Risky Aesthetics: Performance, Participation and Critical Vulnerabilities

09 September, 2014

CFP: Risky Aesthetics: Performance, Participation and Critical Vulnerabilities (volume edited by Alice O’Grady).

This collection invites contributions around the central theme of participatory performance with a special focus on risk. Spanning a vast range of practices that operate under the umbrella of ‘risky aesthetics’, the collection will examine aspects of performance in which participants engage with work where the outcome is not fully known and where there is some degree of surrender, or relinquishing of control in the presence of others. Here the element of personal risk is an integral part of the aesthetic and is designed to produce a sense of critical vulnerability in the participant to achieve affect, transformation or attitudinal shift. Depending on context, framing and, ultimately, participant perspective, performance might be perceived variously as unpredictable, exposing, daring, thrilling, sensorial, erotic, challenging, experiential, embodied, visceral, threatening, unnerving, uncertain, organic, processual, co-authored, relational, dialogic, sensitive, intimate, exploratory, experimental, chaotic, personal, collective, individualised, social.

Contributors might address how and why performance practitioners create work that is intentionally risky. What are the personal, professional and creative benefits of working within a risky aesthetic? What is at risk in these practices and to what extent is the risk real, perceived or imagined? What are the gains of working within a paradigm of performance that prioritises embodied experience and risk? What are the challenges and how are they overcome? What strategies do performance practitioners and/or programmers deploy in order to facilitate, manage and respond to participation with a variety of audiences where open engagement, embodied experience and risk are core principles? What are the ethical considerations arising from such approaches?

Contributors are encouraged to focus on particular performance practitioners, traditions or practices that incorporate risk into their work as an artistic strategy and to consider the full range of participatory work that might deploy risky aesthetics as a modus operandi. Examples might include live art; street theatre; body based art; protest performance; guerrilla performance; immersive performance; interactive art; mobile performance; applied theatre; Theatre in Education; prison theatre; psychodrama; dramatherapy; forum theatre; interventionist theatre; community arts; outdoor performance; improvisation; relational performance; confessional performance; one-to-one performance; intimate performance.

This volume will accept contributions from scholars from a range of disciplines such as theatre, performance, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, anthropology, philosophy, critical theory and so on, whilst maintaining a clear focus on participatory performance practice. The volume encourages multi or interdisciplinary approaches and welcomes work that uses a range of methodologies including ethnography, auto-ethnography, case study, socio-cultural analysis etc. The volume will accept co-authored chapters as appropriate.

The following are suggested themes but contributors may wish to add their own:

Risk taking and performance boundaries.

Risk, responsibility and ethics.

Risk, participation and consent.

Risk and gender.

Risk and identity.

Risk and diversity.

Risk and ethnicity.

Risk and fear.

Risk and daring.

Performance and edgework.

The perception of risk.

Risk and uncertainty.

Risk and affect.

Management of risk in performance.

Risk and reward.

Risk and pleasure.

Risk and play.

Risk and creative processes.

Performance and thrill seeking.

Risk and audience.

Risk as creative practice.

Risk as artistic strategy.

Risk as oppositional practice.

Risk and space.

The commodification of risk.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract of your proposed chapter with a short biography to Alice O’Grady (a.ogrady@leeds.ac.uk">a.ogrady@leeds.ac.uk<;mailto:a.ogrady@leeds.ac.uk>) by 1st October 2014.

Approved chapters will be due by 31st July 2015. Chapters will be 7,000 – 8,000 words long including references and endnotes.

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