How do borders echo and reverberate as cultural geographies, unsettling space and forcing bodies to move, to organize, and to perform? How do performers and scholars account for and navigate their bordered existence, when traversing them can regularly (re)produce contentious conditions for both precarious and secure living? What conditions arise amongst bodies, boundaries, and the spaces there in between? On behalf of the Northwestern University Department of Performance Studies Graduate Student body, we welcome you to “In Motion: Performance and Unsettling Borders,” the 2018 Graduate Student Conference / Performance Festival. Nearly nine months ago, we circulated a call for proposals that looked to engage what we saw as critical questions surrounding issues of borders and motion. The result is this three-day event (April 27-29), which will bring together over 70 participating graduate students from various institutions, disciplines, and countries. Through performance practice and research, we hope to generate dialogue and debate by coming together around artistic work and interdisciplinary thinking.
Recent international, national, and local political and social events have brought increased attention to the reality of borderlands as contentious sites of movement and activity. History demonstrates that borders—immaterial and material— have always existed and that movement has always been central in their negotiation. For some, borders are porous and easy to cross, a mere nuisance or pit stop. For others, borders are an integral part of being, continuously looming, shaping entire lives. If the border affirms its presence through constant yet imperfect iteration (repetition), then how might we employ performance (and practice) to interrogate its rigidity? How does performance elicit a mode of thinking and doing that allows us to consider how borders, contemporary and historical, demand both imaginary and tangible forces to be maintained—and how might we come to unsettle (or secure them) through our practice(s)?
Registration for the conference opens on Friday, April 27th at 1:00pm. Xandra Ibarra (La Chica Boom) will be giving a keynote presentation, “Dwelling Somewhere in Between,” on Friday, April 27 at the Block Museum of Art from 6:00pm-8:00pm.
All events are free and open to the public.
We acknowledge that Northwestern campus sits on unceded Native land, once occupied by the Council of Three Fires Nations which includes the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Odawa.