Contemporary Lecture Performances and the Politics of Knowledge
Dr Tony Fisher and Dr Duška Radosavljević
Lecture performances are lectures about performance or performances about lecturers. Sometimes they are both. In recent years they have become a fixture in many by-programs of museums, galleries, theatres and performance festivals, as well as making a regular appearance in conference programmes and academic seminars. Lecture performances thus straddle the intersections between art and academia and form a hybrid of academic analysis and performative intervention into the traditional presentation of knowledge.
Contemporary performance studies, lecture performances are read in the context of institutional critique and capitalist understandings of knowledge as resource. Extending this line of thought, this thesis is interested in lecture performances as an aesthetic form potentially able to interrupt and disrupt conventional ways of knowing by revealing the theatrical construction of knowledge presentations such as the lecture. The lecture performance as a self-reflexive performance of knowledge interrogates the role of the artist as a public intellectual. This thesis considers how the reconceptualization of knowledge as a commodity in cognitive capitalism has affected the lecture performance and assesses its position within neoliberal intuitions. Investigating the form’s claim to political ‘intervention’ the thesis will ultimately situate the lecture performance within a broader economy of knowledge and interrogate their claim to produce a counter-hegemonic form of embodied criticism.
I am currently a full-time PhD candidate at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (Central, where I am the recipient of the Shepherd Studentship). My research explores contemporary lecture performances. I am interested in the form because I think they offer an interesting ground to explore the performance of knowledge, the emergence and subversion of epistemological hierarchies, as well as the performance of academia in general. Ultimately, I see the form as a mode of embodied and engaged performance criticism.
I am a Visiting Lecturer at Central and the University of Surrey, where I teach across the fields of drama, theatre and performance. Although my research focus is on lecture performances, I have taught contemporary theatre practices (solo performance, director’s theatre, digital performance, etc.) on multiple BA and MA courses, which has given me the opportunity to adapt my pedagogy to various teaching environments and academic specialisations.
I am the current co-editor of Platform, Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts, an academic journal by and for postgraduate students in the arts and humanities. I am also the editorial assistant of the Contemporary Theatre Review and the postgraduate student representative at Central.
I was trained as a dramaturg at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and have worked as a dramaturg for multiple productions in Munich and New York City. I now work as a translator for German dramatic texts and theatre scholarship.
In October 2018 I took part in TEDx RoyalCentral, Central’s very own TEDx event. My talk, entitled ‘Would Shakespeare have given a TED talk?’ (link on this page) takes up a portion of my PhD research and asks how contemporary dramaturgies of knowledge (such as the very familiar TED format) are implicated in the commodification of knowledge. It is a TEDx talk about TED talks, a lecture performance about popular lecture performances.
Co-Editor: Platform, Journal of Theatre and Performing Arts
Editorial Assistant: Contemporary Theatre Review (Editors: Maria Delgado, Maggie B. Gale, Bryce Lease, Sarah Thomasson)
PhD Student Representative
Co-Curator, COLLISIONS - A Festival of Practice Research, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Dramaturg: Performance of a Feminine Object (Gabrielle Revlock, New York 2017), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Three-Penny Opera, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Attempts on Her Life (Munich 2014-16)
Assistant Managing Editor: European Stages (Editor: Marvin Carlson)
Graduate Research Assistant: The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Jan 2018 – present:
Visiting Lecturer at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
BA (Hons) Drama, Applied Theatre, and Education
MA Tutor on:
MA/MFA Performance Practice as Research
MA/MFA Advanced Theatre Practice
MA Applied Theatre
Sep – Dec 2018:
Visiting Lecturer at University of Surrey
BA (Hons) Theatre
Course: Digital Performances
Jan – May 2017:
Graduate Teaching Fellow, Brooklyn College, City University of New York
Course: Introduction to Theatre Arts
Oct 2013 – July 2015:
Student Tutor at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich
Courses: Introduction to Text- and Performance Analysis, Modern American Drama, Feminist and Queer Performance, Academic English in Writing and Presentations
‘Designing the Female Orgasm: Situating the Sexual Entrepreneur in the Online Sex-Education Platform OMGYes’, co-authored with Nell Beecham (LSE), Design Issues, Special Issue on “Design and Inequality” (Forthcoming in Nov 2019).
‘SHOOT HIM NOW!!! Anonymity, accountability and online spectatorship in Wafaa Bilal's Domestic Tension’, International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media 11, no. 2 (Nov 2015): 202-18.
(Won the 2015 New Scholar’s Prize awarded by the International Federation of Theatre Research).
‘Review: Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lyric Hammersmith, 2017’, Platform 12, no.2, On Magic (Winter 2018): 90-5.
‘On Repetition. Writing, Performance & Art’, edited by Eirini Kartsaki’, Review, International Journal of Performance Art and Digital Media 13, no. 1 (March 2017): 93-4.
‘The (Dis-)Enchantment of the Theatre: Gob Squad’s My Square Lady at the Komische Oper’, European Stages 6, no. 1 (March 2016): np.
‘Contemporary Lecture Performances between Intellectual Agitation and Neoliberal Modes of Performance Production’, 4th Biennial Performance Philosophy Conference, Amsterdam, March 2019.
‘Would Shakespeare Have given a TED talk? A presentation in progress’ COLLISIONS – A Festival of Practice Research, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, September 2018.
‘Designing the Female Orgasm: Situating the Sexual Entrepreneur in the Online Sex-Education Platform OMGYes’, co-written with Nell Beecham (LSE), International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR), Belgrade, July 2018.
‘Designing the Female Orgasm: Situating the Sexual Entrepreneur in the Online Sex-Education Platform OMGYes’, co-written with Nell Beecham (LSE), International Sociological Association, Toronto, July 2018.
‘Towards a (New) Dramaturgy of Knowledge’, co-written with Amir Farjoun (The Graduate Center), TaPRA Postgraduate Symposium, London, January 2018.
‘Extra/Ordinary Orgasms: OMGYes, Data Bodies, and the Dramaturgies of Climax’, American Society for Theatre Research, Atlanta, November 2017.
‘Towards a (New) Dramaturgy of Knowledge’, co-written with Amir Farjoun (The Graduate Center), Performance Studies international #23, Hamburg, June 2017.
‘Darkness as Immersion in Tino Seghal’s This Variation (2012)’, IFTR, Stockholm, July 2016.
‘Simulated Intimacies: Gob Squad’s Western Society (2012)’ .Postgraduate Conference, University of Exeter, January 2016.
‘Simulated Intimacies: Gob Squad’s Western Society and the difficulty of talking about intimate performances’, IFTR, Hyderabad, July 2015
‘Domestic Tension - Wafaa Bilal, the Internet and the Paradigms of Intermedial Performance Art’, IFTR, Barcelona, July 2013.