Jesal Kapadia
Emma (Yimeng) Zhu
u 3-3-6, g 3-3-6/3-3-3
Lab Fee
$ 75
M 7pm-10pm, T 2pm-5pm

What is performance, if not exposing oneself to the gaze of others, but also inwards, looking within – resonating and living politics from, with and through the body – a form of imagining and dissecting present day circumstances, words as well as historical events?

The genres of performance are many; this course will survey performance art in relation to the body as a space of resistance, as well as the collective body and its powers – to think, feel and play together, to bring about an element of surprise and the unexpected, where the magical can be imagined as real, producing assemblages that make new things possible.

If we consider all life as a continual creation of forms, where everything we do and create is a form, then performance can be seen as an act of removing the device that makes art a dimension separate from life, refusing to turn it into a commodity and a restricted activity. Exploring performance art in its expanded sense, we will enact gestures of care and conviviality through a collective praxis tied to the creation of different ways of relating to the social and to each other.

Retrieving attention to details is the task we will perform, in the here and now, and convert everyday acts in preparations for self-provisioning – starting from within the classroom and the university, to the larger context of the house, the streets, the gardens and the public sphere – for constructing a soulful language across multiplicities and pluralities that would allow us to see expressions of violence and micro-fascisms at work in different places.

Activities will involve combinations of walking, reading, discussing and learning through small exercises in language, dreams and imagination, cooking a meal and eating together, composing our bodies differently through somatic practices and contact improvisation, and searching through historical material, archives and active scholarship on issues in performance art.  We will also host various guest artists in our class, and go on a field trip to New York City. Use of diverse media will be possible, such as video, photography and drawing, to record scores, create installations, develop movements, and alter spaces with sounds and objects – leading to several (un)performances throughout the course of the semester. Some Monday meetings will converge with the ACT lecture series.

This class is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Additional work is required at the graduate level, which includes a variable unit option. 

Students taking a production-based ACT class will be charged a $75 lab fee after the add date on a semester basis. The fee covers the cost of student production materials used as part of the class. SMACT graduate students are exempt from the lab fee.