Issue Editors: Helena Grehan (Murdoch University, Perth, Australia) and Miriam Haughton (NUI Galway)
We live in a world of unpredictability, fracture and powerlessness. Acts of violence, invasion and oppression, both seen and unseen, pervade all aspects of life and threaten the viability of the planet. Yet, perhaps because of this powerlessness and fracture, this is also a time of solidarity, of acts of resistance both large and small, and of friendship, love and bravery. It is a confusing and confounding time and one in which we must yet again consider the role, value and power of art to intervene, to destabilize, to disrupt and to question. As Hannah Arendt points out:
Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries. It is as though mankind [sic] had divided itself between those who believe in human omnipotence… and those for whom powerlessness has become the major experience of their lives. (Arendt 1951: vii)
Arendt wrote the lines above in the Preface to the first edition of The Origins of Totalitarianism in 1951, which resonates strongly with the crises of today. However, let us also reflect on Seamus Heaney’s verse adaption of Sophocles’ play Philoctetes, first published in the early 1990s as sectarian violence in the north of Ireland seemed beyond hope.
History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave…
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
We draw from them now to acknowledge the powerlessness of so many, while hoping for a ‘longed-for tidal wave/Of justice…’
The topic of ‘invasion’, in the context of the current world order, is an apt topic for an issue of Performance Research. We call for submissions to ‘On Invasion’ to consider the idea and reality of invasions – of communities and nations, of the body, the imagination and the environment, and of artistic response.
What does and might invasion mean in the current tumultuous world? How indeed might performance and artistic practice more broadly respond to or enact this concept? We may, for example, understand the theatre as an invasive force, following Antonin Artaud, one that seeps into the body of the performer and/or spectator—one that infiltrates slyly, demands an audience or bombards sonically; think of the work of Romeo Castellucci, Sarah Vanhee, Tania Bruguera, Milo Rau, Bashar Murkus, ANU Productions, or Back to Back Theatre, for example.
In what ways might performance equip us to withstand these and other kinds of invasions – outside and beyond the performance space? How might it operate to alter this status quo of fear, fracture and disruption? When we think of invasion as a concept and a reality, we conjure up images of war, isolation, refugees, climate destruction, the Anthropocene, racial division and oppression, ecological devastation and infiltration, political rupture, technological interference and surveillance, medical procedures and immersive dramaturgies, among myriad others. But what is the value in an issue on this fraught and huge topic? What might artists and scholars make of it? What examples can they draw on to flesh out this pervasive reality? Whose voices do we most need to hear from on this theme?
We invite essays, manifestos, artists pages and other meditations on the topic that consider ‘On Invasion’ in the broadest possible terms:
Submissions might consider, but are not limited to, the following areas:
Theatres and performances of invasion, of resistance.
Disciplinary invasions: borrowing or stealing perhaps, from theatre to elucidate other arguments or fields, and what of performance’s disciplinary invasions or incursions?
How do we negotiate in performative terms invasions of bodies, minds, through persecution and war and/or the drive for geo-political expansion?
What are the contemporary artistic strategies that invade social space?
How does theatre and performance alter the status quo?
What of ecological invasion? Rising sea levels, species decline, fire, drought, pestilence, flood?
Bombing, loss of life, dislocation and fear in the face of military oppression.
Resistance, refusal, solidarity and stealth.
Hope and renewal; can signs of resolution or peace be found among the wreckage of tragedy?
Increasing surveillance and control via digital platforms and media and our willingness to participate, despite the risks. How much is one’s identity worth these days?
Controlling viruses and the associated impacts on the arts sector. How much is too much?
Saving lives and economic viability at what social cost?
Do sanctions and boycotts seem useful strategies to halt invasion?
What role might hacking and resistance, fighting back against ‘oppressors’ play?
Proposals: 22 June 2022
First Drafts: October 2022
Final Drafts: January 2023
Publication: March 2023
Alongside long-form articles, we encourage short articles and provocations. As with other editions of Performance Research, we welcome artist(s)’s pages and other contributions that use distinctive layouts and typographies, combining words and images, as well as more conventional essays.
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 first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article, you will be asked to sign an author agreement for your work to be published in Performance Research.