work has been featured as part of festivals and events such as Fierce!, The Northampton Music and Arts Festival, The Big Dance, and more recently, on Antony Gormley’s One & Other live sculpture project for London’s Trafalgar Square.

At the ARTAUD FORUM 3, he will present his installation-performance "A Citizenship Ceremony with a difference... performative archaeology of Colombian migration into London." Sotelo-Castro explores in his research the interconnections between cartography, presentation of self, memory, and performance. He has made recent contributions on this subject to journals such as Performance Research, RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, and M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture.

For his full bibliography of works, see

Broderick Chow / Tom Wells (The Dangerologists)

The Dangerologists are a physical and dance theatre duo based in London and Lancashire. Their work has been performed nationally and internationally at venues including Contact (Manchester), Dance Base (Edinburgh) and the Diskurs Festival (Gießen, Germany). Inspired by a diverse range of physical practices, including Contact Improvisation, contemporary dance, and professional wrestling, they explore a corporeal politics of friendship between bodies in theatre and camera based works that touch on labour, violence, love, and masculinity. Work Songs, their first full-length physical theatre piece has been hailed as ‘slyly humorous and physically gung-ho’ by dance critic Mary Brennan (Herald Glasgow). Their dance for camera, ROSE, was featured as part of the digital essay Kafka’s Wound by Will Self (BBC, The Space, and London Review of Books). They have lead workshops and presented research at international conferences including How Performance Thinks (2012) and Performance Studies International #18.

In their workshop, "Wrestling and Corporal Resonance – Politics between Bodies," Tom and Broderick will introduce grappling, fighting, and performance techniques drawn from professional and amateur wrestling (le catch et la lutte) and BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). Participants will be encouraged to bring their attention to tacit modes of knowledge and corporeal relationships in the work between bodies, transforming antagonistic physical techniques into an agonistic physical dialogue.

The Dangerologists will also be presenting an excerpt of their next performance project, tentatively titled On Losing One's Shirt


Joumana Mourad (IJAD Dance Company)

Joumana Mourad is a dancer, choreographer and the artistic director at IJAD Dance Company.
Joumana is of Lebanese and Argentinean origins and both cultural influences have informed her work: her
movement language, which is a hybrid of a range of styles such as Raqs Sharqui, physical theatre, contemporary and neo-classical but the outcome is essentially contemporary.

She is drawn towards immersive forms for engaging her audience. Her early dance training began in Beirut and continued at the Laban Centre, London. Following the completion of her MA in Dance and Choreography at Middlesex University Mourad has created productions for IJAD as well as choreographing for a diverse spectrum of organisations that include; Jumeira Productions, Piedo Dance Company USA, Polite Company, the National Youth Music Theatre Company and US Advertising Agency Big Photographic.

As a filmmaker she has created two short films, A Point of No Return, and most recently, A Blind Eye Turned,
which was filmed entirely underwater in the Lebanon. A Blind Eye Turned, which forms part of IJAD’s production Pas de CinQ, was screened as part of Dance on Screen Festival at The Place Theatre, London. Throughout the past 14 years, IJAD has gained a reputation from audiences and critics for its innovative approach to stage performance. Her work has toured internationally.

In-Finite is a social , multi-media dance adventure which transforms our notions of the traditional theatre experience into a multi-platform, dual reality event. This film is from the launch on March 8th at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London, where audiences were asked to use social media to react, interpret and respond to the artwork, not just with those around them, but with those watching online around the world. Check out #shhh2013 to see the global conversation which took place and add your experiences, continuing the conversation with those who who’ve seen it and those who
will see it live and filmed in the future. The work explores the quirky, sad, curious and fun realm of secrets. We keep them inside our bodies, hidden. Everybody has them and they reveal an interesting cultural and political commentary. What happens when they’re released through dance? Watch and find out.

Jouman's workshop on Sunday: Turning Social Media into Creative Media is based on the basic assumption that
the role of performance is to evoke a response from the spectator. This can happen anywhere, be it a theatre or on the street; the only thing required is a performer and spectator. Protest is performance. The spectator is urged to change their opinions, to feel, to react and to be moved to action. Social media is being used to co-ordinate, to control and to communicate during protest – the riots of 2011 being a perfect example of this. In this workshop IJAD is exploring how social media can be used as an interpretive tool to create theatre and collaborate with other artists – and the general public.

This workshop will explore techniques of generating resonance in a mass assembly. It looks at how technology such as twitter can bind a group, not just in action, but in unified ideas and expression. It develops techniques whereby a mass assembly can work together – instantaneously, to evoke unified and individual meaning to spectators. The physical location of the performance will then be rooted through geo-virtual embedding in programs such as facebook and google maps and geo-thematic embedding of places of significance in the same manner.

In this way a trail of film, image and sound is left in places of significance on the internet along with social media trail such as hashtagging which anyone around the world can view and therefore participate in as it happens. In this way the spectator is not only the person viewing protest on the street - but the person viewing online. This has the ability to mobilse people who cannot leave their physical location to participate (e.g. those working in offices). They can join in online to populate the protest area virtually. Their content shows they are supporting – but not only passively – it is collaborative with protestors at the site, making them even more representative of the general population in a direct manner rather than tacit. This enables physical performance to integrate further into political protest.

The workshop will start with the messages sent through social media from the riots. Each participant will find a way of internalising the message and interpreting it symbolically into social media. These will then be physically interpreted in movement as a shared assembly of bodies which will then inspire further social media sharing through film, video and sound recording.

• Smartphone + any other portable technology which can capture image, sound, video or
connect to social media.
• Loose clothes to move in.
Although this workshop involves exploration using the body, participants who are not comfortable with this do not have to take part in the performative elements. The workshop can also have spectators.


Jon McKenzie

Jon McKenzie is Director of DesignLab, a digital composition center, and Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, where he teaches courses in performance theory and new media. He is the author of Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance (Routledge 2001) and such articles as “Global Feeling: (Almost) All You Need is Love,” “Performance and Globalization,” and “Towards a Sociopoetics of Interface Design.” He is also co-editor of Contesting Performance: Global Sites of Research (Palgrave 2011). McKenzie has also produced a number of experimental video essays, including The Revelations of Dr. Kx4l3ndj3r (2012) and This Vile Display (2006), and gives workshops on performative scholarship and smart media. His work has been translated into a half-dozen languages.

On Saturday evening, in Studio 101, Jon's film The Revelations of Dr. Kx4l3ndj3r (2012) will be presented in al all evening screening alternating with IJAD Dance Co's In-Finite.

Keynote: "Remediating Performances: Strange Politics of Higher Education”
In 1969, English professors at the University of Wisconsin declared that freshman writing courses were no longer needed—and summarily fired hundreds of teaching assistants who had connected their classes to contemporary political events. Decades later—and months before the start of Occupy Wall Street—teaching assistants led the 2011 Madison Uprising against the abolishment of collective bargaining, a protest staged by 100,000 students and teachers, police and firefighters, parents and children. Though the state capitol was surrounded and occupied for weeks, the US national media—and the National Democratic Party—largely ignored this uprising, and Republican Governor Scott Walker succeeded in abolishing collective bargaining, effectively ending the nation’s oldest teaching assistants union. Many histories connect and disconnect these events. This presentation explores one: the strange politics of higher education, specialized research, and scholarly communication.


Sophie Nield

Sophie Nield teaches theatre and film at Royal Holloway, University of London. She writes on questions of space, theatricality and representation in political life and the law, and on the performance of ‘borders’ of various kinds: the US/Mexico border; the former site of the Berlin Wall; the problem of the corpse in representation. She also has research interests in film (particularly Expressionism, Noir and paranoia film) and nineteenth century stage-craft. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Performance Studies international, and sits on the Executive Committee of the Theatre and Performance Research Association.

Keynote: 'Resonance and Representation: Playing the People in the Public Sphere'

Inspired by Egypt's Tahrir Square protests, which took place in Cairo as part of the' Arab Spring', by resurgent student activism and occupations protesting changes to university funding regimes, and by the Spanish anti-austerity movement, a group of anti-cuts protestors set up camp on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London on 15 October 2011. This action was one of hundreds of similar protests staged simultaneously across the world, as 2010 and 2011 saw unprecedented levels of mass, continuing and widespread occupation of public space, in what became known as the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement, or, simply, 'Occupy'. Drawing on recent commentary by Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky and others, and addressing concerns arising from the fields of performance, geo-politics and protest, this talk will read into those gatherings questions of resonance and representation, asking - what is at stake for the public in the new public sphere? Who shapes the dramaturgies of theatrical resistance? And are we, the people, playing, or being played?


* * *


Performing Researchers


Stephen Bottoms

Stephen Bottoms is Professor of Contemporary Theatre & Performance at the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures at University of Manchester.

Abstract of research presentation: "Almost Irresponsibly Optimistic: Revisiting the Stanford Prison Experiment"

One of Foucault’s paradigmatic sites for the disciplining of bodies was of course the prison. During the same early 1970s period when he was writing Discipline and Punish, the prison was under sustained examination in both news media and popular culture – viewed both literally and metaphorically as epitomising the state control of dissent.
It was in this context that social psychologist Philip Zimbardo conducted the classic case study known as the Stanford Prison Experiment (1971), in which a group of similar, college-age young men was arbitrarily divided into guards and prisoners, and required to improvise role-play in a mock prison environment. The SPE has been much commented on in psychological literature, but the circumstances surrounding it suggest that an examination in terms of culture and performance might be equally fruitful. Zimbardo established his psycho-prison drawing on tropes borrowed from prison movies such as Cool Hand Luke (1967), and confesses that he was far from being an impartial experimenter: his sympathies, very much in tune with the revolutionary spirit of the times, were with the imprisoned rather than their guards.
Zimbardo’s hope was that the prisoners in the SPE might find ways to model resistant behaviour that could then be analysed – discovering a resonant, performative politics of commonality. (Although given that Zimbardo’s funding came from military sources – i.e. the US Office of Naval Research – one suspects that repressive rather than liberatory uses might also have been found for such information.) In practice, however, this goal proved naively optimistic. What the SPE modelled more clearly than prisoner rebellion was the ability of the guards to find highly creative means of repressing and humiliating the bodies under their control. The SPE became a “theatre of cruelty” which suggested – perhaps – that ordinary American citizens understood the means of disciplinary control far better than they understood how to combat them.
This 15-minute paper will rehearse some of the themes that I hope to present in a site-specific context, on the site of the original SPE, at Stanford University during the 2013 PSi conference.


Marios Chatziprokopiou

Marios Chatziprokopiou studied History and Theatre in Thessaloniki and Visual Arts in Paris. He holds a MA on Anthropology of Performance (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences of Paris), funded by the French Minister of Education and the Foundation Michelis. He is currently a PhD researcher and part-time tutor in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Aberystwyth, Wales, U.K. His PhD project has been awarded the Doctoral Career Development Scholarship. His research has been published in France, Greece, and Brazil.

Abstract of research presentation: From the “Mass Plague” to “Requiem for the End of Love”: voice, lament, and AIDS politics in the first half of the Greek 90’s

This paper examines two performances that addressed AIDS-related losses in the first decade of the Greek 90's: the concert “Mass Plague”, by the Greek-American Diamanda Galás (1990), performed at the Athenian Lycabettus theatre in 1991, and the dance-theatre piece Requiem for the End of Love, by Dimitris Papaioannou (1995), based on poetry by Demetrios Kapetanakis and music by Giorgos Koumendakis; the only Greek performance piece that has so far explicitly referred to the AIDS issue. By reading the material traces of these works and their impact on the Greek press, and by conducting interviews with both the artists and members of the audience, this paper aims to analyse how the experience of mourning AIDS-related losses has been artistically represented and sensorially received in each case. The focus will be placed on the uses of the female voice, related to the literal or metaphorical links to the genre of lamentation, and the various forms of textual decomposition or pure glossolalia. Both case-studies will be contextualized, starting from a comparative approach of the U.S. and the Greek historical and cultural experiences of the disease, but emphasizing on the latter, that has been highly marked by secrecy and silence. By doing so, this paper aims to examine the poetics of these artworks in relation to the politics of health, gender and sexuality with which they connect. Thus, the further goal is to explore the almost unspoken history of creative responses to AIDS in Greece, in the current moment of generalized economic and institutional crisis, that makes it re-emerge as an urgent, threatening issue.


Kélina Gotman

Kélina Gotman is a Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies and Convenor of the MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at King's College London. She received her PhD in Theatre from Columbia University and her BA in History from Brown and Oxford. She was Audrey and William H. Helfand Fellow in the Medical Humanities at the New York Academy of Medicine, and is a regular theatre and dance practitioner. She has published on philosophy and dance, neuroscience, cultural heritage and movement theory in About Performance, Choreographic Practices, PAJ, and others, and contributed to volumes including The Neuroscientific Turn: Transdisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain and Tanz und WahnSinn/Dance and Choreomania. She is translator of Félix Guattari's The Anti-Oedipus Papers (Semiotext(e)/MIT, 2006). This talk is drawn from her forthcoming book on dancing manias and the formation of the modern kinetic imagination.

Abstract of research presentation: Collective Revolt: Dance, Disorder and Plague

Georges Bataille, with Nietzsche one of the only philosophers to write about collective ecstatic dancing, argued like him that these were anomalies, paragons, in a world of petty individualisation and, in Bataille's analysis, an encroaching culture of control and market capitalism. When all one is meant to do is to accumulate wealth, prudently and efficiently, shunning excessive expenditures, dutifully toeing a capitalist line in which wealth is health, then ecstatic, disruptive spectacles - like potlatches - serve as thorns in capitalism's side. As such, manic dances become a counterargument to a protestant work ethic and ideals of economic productivity, flying in the face of reason, performing irascibility, destroying accumulated energy, and favouring a borderless collectivism over the individual good. I n "La notion de dépense" (1933) and La part maudite (1949), Bataille made a case for "wasteful" expenditure like non-procreative sex, death rites and dancing, which constitute a form of luxury that destroys petty bourgeois reserve and utilitarian reason. While his wartime analysis may not stand up to a contemporary culture of mandated dilapidation and corporate policies of planned obsolescence and waste, he articulated a forceful theory of unproductive expenditure that took surfeit - uncoordinated, energetic, and non-aesthetic - as necessary and good. This was not a gymnastics routine designed to keep the body fit so that it can be productive in other spheres (or constitute a self-enclosed economy of sanctioned aestheticism), but an excess of life spilling out and bursting into pockets of orgiastic disinhibition, nervous crises, and tumultuous depressions - what I am calling zones of intensity - as well as the destruction and circulation of material goods beyond the strictures of a modern system of accountancy..



Victoria Gray

Victoria Gray is a performance artist and writer based in York and London. Her performance work has been presented nationally and internationally and her writing has been published in the edited collection 'Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices (Intellect)', in the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices (Intellect) and Total Art Journal (Canada). She is part-time Lecturer in Dance at York St John University and co-director of O U I Performance (York). She is currently a part-time PhD Candidate at Chelsea College of Art and Design (London) researching modes of transmitting and visualizing affective experience in performance. For further information please see:


Abstract of research presentation: Beneath the surface of the event: The politics of affective registers in public space

As its point of departure, this paper takes Italian philosopher Maurizio Lazzarato's assertion that, 'Only an interruption in the flow of temporality can change subjectivity' (2010). It will discuss the production of contemporary subjectivity in and as a mode of durational performance that is affected by a plurality of temporal resonances in everyday life.
Drawing together examples from my own PhD practice-led research, I will discuss an interconnected series of three solo durational performance's in public spaces titled 'Pressure:Points' (2010 – 2012). The works were performed in the Borough of Hackney, London (2010), Brooklyn, New York (2011) and Cologne (2012) and their durations ranged from between one hour and six hours. Art theorist Maria Walsh (remembering Maurice Merleau-Ponty) asserts, 'Subjectivity is time' (2005) and therefore, this paper aims to articulate the dynamic equation between subjectivity, time and politics, through performance.
This triptych of performance's were conceived as gestural micro-interruptions. They aimed to shift the perceptibility of movement in everyday social contexts from kinetic to kinesthetic forces
through choreographic strategies of micro-gesture, repetition, stillness and extreme slowness. These micro-gestures, inserted into the fabric of the social, antagonized everyday spatio-temporal flow and made visible and 'sensible' (Rancière, 2004 ) that which is not supposed to be revealed.
By virtue of being sited in public spaces, the gestures within 'Pressure:Points' instantly composed and re-composed themselves in relation to the polyphony of rhythms detected in 'other' bodies. As a performer, actioning within these highly contingent sites called for a heightened perceptual attention to each moment and each body, producing an affective immediacy.
Whilst this paper is mindful of recent political events, (Arab Spring, Occupy movement and ‘Printemps érable’, Québec) it does not aim to represent a certain identification with a political ideology. Instead, this paper will propose that in the event of performance, the spatio-temporal antagonisms of 'Pressure:Points' caused a rupture or a dissensus, and therefore produced a politics of resonance. Put simply, an affective politics of time and space which does not 'belong' to the spatio-temporality of social organisational structures with which we are already entrenched. Durational performance in these instants of practice-led research re-worked the equation between subjectivity and time in order to produce political and plural subjectivities (Bakhtin,1990).
This paper is framed by theorists within the field of contemporary dance (post 1990's), particularly those addressing the political potential of movement, particularly Bojana Cvejic, Bojana Kunst and André Lepecki. I also draw upon parallel philosophical discourse particularly, John Protevi's 'Political Affect' (2009), Richard Shusterman's, 'Somaesthetics' (2000, 2002, 2008, 2012), Jacques Rancière's 'politics of the senses' (2004, 2009) and Guattari's 'chaosmosis' (1995).



Eve Katsouraki

Eve Katsouraki teaches at the University of East London


Abstract of research presentation: A life that is not worth living: powerlessness as resistance in praxes of political suicide

This paper revisits central questions that surround performatives of biopolitical praxis performed in the everyday life with a specific focus on examining the complex interrelation between power, powerlessness and resistance. If life has entered into the field of power and has become an essential issue of control (e.g. through management, domination, command) there also exist perspectives of resistance through the enactment of the capacity for freedom and transformation. By examining the question of value over “human” life, this paper seeks to uncover the biopolitical complexities of power and powerlessness in relation to acts of political suicide in the public as forms of political/economic resistance. The phenomenon of political suicide, which is currently most acutely experienced in countries such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, occurs when the subject suffers a sudden, yet heightened, sense of loss of personal (as well as a more widely political) economic stability or a significant fall in the individual’s living standards. For Agamben the inclusion of “bare life” in the political realm has given the political system the power to decide which life counts as “human” and worth living. Yet in acts of political suicide, the expressions of the subject’s sense of powerlessness are also powerful expressions that assert the subject’s sovereignty over his/her own existence. This paper therefore will explore political suicide as biopolitical praxes of resistance that perform the case of self-authorising the annihilation of life deemed unworthy of being lived in respond to the logic of value and theories of sovereignty according to which the true life of the rule is the exception. And by drawing on Agamben’s notion of ‘politicization’ of life, Lacan’s death drive as well as Bataille’s notion of the ‘limit experience’ and ‘the unknowing in relation to Rickert’s definition of ‘negation’ as the criterion by which to establish whether something belongs to the sphere of value and the true act of evaluation, this paper will propose a rethink of the threshold beyond which life ceases to have any value and therefore be killed.


Jochem Naafs

Jochem Naafs is a researcher, dramaturg, writer and live artist based in Utrecht, The Netherlands. He studied Theatre Studies and New Media Studies at the Utrecht University. In his work he constantly merges theory and practice. In his lecturing and research for the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) he focusses on collective and interdisciplinary creative processes in theatre and dance.
As a dramaturg he is connected to Stut Theater and currently works with choreographer Minke Elisa Brands. Previous years he worked as a dramaturg with theatre collective Powerboat, live artist Michael Pinchbeck, choreographer Jack Gallagher and with the participants of Choreoroam. He wrote articles and texts for various organisations and magazines. As a live artist he created two lecture performances at the HKU, the performance Pauze for Huis aan de Werf, and an alternate community game in the city of Utrecht.


Abstract of research presentation: Projecting on Der (kommende) Aufstand nach andcompany&Co

"I use we because I can use we. I use we because I silenced you and I can talk for you. I use we because I think we think this is important".

In this lecture performance I address the position of the artist in the socio-political field. Where do we stand as artists? Not only in the Netherlands, but in various European countries the position of the arts and the artist is changing. In a society that marginalizes the importance of the arts as part of the dialogue on all aspects of this society, artists need to re-approach their work and the context of their work. The artist was, is, and should be a major player in politics in the broad and narrow sense.
The German theatre collective andcompany&Co created a performance in collaboration with German, Dutch and Flemish actors and musicians that approaches current events like the financial and cultural crises, the occupy movement - using their resonating human microphone and hand gestures - the protest movement in France and connects these to historical events or traditions like the eighty years war and the origin of capitalism. By doing this they offer a alternative perspective on these current events and make people think about their own position in these events. I took the creative process of making this performance and the actual performance itself as a starting point for this presentation in the form of a lecture performance.
While focussing on my own position as a dramaturg in the creative process and as a citizen in the Netherlands and the European Union I introduce the audience to three subjects. First of all the creative process of andcompany&Co in the process of working on The (coming) insurrection following Schiller. Through this I talk about the position of the artist in society referring to the work of Willem Schinkel, Bojana Kunst, Kazimir Malevich and others. And as a third subject I talk about the position of the citizen in society by referring to Stephane Hessel, the invisible committee and Ani Difranco.
The lecture performance address the issue of participation in the arts and in society. I wander through socio-political issues, artistic choices, coming insurrections, laziness and squatting. In the end I get stuck in the middle, beginning to feel in-between. Hoping thats something resonates in myself.


Andrew Quitmeyer & collaborators Ava Ansari, Michael Nitsche

Andrew Quitmeyer is a polymath adventurer interested in discovering new means of exploring and sharing our world. A fascination with science, nature, and the unknown lead him to his current work designing and implementing subversive media, computer-vision animal behavioral research, and new forms of documentary. As a Digital Media PhD student at Georgia Tech, he studies "Digital Naturalism" in hopes of developing techniques and tools for engaging with complex environments, capturing and analyzing contextual, dense information, and expressing ideas in powerful new ways.

Ansari is an artist and curator. She has previously worked in curatorial positions at Basement Gallery, Dubai, and Silk Road Gallery, Tehran. She currently works at Aperture. As an artist, she has presented work at Dixon Place, La Mama, Eyebeam, the AC Institute, among others.Ava is the co-director of The Back Room, a pedagogical and curatorial project developed in collaboration with artists, curators, and writers in Iran and the United States founded in 2011.

Michael Nitsche works as Associate Professor in Digital Media at the School of Literature, Communication & Culture (LCC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he teaches mainly on issues of spatiality and performance in digital media. He is fascinated by the intersection of the digital with the physical domain and explores these borderline areas in video games, mobile technology, and digital performances. This work is conducted within the Digital World and Image Group, directed by Nitsche, and is funded by the NSF as well as industry partners such as Google and Alcatel Lucent.
Nitsche has contributed to numerous journals and conferences, his books Video Game Spaces (2009) and The Machinima Reader (2011) (co-edited with Henry Lowood) were published by The MIT Press.


Abstract of research presentation: Subway

Subway is a multinational process-based participatory performance project that addresses a repressive doctrine through creative digital mediation. The project combines a local public performance situated in New York City, by Ava Ansari, with performances held in Iran, by many volunteer participants, with the aid of digital media, by Andrew Quitmeyer.Men and especially women are not allowed to dance in public in Iran. Their expressive freedom is severely limited by this rule. So when Iranian performance artist Ava Ansari moved to New York she produced a short video as a response to this restriction, called "Dancing by Myself in Public."
In the video, she dances freely and uninterrupted in New York's Times Square subway station.
In her homeland, this behavior would be very dangerous and most likely penalized. She wanted to discover a way to share her performance back with her people in Iran, but even publicly displaying a video of her dancing would be considered too “profane” to be legally allowed. Ava's video formed the basis for a collaboration with the Digital World and Image Group at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Here, Andrew Quitmeyer designed a digital expansion of Ava's performance. The target was to carry the dance to Iran without explicitly breaking any rules or endangering any participant. The Subway project repurposes logic previously utilized by free-information advocates for sharing digital media with the goal of sharing real-world experience. As Manovich as argued, in the digital realm, we can break down media into core bits and dynamically re-use and transcode them. This quality of the digital can support activists and performers in practice as they can distribute shared media action and anonymously distribute information through tools like torrents in order to subvert spying authorities or evade intellectual property laws. Though performance, not IP, is banned in our situation, we can use the qualities of digital media. It allows us to break down Ava’s original dance into individual “poses,” which can be freely recreated in real public locations in Iran, and then returned to reconstitute her original dance. The dance constitutes through the mediation and the language of new media as well as through the physical involvement. Implementation
Quitmeyer split a large section of the video into its individual frames, breaking the dance into its discrete images. The contours of Ava's dancing body were then traced in each frame. The resulting stills containing these movement traces became the basis for an Android cell phone application that allowed others to re-stage the dance. The application shows a random frame of the dance with the dancer's contours as a visual guide.
Participants look through their phone and see these contours that allow them to stage a partner to take the particular position of the dance's freeze frame. They can photograph their performing partner when this re-enactment of the single frozen position is completed. These images gradually re-stage the dance frame by frame. This application, then, was made available to Iranian women and men. With the help of this application, these anonymous Iranian performers re-staged the individual frames of the dance in many different public locations. While dancing is forbidden, striking a still pose for a snapshot is possible. We collected hundreds of still images this way. All images were sent back to Georgia Tech, where they were re-assembled into a moving image clip.The result is a continuous dancing body that might start its performance in the Times Square subway station but whose movements continue frame by frame in Iranian public spaces such as streets, shops, living rooms, and indeed the Tehran subway. The activists' and performers' movements have joined together with the digital tool to permit a shared expression and form a dance that never really happened, yet that exists through the medium.
We propose to present the video and discuss our design and implementation at the forum and hope to contribute to questions that deal with the embodiment through media, live-ness, and the role of digital media as an activist tool.
Results: The reconstituted dance and further project documentation can be seen here:
To ensure the security of the Iranian performers, all the participants' faces were hidden. Dialogue: An additional option was added in an effort to create a dialogue and exchange between the artist and the participants: Iranian participants were encouraged to take freestyle poses, which were also collected. We consider these freestyle images as visual messages to the artist and part of an image-based dialog. While they are collecting the necessary poses to reconstruct the original dance, the Iranian participants can submit their own feedback in matching fashion to inform the US American partners. The final outcome of the project, thus, is twofold: the continuous dance re-assembled from the individual images following the original movement; and a collection of freestyle postures of anonymous Iranians in public places will guide a new dance performance in the US.
For this new piece, Ava will create a new dance based on these original freestyle poses. She will develop the performance as a duet: performing their dance, while screening them performing hers. In this way we hope to actively continue the collaborative and participatory discourse.



Participant Practitioners and Scholars


Vasilios Arabos

Vasilios Arabos had to cancel and sends his apologies - his presentation was to be on "Raindrop on Still Pond: Epiudauros as Point of Eminence and the Politics of Dampening in the Revival of Ancient Hellenic Theatre.:


Carl Lavery and Anwen Jones

Carl Lavery and Anwen Jones had to cancel due to an unforeseen schedule conflict. Their presentation was to be focused on "Artaud’s Infected Resonances (Or why you never catch a cold reading poetry)."


Yvon Bonenfant

Yvon Bonenfant had to cancel and sends his apologies. His presentation was to be on "A space for children’s voices: Release, containment, and technologies of expression in Uluzuzulalia."


Pam de Sterke

Pam de Sterke works (alongside Jochem Naafs) at Research Center of Utrecht School of the Arts' Theatre Faculty, and she also coordinates MAPLAB. MAPLAB is the tangible result of the research done within the research group Virtual Theatre, and was created in 2011. It is a studio space for research into the possibilities of interactive technology in a performative context (and translating this into didactic strategies). See: http//


Verónica Rodríguez

Verónica Rodríguez is PhD candidate at the University of Barcelona and research assistant for the project “The representation of politics and the politics of representation in post-1990 British drama and theatre” (FFI 2009-075981FILO) and member of "Ethical issues in contemporary British theatre since 1989: globalisation, theatricality, spectatorship"(FFI2012-31842), both funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. She is currently based in London working on her PhD thesis, which focuses on David Greig’s plays and globalisation. She has published in activate (article that looks at the influence that global media exert on bodies via the analysis of Greig’s The American Pilot) and given papers at Goldsmiths, Royal Holloway and International Conferences such as IFTR & ESSE. She is member of IFTR, CDE, and TaPRA. Her area of research is contemporary British theatre focusing on globalisation, the intertwined dimension of politics, ethics and aesthetics, formal experimentation, and spectatorship. One of the particular interests at the moment that brings her to the forum is the intersection between resonant politics as power in the context of global media hegemony and the reversible and sensing spatialities and corporalities foregrounded by theatre and performance and how those may generate modes of protest and intervention at present.


Daniel Ploeger

Dani Ploeger is an artist and theorist, living and working in London and Berlin. Dani's performance installations often involve cheap readily available medical and consumer technologies and explore themes around the technologized body, sexuality and vanity. His artwork has been featured in venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Basel, Experimental Intermedia in New York, para/site art space in Hong Kong and KipVis in Vlissingen, Netherlands. His writing in the field of digital art and cultural studies has been published in the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media and the Body, Space and Technology Journal , among others. He is also a permanent contributor to The Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory (Oxford University Press). Dani is a studio artist at ]performance s p a c e[ in London. A fter holding a position as Lecturer in Performing Arts at De Montfort University in Leicester, he was appointed as Lecturer in Theatre and Digital Arts at Brunel University London in 2012. His areas of competence cover a broad range of subjects from performance theory, cultural theory of technology and posthumanism to computer programming and electronic circuit design. This is reflected in a strong international performance and exhibition profile, higher education teaching experience in a number of digital art and humanities related subjects, as well as a substantial academic output in the form of conference contributions and publications. His doctoral dissertation, ‘Sonic Representation of Bodies in Performance Art,’ was supervised by Professor Nicholas Till, and engages with aspects of digital performance, current debates in media studies concerning technological mediation, non-humanist approaches to the performing body and cultural studies of sound. The practical part of the research project includes the development of sensor-based performance devices and programming of interactive software applications. Website:


Olga Danylyuk


Deena Dajani


Grant Peterson

Grant Tyler Peterson joined Brunel in 2013, having previously taught at Royal Holloway, University of London, University of Winchester, and Bath Spa University. Grant is an emerging scholar and has published work on a diverse range of subjects including British alternative theatre history, dance, gender, sexuality, and digital research methodologies. Grant holds experience as a performer in theatre, musical theatre, television and commercials, having worked in numerous venues throughout Los Angeles and Southern California. He was trained at elite programmes including the Orange County School of the Arts and the Ray Bolger Musical Theatre Program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In addition to receiving a BA at UCLA, Grant earned an interdisciplinary Masters degree in experimental theatre and dance under the guidance of Sue-Ellen Case and David Gere. He received Ph.D. funding from the Higher Education Funding Council of England (Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme) to study at Royal Holloway under the supervision of Professor Dan Rebellato and Dr. Chris Megson. This resulted in a project that examined British street theatre traditions and presented the first formal case study of one of England’s longest running – yet overlooked – street theatre troupes, the Natural Theatre Company.

Kirstin Smith


Mark Langley


Marlon Barrios Solano

Marlon Barrios Solano (Venezuela/USA) works as an independent movement/new media artist, researcher, on-line producer/curator, vlogger, consultant and educator. He is the creator/producer/curator of dance-techTV, a collaborative internet video channel dedicated to innovation and experimental performing arts and its social network, and co-produces the live streamed META_ACADEMY series of Research Performance Seminars and Artaud Forum events, with Johannes Birringer, for DAPLabTV.


Michèle Danjoux

Michèle is a fashion designer and fashion educator who has collaborated on a number of cross-disciplinary and publicly exhibited projects placing fashion design in a wider arts and cultural context, including Satellites of Fashion and Textures of Memory: The Poetics of Cloth. She has participated in numerous design and performance works and her design films have been shown at Wearable Futures (Newport), Digital Cultures (Nottingham), and DRHA (Dartington). The "Klüver" film installation of emergent design was exhibited at the Prague Quadrennial's "Design in Motion" festival, June 2007. An interest in the interactive potentials of wearables in real-time performative contexts has driven her ongoing artistic and research interests. Her Teshigahara collection incorporating sensor technologies premiered at DAP-Lab's Suna no Onna performance staged at Laban Centre, 2007, and was shown at “Inside Out,” Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, in 2008. Most recently, Danjoux has shifted her attention to the exploration and generation of audiophonic garments where the interrelations of sound and garment are prioritized together with the material – informational expressive sonic composition they provoke through gesture and the sensuality of wearing in performance. Her audiophonic designs for DAP-Lab's UKIYO [Moveable Worlds] were featured at KIBLA Media Arts Center in Slovenia and at London’s Sadler’s Wells in 2010; her new collection of werables for DAP-Lab premeired in for the time being (Watermans, London) in 2012, and selected garments and wearable constructs were exhibited at "Critical Costumes" and KIENTICA Art Fair in 2013. See:


Johannes Birringer (coordinator)

Johannes Birringer is an independent choreographer/media artist. Since 1993 he has been artistic director of the Houston-based AlienNation Co (, and his ensemble has shown work in Europe and the Americas. His film installation “Vespucci” toured Brazil in 2001; a dance film, “XU”, was created and exhibited in Beijing in 2004, and “Canções dos olhos / Augenlieder“ was featured at SARC, Belfast and the 2007 Dança em Foco in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His collaborative telematic installation “East by West,“ first shown at Festspielhaus Hellerau, was featured at DEAF2003 in Rotterdam; the music-film oratorio, “Corpo, Carne e Espírito,“ opened the 2008 FIT Theatre Festival in Belo Horizonte. He is co-founder of the DAP-Lab, and has developed research and performance works with the lab ensemble. The dance exhibition “Suna no Onna“ premiered in London in 2007 and was recreated at Watermans in 2008. DAP-Lab’s UKIYO [Moveable Worlds] was featured at KIBLA Media Arts Center in Slovenia and at London’s Sadler’s Wells in 2010, and a new dance work, "for the time being," was featured at Waterman's Digital Arts Festival in May 2012. His dance film, Lung Pulmo Pneumo, was released in late 2012.


With special thanks to

Dany Nobus , Pro-Vice Chancellor, Brunel University

Having worked as a Research Assistant at Ghent University (Belgium) and a Human Resources Manager in the Corporate Sector for many years, Dany Nobus moved to Brunel in 1996 to take up a post as Lecturer in Psychology. He was appointed Professor of Psychology and Psychoanalysis at Brunel in 2006, and subsequently became Head of the newly established School of Social Sciences. Since January 2012 he has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Strategy, Development and External Relations.He is the author of several books and editor of Journal for Lacanian Studies.


Volunteer Team Participants

Helenna Ren

Helenna is a multimedia artist/dancer who works in the field of digital performance, new media dance, video arts, arts installation and choreography. She has produced various solo projects, dance performances, and collaboration projects since 1999 in the UK; she exhibited her art works both nationally and internationally. She choreographed and performed Cultural Show for Tourism Malaysia (2002), Sandfield Theatre, Nottingham. She toured Still life at Penguin’s Café (2003) to Xanten, Germany. In 2004, Ren joined DAP (Design and Performance) Lab team, becoming an early member of dans sans joux, and performed Tedr (2005), a telematic performance between England, Sydney and Phoenix, at Digital Cultures Festival (2005), and appeared in the film installation Klüver (2006). She performed in Suna no Onna (2007-2008), and in 2008 directed and performed Blank Dream (2008) at Oxford House London. She was also featured in the choreographic installation UKIYO [Moveable Worlds] was featured at KIBLA Media Arts Center in Slovenia and at London’s Sadler’s Wells in 2010.

Cameron McKirdy

Cameron McKirdy is a 3rd Year Theatre Student at Brunel University. Initially coming from a background of acting and Basic Stage Lighting his current work focuses on his interest in Interactive and visual performance. Working with the Xbox Kinect and other interactive sensor devices to generate easily controllable and interactive visuals and sometimes sound, then linking them with 3D projection mapping to display more complex and aesthetically pleasing visuals. He is very interested in using consumer products that are easily available to create his work for example game console controllers and sensors and the Apple I pad and ipod but will be looking to branch out to more electronic and non consumer based ways in the future to broaden his knowledge base. He joined DAP-Lab in 2011 and was featured in for the time being.

Jessica Worden

Jessica Worden is a Phd student at Brunel University and a performance writer and artist. Her research project focuses on Breath[lessness] in Contemporary Art.


Hae-In Song

Hae-In Song studies for the Contemporary Performance Making MA at Brunel University and is interested in theatre practices. She joined the DAP-lab in 2012.

Elliott O'Brart

Elliott O'Brart is a 3rd Year Theatre Student at Brunel University and has wide experience in performance, music theatre, composition, stage management and production. His expertise encompasses Lighting and Sound Design, Lighting and Sound Operatio, Music Recording, Stage Management and Event Organisation, Stage Directing and Production of Promotional Materials.

Ross Jennings

Ross Jennings is an actor and performance artist who earned his BA with distinction in Drama and English at Brunel University. Ross has worked with the theatre company Il Pixel Rosso, assisting in the development of their new work The Great Spavaldos, as well as representing the company at the WhyRush? festival, Leeds, and the Solstice festival, Cork. He joined DAP-Lab in 2012 and performed in for the time being;he is currently working on an untitled project with his partner, creating an interactive audio tour of his native Yorkshire hometown of Pocklington, which will be completed in June 2013.

Robert William Parritt

Robert William Parritt is a first year Theatre student at Brunel University and has worked in multimedia and stage production at the recent arts@Artaud festival.


Conference Staff

Janette West (registration and finance)

Andrew Smith (Artaud Centre Operations)

Graeme Shaw (Technical Director, Brunel University)
Graeme is an audio specialist and technical director at the School of Arts at Brunel University, who has created numerous works in interactive sound composition and collaborated with performance artists. Among his recent works, the interactive installation "Narcissus" was exhibited at Artaud Performance Center at Arts @ Artaud.

Bill Forbes (Lighting Technician)

Tom Ryan (Corporate Relations)



(c) 2013 Artaud Forum / Center for Contemporary and Digital Performance