Talking about performance

There’s so much to talk about when we talk about performance. Back in January, Jennifer Doyle’s invigorating series of feminist seminars on performance seemed to uncork a flood of thoughts, inquiries, and emotions that had been bubbling through our community, in need of a shared public outlet. Lots of notable artists, writers, and scholars were in attendance, and the range of our discussions included theoretical points drawn from texts like Yvonne Rainer’s “No Manifesto,” larger questions about the nature of performance and its relation to institutions, and many personal testimonies from artists. Each seminar lasted 3-4 hours, which seemed too short. In LA, where there is so much to talk about but everyone is so separated by distance and various distractions, we are in dire need of public forums like this.

Doyle, a professor at UC Riverside, seems born to be a seminar facilitator and plans to instigate more of these community forums in the future. In the meantime, we have another exciting performance scholar, Shannon Jackson, visiting town from her post at UC Berkeley and giving a talk this Thursday night at MOCA Grand Avenue. The event is billed as a three-part series of talks on performance and social practice under the aegis of MOCA’s Engagement Party (although no mention is made as to the identity of the remaining speakers). Jackson is the highly respected author of Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics, which is considered one of the definitive books on the subject. Don’t miss this chance to see her speak, and hopefully engage in some provocative group chat as well.

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