Salon 41 is focused on performance, an act which implies a distinction between those who are performing and those who are watching, and exists in a constant state of evaluation—whether literally in a workplace review, in political proceedings, or even in the form of likes and views on social media. As we go about our daily lives, we are constantly enacting performances of self, adapting them to fit the nuances of each audience we encounter. If theaters have not been the only sites for performance for centuries, the advent of digital technology has further displaced the performer and their audience across time and space. This salon’s ambition is to examine performance’s contemporary manifestations and provide the critical distance we need to understand its omnipresence.
We will pose the following questions: How can we use performance as a lens to understand the world around us? Inversely, how has the increased performativity of everyday life altered our understanding of traditional performance? To what degree has performative activism usurped more concrete means of effecting change? How has social media altered our performance of self? To what extent does performing something enact it into being? In contemporary politics, can the difference between the performance of serving your constituents and the actual execution of civic services be recognized? How can performance be utilized as an agent for social change?
This salon took place on May 9, 2023
At timestamp 3'30" the correct attribution for the artwork is: Sun&Sea by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė.
Barbara Tannenbaum helps to transform the lives and careers of her students who develop their skills in public speaking and persuasive communication. Her students master the art of using visual and vocal communication that is audience-centered and goal-focused.Tannenbaum has designed and delivered communication programs for global corporations and senior political leaders on six continents. Her clients include the Council of Chief Judges of the Appellate Courts of the United States, California and Florida Supreme Courts, International Monetary Fund, Boston Museum of Fine Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At Brown, Tannenbaum leads the popular course, Persuasive Communication, and provides annual communication workshops for senior administrators, graduate students, administrative professionals, academic centers, and student organizations. At the university for 40 years, she has received the John Rowe Workman Award for excellence in teaching in the humanities, and been recognized eleven times with the Senior Citation/Hazeltine Citation for excellence in teaching. She regularly leads communication workshops at the Madeleine Albright Institute for Global Affairs at Wellesley College, Athena Institute at Barnard College, Tuck School at Dartmouth College.
Jane Coaston was the host of Opinion’s podcast “The Argument.” Previously, she was the senior politics reporter at Vox, with a focus on conservatism and the G.O.P. Her work has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and NPR and in National Review, The Washington Post, The Ringer and ESPN Magazine, among others. In addition, she is a former resident fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. She attended the University of Michigan and lives in Washington.
Richard Sennett currently serves as Senior Advisor to the United Nations on its Program on Climate Change and Cities. He is Senior Fellow at the Center on Capitalism and Society at Columbia University and Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at MIT. Previously, he founded the New York Institute for the Humanities, taught at New York University and at the London School of Economics, and served as President of the American Council on Work. Over the course of the last five decades, he has written about social life in cities, changes in labour, and social theory. His books include The Hidden Injuries of Class, The Fall of Public Man, The Corrosion of Character, The Culture of the New Capitalism, The Craftsman, and Building and Dwelling. Among other awards, he has received the Hegel Prize, the Spinoza Prize, an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. Richard Sennett grew up in the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago. He attended the Julliard School in New York, where he worked with Claus Adam, cellist of the Julliard Quartet. He then studied social relations at Harvard, working with David Riesman, and independently with Hannah Arendt.
Aimee Meredith Cox is a critical ethnographer, writer, and movement artist. She is the author of Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke 2015) and editor of Gender: Space (MacMillan 2018). Cox has performed and toured internationally with Ailey II and the Dance Theatre of Harlem and has choreographed performances as interventions in public and private space in Newark, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Cox is also a yogi of many decades. Yoga is integral to her praxis and her overall research and pedagogical commitments. Cox leads yoga teacher trainings as well as advanced study and continuing education workshops around the globe. She is currently at work on two book projects and a performance ethnographic intervention based on research among Black communities in Cincinnati, Ohio. This overall project is called “Living Past Slow Death.” Shapeshifters earned the 2016 Victor Turner Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing, and an Honorable Mention from the 2016 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize, as well as the 2017 Book award from the Society for the Anthropology of North America. Cox was a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, a recipient of the Nancy Weiss Malkiel Award, and has served as the Virginia C. Gildersleeve Professorship from Barnard College.
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a multi-spirited Nigerian American author, performance artist, and curator of Yoruba and Natchez descent originally from Detroit, MI. jaamil’s practice is conceptual, process-based, and interdisciplinary from within a corporeal modality. kosoko moves across the creative realms of live art performance, video, sculpture, and poetry using both cultural and academic idioms. As an educator and community organizer, they approach politics and education as extensions of their creative practice. Through rooted ritual and spiritual practice, embodied poetics, Black critical studies, and queer theories of the body, kosoko conjures and crafts perpetual modes of freedom, healing, and care when/where/however possible. jaamil is the author of Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts, released Spring 2022 blending poetry and memoir, conversation and performance theory as means to tell a personal narrative inspired by Audre Lords concept of the biomythography. kosoko is the recipient of awards including the 2022 Slamdance Jury Prize for Best Experimental Short film, 2021/22 MacDowell Fellowship, 2020 Pew Fellowship in the Arts, 2020 NCCAkron Creative Administrative Fellowship, 2019 NPN Creation & Development Fund award, 2019 Red Bull Arts Fellowship, 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Choreography, 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellowship, 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Award, 2018-20 New York Live Arts Live Feed Residency, 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellowship, and consecutive 2016-2020 USArtists International Awards from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. In Fall of 2020, jaamil was appointed the 3rd annual Alma Hawkins Visiting Chair at UCLA World Arts & Cultures/Dance Department. Additionally, jaamil lectures regularly at Princeton University, The University of the Arts Stockholm, and Master Exerce, ICI-CCN in Montpellier, France.
Joan Kee is a professor in the History of Art at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on how modern and contemporary artworks challenge our understandings of words like “world,” “value,” “abstraction,” and “scale.” In Contemporary Korean Art: Tansaekhwa and the Urgency of Method (2013), Kee argued that close attention to process in the works of artists like Ha Chonghyun, Park Seobo, Lee Ufan, Yun Hyongkeun, and Kwon Young-woo set materiality against the imposition of meaning in authoritarian South Korea. Kee is especially interested in what might be called an applied art history, in which methods central to the discipline—close visual analysis in particular—offer a framework for thinking about related cultural phenomena, from law to digital communication. Partly based on her experiences as a lawyer working in a range of areas from criminal defense to family mediation, Models of Integrity: Art and Law in Post-Sixties America (2019) explores how artists engaged with US law in ways that aimed to recuperate the integrity compromised by the very institutions supposedly entrusted with establishing standards of just conduct. Newly released, her book The Geometries of Afro Asia: Art Beyond Solidarity, asks how we might tell a history of art that begins with the global majority, spanning Asia, Africa, North America, and Europe. It sets at its center the worlds Black and Asian artists initiate through their work from roughly 1960 to the present.
MJ Corey is a Brooklyn-based psychotherapist and writer. She earned graduate degrees in Creative Nonfiction and Counseling Psychology from Columbia University in 2014 and 2016, respectively. She is best known for authoring Kardashian Kolloquium on TikTok and Instagram, where she applies media theory and postmodern frameworks to the Kardashian family. Her Kar-Jenner culture writing has been featured by Refinery29, Paper Magazine, and The New Yorker, among many others. She also maintains a recap column about the family’s reality show with Vogue Magazine, and a personal substack called “DeKonstructing the Kardashians.” mj has been interviewed by Vulture, NPR, The Daily Dot, The Hollywood Reporter, Slate, Nylon, i-D, Polyester Zine, ABC Radio Sydney, and Rolling Stone, and she has spoken about her academic approach to pop culture at Parsons School of Design, George Washington University, and University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her Kardashian work, she collaborates on a blog called Infinity of Lists with her friend Nimay Ndolo, and a web series called Between Two Salads with her sister, Marie.
Katherine Gibson is internationally known for her research on rethinking economies as sites of ethical action. She trained as a human geographer with expertise in political economy and, with her collaborator for over 30 years, the late Professor Julie Graham, developed a distinctive approach to economic geography drawing on feminism, post-structuralism and action research. The diverse economies research program they initiated has become a vibrant sub-field of study within the social sciences. In the late 1990s the collective authorial voice of J.K. Gibson-Graham led the critique of capitalocentric thinking that was blocking the emergence of economic possibility.
Shirin M. Rai is the Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies SOAS, University of London. She is a Fellow of the British Academy. She is the Founding Director of Warwick Interdisciplinary Research Centre for International Development (WICID)at the University of Warwick. Shirin Rai is an interdisciplinary scholar and has written extensively on issues of gender, governance and development and politics and performance. In particular, she has been working on issues of gendered care and work and the costs of this carework, and on developing a framework of politics and performance across the social sciences/humanities boundaries. Her recent books include Performing Representation, a commentary on women MPs in the Indian Parliament as well as co-edited the OUP Handbook of Politics and Performance. Her teaching and research build on this work at both theoretical and empirical levels. After securing her BA at Hindu College, Delhi University and MA in the Department of Political Science, Delhi University, India, Shirin Rai carried out her doctoral research at Christ’s College and Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge. She joined the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick in 1989 and left to take up her current position at SOAS in 2022.
Cannupa Hanska Luger is a New Mexico based multidisciplinary artist creating monumental installations, sculpture and performance to communicate urgent stories about 21st Century Indigeneity. Incorporating ceramics, steel, fiber, video and repurposed materials, Luger activates speculative fiction, engages in land-based actions of repair and practices empathetic response through social collaboration. Born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, Luger is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold. Luger’s work has been exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gardiner Museum, Toronto and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Georgia. Luger has been awarded fellowships from Guggenheim, United States Artists, Creative Capital, Smithsonian and Joan Mitchell Foundation.
Deborah Scott is a costume designer and set designer, best known for her work in James Cameron’s directorial venture Titanic (1997) which won her the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.Her first movie as a costume designer was Don’t Answer the Phone (1979). Some of her other movies are E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Back to the Future (1985), Legends of the Fall (1994), Wild Wild West (1999), The Patriot (2000), Transformers (2007), Avatar (2009), and Love & Other Drugs (2010).
Dorita Hannah is an architect and trans-disciplinary performance practitioner/scholar who focuses on spatial performativity and performance design with an expertise in contemporary cultural environments: researching the dynamics and fabrications of theatre architecture and urban scenography. She collaborates with artists, designers and cultural organisations to co-conceive, design and direct events, installations, exhibits, objects and constructed environments. Hannah also focuses on postgraduate research centred on performance practices and socio-political design, principally through the concept of ‘event-space’: demonstrating via design work and scholarly publications that the built environment housing an event or performance is itself an event and an integral driver of experience. Her formulation of Performance Design led a global change in thinking and practice around performing arts design specifically as well as design performativity generally.
Lina Lapelyte is an artist who lives and works in London and Vilnius. She holds a BA in classical violin, a BA in Sound Arts and an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London. Her performance-based practice is rooted in music and flirts with pop culture, gender stereotypes, aging and nostalgia. Throughout her artistic career, Lapelytė has explored various forms of performativity, crossing genre boundaries while entwining folk rituals with popular music and opera formats, frequently using stylized expression, grotesque and conceptual musicality. Her collaborative work with Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė and Vaiva Grainytė, opera Have a Good Day! holds several awards, its libretto is translated into nine languages and its been touring extensively. Their newest durational performance work, Sun and Sea (Marina), represented Lithuania at the Venice Biennale of Art in 2019 and received the Golden Lion award for the best national participation.
ON PERFORMANCE AND PERFORMATIVITY: FOUNDATIONS
Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London and New York: Verso, 2012.
Bishop, Claire. Documents of Contemporary Art: Participation. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2006; Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2006. (PDF)
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. New York, NY: Zone Books, 1994. (PDF)
Kracauer, Siegfried. The Mass Ornament. London and Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995. (PDF)
Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday, 1956.
Austin, John L. How to Do Things with Words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1962. (PDF)
Bell, Vikki. “Performativity Challenged? Creativity and the Return of Interiority.” In Culture and Performance. Oxford: Berg, 2007. (PDF)
Benveniste, Emile. “Analytical philosophy and language.” In Problems in General Linguistics. Translated by Mary Elizabeth Meek, 231–238. Coral Gables, FL: University of Miami Press, 1971. (PDF)
Loxley, James. Performativity. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2007.
Lyotard, Jean-François. The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. Translated by Geoffrey Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, 1984. (PDF)
Searle, John. Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1969. (PDF)
ON PERFORMATIVITY AND GENDER
Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” Theatre Journal 40, no. 4 (1988): 519–31. (PDF)
Butler, Judith. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly. London and Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015. (PDF)
Butler, Judith. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. New York: Routledge, 1993. (PDF)
Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. New York: Routledge, 1997. (PDF)
Cochoy, Franck, Giraudeau, Martin, and Liz McFall. The Limits of Performativity: Politics of the Modern Economy. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2014.
Custodio, Isabell. “Violet Chachki on the Art of Drag.” MoMA Magazine. June 16, 2021.
Howard, Leigh Anne and Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw. Performativity, Cultural Construction, and the Graphic Narrative. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2020.
Kollnitz, Andrea and Marco Pecorari. Fashion, Performance, and Performativity: The Complex Spaces of Fashion. London: Bloomsbury, 2021.
Marain, Alexandre. “Meet Alexis Stone, the celebrity “transformer” who was the spitting image of Jennifer Coolidge at the Diesel show.” Vogue. March 1, 2023.
Michael, Michael Love. “How I Convinced the World I Fucked Up My Face.” Paper Magazine. January 3, 2019.
Osborne, Peter and Lynne Segal. “Gender as Performance: An Interview with Judith Butler.” Radical Philosophy 67, (Summer 1994). (PDF)
Parker, Andrew, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick. Performativity and Performance. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 1996.
Williams, Christian. “Gender Performance: The TransAdvocate Interviews Judith Butler.” Trans Advocate.
Seligman, Craig. “You Just Don’t Silence a Drag Queen.” Time Magazine. March 23, 2023.
ON PERFORMATIVITY AND ECONOMICS
Callon, Michel. The Laws of the Markets. London: Blackwell, 1998. (PDF)
Callon, Michel. “What Does it Mean to Say that Economics is Performative?” in D. MacKenzie, F. Muniesa and L. Siu (Ed.), Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
Gibson, Katherine. “Economic Diversity as a Performative Ontological Project.” Why Do We Value Diversity? Biocultural Diversity in a Global Context, edited by Gary Martin, Diana Mincyte, and Ursula Münster, RCC Perspectives 2012, no. 9, 17–20.
Holm, P. “Which Way is Up on Callon?” in D. MacKenzie, F. Muniesa and L. Siu (Ed.), Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
MacKenzie, Donald. An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008.
MacKenzie, D., F. Muniesa and L. Siu (Eds.). Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
MacKenzie, Donald. (2007), “Is Economics Performative? Option Theory and the Construction of Derivatives Markets” in D. MacKenzie, F. Muniesa and L. Siu (Ed.), Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
ON SOCIAL MEDIA
åyr. “Calabasas 91302: ‘It’s weird and boring but I’m obsessed’.” Perspecta 51: Medium. New Haven: Yale School of Architecture, 2018. (PDF, please see index)
Corey, MJ. “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Quest to Become America’s Favorite Superheroes.” The New Yorker. August 27, 2022.
@kardashian_kolloquium. Instagram account. 2018 - ongoing.
Grobe, Christopher. The Art of Confession: The Performance of Self from Robert Lowell to Reality TV. New York: NYU Press, 2017.
Hund, Emily. The Influencer Industry: The Quest for Authenticity on Social Media. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2023.
Warren, Tish Harrison. “The Temptations of the ‘Personal Brand’.” The New York Times. January 29, 2023.
ON PERFORMATIVITY, POLITICS, AND POWER
Coaston, Jane, host. “Trump, Dr. Oz and Our Political Cult of Celebrity.” The Argument (podcast). August 17, 2022.
Coaston, Jane. “The Promise and Peril of a ‘Normal’ Politician.” The New York Times. February 25, 2023.
Gessen, Masha. “War as Theater at a Private Home in Kharkiv.” The New Yorker. February 22, 2023.
Gessen, Masha. “Donald Trump’s Fascist Performance.” The New Yorker. June 3, 2020.
Glass, Michael R. and Reuben Rose-Redwood. Performativity, Politics, and the Production of Social Space. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 2014.
Grobe, Christopher. “The Artist is President: Performance Art and Other Keywords in the Age of Donald Trump.” Critical Inquiry 46, no. 4 (Summer 2020): 719-945.
Kee, Joan. “Why Performance in Authoritarian Korea?” Tate Papers 23, (Spring 2015).
Rai, Shirin, Gluhovic, Milija, Jestrovic, Silvija, and Michael Saward (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Politics and Performance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.
Riesman, Abraham Josephine. “The Best Way to Explain the G.O.P. Is Found in the W.W.E.” The New York Times. February 26, 2023.
Thiong'o, Ngũgĩ wa. “Enactments of Power: The Politics of Performance Space.” TDR (1988-), Vol. 41, No. 3 (Autumn, 1997): 11-30.
Thiong'o, Ngũgĩ wa. “Extended Performance.” The New Yorker. July 23, 2006.
“I Am No One’s Pawn | The Kavanaugh Files.” YouTube video, 3:31. Posted by, “Verbatim Performance Lab,” January 14, 2019.
“Her Opponent–Full Archival Version, January 28, 2017.” YouTube video, 35:49. Posted by, “Her Opponent,” May 28, 2018.
“Debate & Switch: Revisiting the Clinton-Trump Debate.” YouTube video, 7:56. Posted by, “Her Opponent,” March 29, 2017.
Aranke, Sampada and Oscar Sparks. “Reading and Feeling after Scenes of Subjection.” Women and Performance 27.1, (March 21, 2017).
Hartman, Saidiya. Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. (PDF)
Cox, Aimee Meredith. “Cosmic Cartographies: Black Women Remapping Cincinnati, Ohio.” CSPA Quarterly, no. 31 (2021): 54–67. (PDF with access)
Cox, Aimee Meredith. Shapeshifters. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.
Olawale Kosoko, Jaamil. Black Body Amnesia: Poems and Other Speech Acts. New York: Wendy’s Subway, 2022.
ON THE SPACE OF PERFORMANCE
Bailey, Spencer. “How RoseLee Goldberg Reshaped the Landscape of Performance Art.” Time Sensitive (podcast). September 17, 2019.
Radin, Ben Feeney. “Episode 047 Stuart Comer.” Art and Obsolescence (podcast). August 9, 2022.
Goldberg, Roselee. Bodybuilding: Architecture and Performance. New York: Artbook D.A.P., 2018.
Hannah, Dorita, and Omar Khan. “Introduction: Performance/Architecture.” Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 61, no. 4 (2008): 4–5. (PDF with access)
Hannah, Dorita. Event-Space: Theatre Architecture and the Historical Avant-Garde. London and New York: Routledge, 2019.
Pelletier, Louise. Architecture in Words: Theatre, Language and the Sensuous Space of Architecture. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. (PDF)
PERFORMANCE AND/IN REALITY
Barone, Joshua. “Review: In Venice, an Opera Masks Climate Crisis in a Gentle Tune.” The New York Times. July 14, 2019.
Beaven, Kirstie. “Performance Art: The Happening.” Tate.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Mile Long Opera: A Biography of Seven O’Clock, 2018. Live Performance. New York, The High Line.
Futurist, The (@futurist__). 2022. “AVAVAV is genius for this .” TikTok. September 23, 2022.
Glass, Joshua. “What’s the Difference Between Statement and Stunt on the Runway?” Cultured, January 27 2023.
Kaprow, Allan. Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993.
Kaprow Allan. Assemblage, Environments & Happenings. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1966.
Kato, Brooke. “Drop dead gorgeous: Every model fell on the runway at Milan fashion week show.” New York Post. September 27, 2022.
Lapelyte, Lina. Sun & Sea (Marina), 2019. Live Performance. Venice, Venice Biennale.
“Monkey Performance” from Östlund, Ruben, director, The Square. Bac Films, Tri Art Film, Scanbox Entertainment, 2017. 142 minutes.
Rogers, Thomas. “Florentina Holzinger Makes Everyone Uncomfortable.” The New York Times. September 14, 2022.
Peterson, Sara. “We Don’t Perform Motherhood for Our Kids: I consistently fail to achieve my fantasy of maternal grace — but you’d never know it from my Instagram.” The Cut. April 20, 2023.