Studying past and present Performances with Philip Auslander

Level

PhD students in the arts and humanities

Organizing Committee

Prof. dr. Kornee van der Haven, Department of Literature

Prof. Katharina Pewny, Department for Art History, Musicology and Theatre Studies

Yannice De Bruyn, MA, (VUB/UGent), Department of Literature

Sarah Adams, MA, Department of Literature

Scientific Committee

Prof. Gunther Martens (UGent)

Prof. Jürgen Pieters (UGent)

Prof. Steven Vanden Broecke (UGent)

Prof. Inge Arteel (VUB)

Prof. Karel Vanhaesebrouck (VUB/ULB)

Prof. Kurt Vanhoutte (UA)

Prof. Inger Leemans (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Prof. Frans-Willem Korsten (Universiteit Lieden)

About the course

In various disciplines scholars encounter the concepts of performance, mediatisation, liveness and framing. As these concepts are central to the work of Philip Auslander, we intend to invite him in the context of a specialist course, which may also serve as an interdisciplinary discussion forum.

  • Philip Auslander (Georgia Tech Faculty) is an expert in the field of performance studies. He has widely published on aesthetic and cultural performances as diverse as theatre, performance art, music, stand-up comedy, robotic performance, and courtroom procedures. His newest book is about to come out and will bear the title Reactivations: Essays on Performance and Its Documentation.

In his capacity of Performance studies professor, Auslander does not only focus on the traditional performing arts, but also includes anthropological, sociological and cultural conceptions of performance. Over the past years, ever more research has been conducted to the performativity of social events, together with their mediatisation. Apart from being rigorously orchestrated themselves, phenomena as far apart as political gatherings, sports events, and courtroom proceedings have repeatedly inspired interpretation and narrativisation in television documentation. The subject of medial perspective manipulation unquestionably runs high in today’s imagination. In academia, the concepts of performance and performativity can offer a refreshing look into what both live and mediatised forms of communication can expect from their respective audiences, and how they possibly reiterate the enshrouded social norm. As a world-renowned expert on performance and mediatisation, Auslander has a thorough conceptual understanding of matters such as intermediality, liveness, the inevitable bias of representation, and media’s limitations and specificities. He also studied performance in relation to the (re)production of knowledge, and the technologies of representation.


Throughout his publications, Auslander has proven to be sceptical about the mystification of live performance. In his view, the tendency to prefer live performance over its mediatized form, is grounded in a fear for the advancing and inescapable hegemony of the virtual, whereas in fact, liveness does not automatically offer a more authentic and unaffected access to objective facts – it is also orchestrated in its own right.
This course will offer students a steppingstone to think these concepts through in relation to their own work, regardless of their focus on either historical or modern, and ‘live’ or mediatized performance. Philip Auslander will first present his views on these topics, after which he shall enter into dialogue with the students. In the second phase of the seminar, the students will get the chance to share their findings and doubts with Auslander and the group.

Programme

  • (I) Preparatory session – 7 May 2018, 9.30-13.00 - Lecturers: Katharina Pewny (UGent), Cornelis van der Haven (UGent)

For this preparatory session the participants are asked to read chapters from Auslander’s most well-known works: Performance: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies (2003), Liveness (2008, Revised edition) and Reactivations: Essays on Performance and Its Documentation (in press). This session, presided by Katharina Pewny and Cornelis van der Haven, offers a platform for discussion and questions regarding these works. Key issues and concepts will be discussed in detail in order to prepare the students for the discussion with Auslander. The participants will also prepare some specific questions and remarks based upon their readings of his work and more specifically his most recent book (Reactivations 2018), that will be the point of departure for the masterclass of 17 May 2018.

 

  • Session I (17 May 2018 - 9.00-12.30) - Lecturer: Philip Auslander (Georgia Tech Faculty)

Masterclass by Philip Auslander in which he reflects on his recent research and on some new research questions that could be important for him in the future. He will give insight into how his newest book Reactivations (forthcoming, 2018) is/was coming along. He will also give background information about how Reactivations relates to his earlier research and future research questions. The students will read some of the page proofs of his forthcoming book and prepare questions and remarks.

9.00-11.00    Masterclass by Philip Auslander about his recent research.
11.00-12.30    Questions and dialogue about the genesis of Auslander’s most recent publications and future perspectives in his research about performance and performativity.

  • Session II (17 May 2018 - 13.30-17.00) - Lecturer: Philip Auslander (Georgia Tech Faculty)

13.30-15.00    Further discussion of Auslander's work is facilitated by the preparation of short questions and statements by the participants, based on the literature he has provided prior to the seminar.

  • Session III (18 May 2018 - 9.00-12.30) - Lecturer: Philip Auslander (Georgia Tech Faculty)

Professor Auslander presents two important 20th-century thinkers and their key concepts, which he elaborately discussed in his standard work Performance (2003). He will do this in the light of his own critical theory. All students will prepare questions and remarks for the discussion after this presentation stemming from the preparatory session. After this discussion several students will present visual or textual cases from their own research project in short presentations of 5 to 10 minutes. These cases should be related directly to the issues and key concepts discussed in the first part of this session. The presentations will also be commented by students that prepared feedback on one of the presented cases. In the general discussion, PhD students can train their abilities to respond on difficult questions in public.

9.00-10.15    Prof. Auslander discusses important thinkers and their concepts from Performance (2003).
10.15-10.30    Questions.
10.30-11.00    Two participants individually pitch a short case from their own research which they relate to Auslander’s work and the discussed key concepts. In order to have more time for discussion, reflection and exchange of ideas, the pitches will be very short (5 to 10 minutes).
11.00-11.30    Prof. Auslander and other participants respond.
11.30-12.00    Two participants individually pitch a short case from their own research which they relate to Auslander’s work and the discussed key concepts. In order to have more time for discussion, reflection and exchange of ideas, the pitches will be very short (5 to 10 minutes).
12.00-12.30    Prof. Auslander and other participants respond.

  • Session IV (18 May 2018 - 13.30-17.00) - Teacher: Philip Auslander (Georgia Tech Faculty)

Professor Auslander will present one of his key-works to the participants of the seminar: Liveness (2008, revised edition). All students will prepare questions and remarks for the discussion after this presentation stemming from the preparatory session. After this discussion several students will present visual or textual cases from their own research project in presentations of 5 to 10 minutes. These cases should be related directly to the issue of liveness in the mentioned work by Auslander. The presentations will also be commented by students that prepared feedback on one of the presented cases. In the general discussion, PhD students can train their abilities to respond on difficult questions in public.

13.30-14.45    Prof. Auslander discusses his book Liveness, addressing the question how live and mediatised forms of communication relate to each other while studying (past) performances.
14.45-15.00    Questions.
15.00-15.30    Two participants individually pitch a short case from their own research which they relate to Auslander’s work and wish to discuss with him and the other participants.
15.30-16.00    Prof. Auslander and other participants respond.
16.00-16.30    Two participants individually pitch a short case from their own research which they relate to Auslander’s work and wish to discuss with him and the other participants.
16.30-1700    Prof. Auslander and other participants respond.

 

Registration and information

By email to Yannice De Bruyn:

Registration fee

Free of charge for PhD students of the Doctoral School of Arts, Humanities and Law.

Evaluation criteria (doctoral training programme)

Presence and active participation during all sessions