SAM Seminar: The Materiality of Meaning: Encounters between Performance Studies and Science

When:22 Oct 2015, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Robert Webster Building, Room 327
Who:Maaike Bleeker, Utrecht University
SAM Seminar

Recent traditions such as posthumanism and new materialism propose that non-humans and matter are active participants in processes of signification, so that humans do not give meaning to matter, but matter and meaning co-constitute each other. Bruno Latour and others propose to conceive of these processes in terms of a network of interactions between human and non-human actors. Not only scientists perform, so do their instruments and the objects under investigation.

Karen Barad, speaking about quantum physics, goes as far as to state that matter is as active as our interpretative frameworks, so that we do not give meaning to matter, but matter and meaning co-constitute each other. This complex intertwining of matter and meaning is also the subject of Performance Studies. Science and performance studies represent different ways of approaching this intertwining. My presentation explores the possibilities for, and potential of, a joint perspective.

Maaike Bleeker is a professor of Theatre Studies at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She graduated in Art History, Theatre Studies and Philosophy (University of Amsterdam) and obtained her PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). Since 1991, she is also active as dramaturge in theatre and dance. She is the author of Visuality in the Theatre (Palgrave, 2008), has published extensively in international journals and edited volumes, and edited several books including Anatomy Live: Performance and the Operating Theatre (AUP 2008), Performance and Phenomenology: Traditions and Transformations (Routledge, 2015) and Transmission in Motion: the Digitization of Dance (Routledge, 2016). She is president of Performance Studies international and was the organizer of the 2011 world conference of Performance Studies international, titled Camillo 2.0: Technology, Memory, Experience.

SAM Seminar Series 2015
Convenor, Collin Chua –

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