SAM Seminar: The Critical Power of the Residual

When:8 Aug 2017, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building
Who:Barbara Formis, Sorbonne University, France

In this talk, I will address the relationship between activities of maintenance and performance art, and in particular the feminist ramifications of this relationship. The aim is to identify what I call the “power of the residual”, the latter understood both as material leftovers (especially food waste) and as political minorities. I will first analyze Daniel Spoerri’s art practice and his ‘trap-paintings’, and in the second part of the paper I explore the feminist aspects of performance with a particular focus on maintenance art and its ecological and sociological practices (M.L. Ukeles, Anna Halprin).

If one thinks the power of residual, or the empowerment of what is left-out and left-behind, one brings about a dialectical change in perspective on the structure of society. This change in perspective reveals that “left-out” agents are no longer to be considered the weaker part of society but in fact the stronger since they actually support, work for, care for and maintain the very equilibrium of society

Barbara Formis (PhD in Philosophy, University Paris 1-Sorbonne) is Senior Lecturer in Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art in the Department of Fine Arts of the University Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne. She works in the interdisciplinary field between philosophy and performance. Mainly influenced by pragmatism, her research explores the possibilities of a philosophy of the body with a particular focus on performance and its relationship to social phenomena and life-practices.

She is the director of the research team ESPAS (Aesthetics of Performance and Performing Arts) within the Institute ACTE of the French National Center for Scientific Research. She is the co-founder and co-director with Dr. Mélanie Perrier (University lecturer and choreographer) of the Laboratoire du Geste, a research collective working in the area of performance art.

SAM Seminar Series

This series provides a showcase and forum for local as well as international scholars, researchers, industry practitioners and creative artists – ranging from early-career to well-established – to present on their work. No need to book, all welcome.

Find out more and see the full program.
Enquiries contact: SAM Seminar Convenor, Collin Chua –

Finding us

Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Cinema 327 is located on the third floor.

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Supported by UNSW Creative Practice Lab

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