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Call for Papers: Performing Tangier 2020

News from Feb 24, 2020

Call for Participation

Street Performances as Spatio-Temporal Heterotopias

An International Conference

TANGIER/TETOUAN, MOROCCO 28-31 May 2020

Street performances interrupt as well as interact with the flow of everyday life, disrupting expectations and transforming ordinary places into heterotopias: ‘entertaining certainly, but also visceral, emotional, thought-provoking or disturbing.” (Susan Haedicke) 

Despite the restrictions imposed on street performances in many big cities through legislating the performing body within the City-right-of-way or other city- or privately-owned properties (such as shopping malls) in accordance with codes of conduct, their evolution in new artistic directions has blurred the usual boundaries of the performing landscape/artscape. This can be seen as a return to ‘origins’ in which streets, public squares, open spaces, and even football stadiums are added again to an always-changing performance topography. Artistic performances in non-conventional spaces, including street performances and public poems are sometimes highly heterotopic places that are ‘linked to slices in time’ (Foucault, 6), whereby a break with traditional time is produced. This aspect shows that street performances can be ‘counter-sites, a kind of effectively enacted utopia in which the real sites, all the other real sites that can be found within the culture, are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.’ (Foucault, 3) 

Street Performances are constitutive parts of their locations and are often not only meant to entertain or to educate or to foster religious experiences, for example, but also to restructure the spectator’s conceptual as well as cognitive experience of specific locations through the artist’s intervention in place making. It is an art that is often inscribed in other spaces that can be highly codified such as historical public squares or other urban open spaces, among others. The co-constitutive relationship between the artwork and the topography and morphology of its location and surrounding atmosphere (be it the street or other outdoor place) is both intricate and intriguing insofar as there is no ‘outside.’ Street Performances invite methodological inquiry as much as they problematize memory and history through a trans-historical intervention. They can temporarily remove audiences out of their societally assigned roles and identities and cast them, albeit momentarily, into new ones. However short-lived such experiences may be, audiences witnessing street performances can come ‘back’ and ‘out’ as changed individuals; they are no longer the same. 

Street performances can function as unfailing political players in a turbulent public sphere. The Seattle giant puppets march against the World Trade Organization in 1999, Occupy movements and Arab Spring protests, ‘tifo’ performative cultures (including choreography and chants displayed and sung by fans in stadiums and outside as expansive forums and inventive approaches to football fandom)… all share the politics of impersonation as paradoxical political acts. These are ‘agonistic performances’ and political manifestations of dissent fueled by an inherent performativity. 

Having been inspired by discussions during previous conferences, we propose a double-edged and multi-perspectival dialogue, which is artist-driven and research-oriented. The conference seeks to tease out some of the complexities related to also the limits of contemporary street performances. It is a call for a more critical and anatomical attentiveness to forms in motion produced performatively in the context of on-going processes of interweaving between performance cultures from here and there. These forms have become so visible and audible in Arabo-Islamic contexts and elsewhere that academics cannot afford to scant them. We invite scholars from around the world to join the debate and reflect on various problems related to the following proposed questions and topics: 

- street performances as spatio-temporal heterotopias; 

- street performance as a necessary extension of narrow understandings and practices of ‘theater’; 

- street performances (& other performances) in non-conventional spaces: zones of contact and friction; 

- street performances in the context of a new ‘performative turn’ in contemporary Arab performance cultures; 

- political dimensions & potentials of street performances (for example: street performances in the context of the so-called ‘Arab spring’); 

- interweaving (street) performance cultures: inter- & transcultural movements and perspectives; 

The International Conference Street Performances as Spatio-Temporal Heterotopias is a signature event that brings together delegations of eminent practitioners and scholars from around the globe: Round Tables with guest speakers from the field of performance and academia// Performances// Installations// Music Concerts// Workshops (to be announced later)… 

The conference is part of the International Festival “Performing Tangier”now in its 16th edition. The theme was carefully chosen as a follow-up of our previous international symposia, with the expectation that it would be sharp enough to elicit diverse intellectual contributions and interpellations from distinguished experts and colleagues from many parts of the world and in many areas of research. Besides academic panel sessions, the conference program will be nourished by a rich artistic public agenda with workshops, exhibitions, book launches, and diverse performances and artistic interventions relevant to ‘Street Performances as Temporal Heterotopias’, together with receptions and gala dinners to be announced after the opening ceremony. 

Proposals

The organizing committee welcomes abstracts and proposals strictly on the above issues. A 250-WORD abstract, along with a ONE PARAGRAPH curriculum vitae, should be submitted electronically (preferably in Word or Rich Text format) by 30 March 2020 to the scientific committee care of Professor Christel Weiler (Senior Advisor of the International Research Center „Interweaving Performance Cultures‟ at Freie Universität Berlin), Khalid Amine (Conference Co-convener). Acceptance, however, unfortunately does not include any financial support - participants are responsible for their own funding (i.e. securing grants, etc.) to pay for travel and lodging expenses. Selected conference papers will be published in a special volume upon the approval of the scientific committee. Submitters of accepted proposals will be notified within four weeks of the above deadline, and all decisions of the scientific committee are final. 

Important dates & Deadlines

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: 30 March 2020.
  • Notification of Acceptance/Rejection: 15 April 2020.
  • Final Paper Submission Deadline: 15 May 2020 (included). The paper must have a sound methodology reflecting the features of real scientific research. It must be 10 up to 14 pages of A4 format using Times New Romans size 14 in text and size 10 in the margins.
  • The conference will be held from 28-31 May 2020.
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Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung