rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Performing Idea

Performing Idea contributors


Janine Antoni

Janine Antoni was born in Freeport, Bahamas. Her work blurs the distinction between performance and sculpture. Transforming everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and sleeping into ways of making art, Antoni’s primary tool for making sculpture has always been her own body. Antoni has had major exhibitions of her work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, S.I.T.E. Santa Fe, inIVA, London, England and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. Janine Antoni currently lives in New York.

Ron Athey

Ron Athey is an artist and writer from Los Angeles, now based in London. He is artist-in-resident at Queen Mary University, just having finished a series of Leverhulme Trust-funded talks through the Centre for the History of Emotions, and continuing in October in the Department of Drama. His performance work has been shown at festivals, art centres and museums internationally, and has investigated issues of disease, the post-AIDS body, and automatic writing. His visual art work is represented by Western-Projects in Los Angeles.

Anne Bean

For 40 years, Anne Bean has undertaken numerous solo and collaborative projects worldwide, in diverse media including performance, installation, drawing, photography, video and sound, using materials that range from fire, wind, steam and honey to laughter and breath. In 2009 she received a British Council Creative Collaborations and Visiting Arts award to bring together women from Iraq, Croatia, Israel and N. Ireland to make work in each other’s countries resulting in a commission, called PAVES, for NRLA, Glasgow. She works in numerous artists’ collectives including Power Plant, commissioned to produce work in Australia and Hong Kong in 2011. She is currently a Legacy: Thinker in Residence (2009-2010) at Tate Research and Live Art Development Agency in London.

Wafaa Bilal

Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal is an assistant professor of art at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts who has exhibited and lectured worldwide. Bilal’s 2007 dynamic installation Domestic Tension placed him on the receiving end of a paintball gun that was accessible online to a worldwide audience. His 2010 project …And Counting uses tattoo as a medium to represent Iraqi and American war casualties, creating dialogue around the invisibility of Iraqis killed in the war. He published Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun with Kari Lydersen in 2008 (City Lights).

Maaike Bleeker

Maaike Bleeker is a professor of Theatre Studies at Utrecht University. She combines her academic work with a practice as dramaturge, collaborating with various theatre directors, choreographers and visual artists. She was an Artist in Residence at the Amsterdam School for the Arts, performed in several lecture performances, and ran her own theatre company. Her research first focused on the mediations of theatre and performance as apparatuses of vision (Visuality in the Theatre, Palgrave, 2008) and the embodied character of perception and cognition (Anatomy Live. Performance and the Operating Theatre, Amsterdam University Press, 2008).

Mel Brimfield

Mel Brimfield is an artist and producer. Her Camden Arts Centre residency in 2010 produced This Is Performance Art: Part One: Performed Sculpture and Dance, a film and collaborative performance. It is the basis of her forthcoming 2011 solo exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Recent exhibitions include Locate with Aura Satz and Sarah Pickering at Jerwood Visual Arts, Waiter, Waiter, There’s a Sculpture in My Soup – Performance Art and comedy from Gutai to the Present at Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool and Pump House gallery, London.

Hélène Cixous

Hélène Cixous is a novelist, poet, playwright, critical theorist and one of the foremost writers in the French language. She has published widely, including over twenty-three volumes of poems, six books of essays, five plays, and numerous influential articles. She received honorary degrees from Queen's University (Canada), University of Alberta (Canada), University of York (U.K.), Georgetown University, Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2008 she was appointed as A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University until June 2014. In 2009, she was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature by University College London and in 2010 by University College Dublin.

Robin Deacon

Robin Deacon is an artist, writer, filmmaker and educator based in the UK. Since the early 1990s, his performances and videos have been presented at conferences and festivals in the UK and internationally in Europe and the USA. His early works centred around the visual, before he began questioning the limitations imposed on performance by spatial, temporal and social conventions with a series of interventions in public spaces. Later moving into spoken text, he produced a series of works that emphasized autobiography, racial politics, and notions and definitions of obscenity. Recent work has included performed lectures that explore journalistic and documentary approaches to arts practice, in particular the area of political biography. He is an Associate Artist of Artsadmin and a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Performance Studies at London South Bank University.

Rose English

Rose English has been devising, directing and performing her own work for over thirty-five years in venues as various as the Tate Britain; Royal Court; Queen Elizabeth Hall; the Adelaide Festival and Lincoln Center, New York. Her productions feature a diversity of co-performers including musicians, dancers, circus performers, magicians and horses. Rose is currently working in China and the UK on Lost in Music – her new production featuring flying, glass, singing and fire. Rose’s performance works of the 1970s featured in the exhibition WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at MOCA Los Angeles in 2007. Her awards include the Time Out Performance Award, the Wingate Scholarship and the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists.

Matthew Goulish

Matthew Goulish co-founded Goat Island in 1987, and collaborated on the creation of all nine of the group’s performance pieces. In 2008 he co-founded Every house has a door with Lin Hixson. He is the author of 39 Microlectures – in proximity of performance, and co-editor with Stephen Bottoms of Small Acts of Repair – Performance, Ecology, and Goat Island. Work from Memory, his collaboratively written book with the poet Dan Beachy-Quick on Marcel Proust, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Dartington College of the Arts in 2007. He teaches in the MFA / BFA Writing Program of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Hannah Hurtzig

Hannah Hurtzig has been directing the Mobile Academy since 1999, a temporary art institution frequently changing its location, combining interdisciplinary courses with fieldwork, theory and activism. As part of Tulip House, a company dealing with the construction of public spaces experimenting with new narrative formats for the production and mediation of knowledge, she is presenting installation projects on the thematics and metaphor of archives. Since 2004 she has directed the Blackmarket For Useful Knowledge And Non-Knowledge.

Shannon Jackson

Shannon Jackson is Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at University of California, Berkeley where she is also the Director of the Arts Research Center. Jackson has been thinking about the matter of performance in relation to social reform movements (Lines of Activity), in relation to disciplines and institutions (Professing Performance), and most recently in relation to social turns in contemporary art (Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics, forthcoming from Routledge in early 2011). Jackson has been the principal investigator or coordinator for several projects and symposia, including intermedia residencies with The Builders Association, arts district studies with Berkeley’s Center for Community Innovation, and community art projects with Touchable Stories and other Bay Area organizations.

Janez Janša

Janez Janša is a conceptual artist, performer and producer. His work has a strong socio-political connotation and is characterized by an inter-media approach. Janša is the author of numerous videos, performances, installations, documentaries, media projects and editor of the books. He is the artistic director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana. Janša has presented his work at Manifesta 4, Frankfurt; ZKM, Karlsruhe; ARCO, Madrid; ISEA 2002, Nagoya; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Itaú Cultural, Sao Paulo; IASPIS, Stockholm; the Modern Gallery Ljubljana, Slovenia; the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest; White Box Gallery, New York, U.S.A.; Kiasma, Helsinki; Transmediale.08, Berlin; Ars Electronica Festival, Linz.

Dominic Johnson

Dominic Johnson is a Lecturer in the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London. He is the editor of Franko B: Blinded by Love (2006), and Manuel Vason: Encounters (2007). His performances have been presented at venues in the UK including National Portrait Gallery, SPILL Festival, Chelsea Theatre, Gay Shame and Torture Garden (London), Fierce (Birmingham), and National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), and internationally, in Austria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Italy, Slovenia, France and the US.


Tellervo Kalleinen

Tellervo Kalleinen lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Her works are collaborations with the participants of her projects as well as with other artists and take the form of videos, performances and events. From 2003 she was collaborating with her partner Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen, with whom she produced their most well known work Complaints Choir (2005-2009). Her works have been exhibited widely in museums including Mori Art Museum (Tokyo), P.S.1 (New York), Kunsthalle Fridericianum (Kassel), Hamburg Kunsthalle (Hamburg), KUMU (Tallinn), Finnish Museum of Contemporary Art KIASMA (Helsinki), S.M.A.K. (Gent), Museo de Arte Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires), Ex Teresa Arte Actuel  (Mexico City). She is a member of artist collectives YKON and JOKAklubi.

Ong Ken Sen

Ong Keng Sen is the Artistic Director of TheatreWorks, Singapore.  He is an active contributor to the evolution of an Asian identity and aesthetic for contemporary performance in the 21st century. In 1994 Keng Sen conceptualised The Flying Circus Project, a laboratory project bringing together traditional and contemporary Asian artists from the fields of theatre, music, dance, video, visual arts and ritual who work together to explore the concepts of reinvention, cultural negotiation and the politics of interculturalism. In 1999 he initiated The Arts Network Asia (ANA) for Asian artists to dialogue and engage with each other, and in 2002 he embarked on an exchange project in Laos for local youths, elder artists and international Asian artists called the Continuum Asia Project (CAP). Keng Sen was the curator and co-artistic director of In Transit, an annual festival in Berlin 2002-03.


Bojana Kunst

Bojana Kunst is a philosopher and contemporary art theoretician who currently works at the University of Ljubljana. She works as a dramaturge with different Slovenian artists, writes for a numerous international publications (including Maska, Frakcija, TanzAktuell / Ballet International, Performance Research) and participates at conferences and festivals around Europe. She published The Impossible Body - Body and Machine: Theatre, Representation of the Body and Relation to the Artificial in 1999 and Dangerous Connections - Body, Philosophy and Relationship to the Artificial in 2004. She is the member of the editorial board of Maska, member of the International contemporary dance network Aerowaves, and vice-president of the Slovenian Society of the Aesthetics.

Boyan Manchev

Boyan Manchev is philosopher and cultural theorist, Director of Program and Vice-President of the International College of Philosophy in Paris (2007-2010), Associate Professor at the New Bulgarian University and Visiting Professor at the Sofia University and The Berlin University of the Arts. His actual research, which advances the perspective of a radical mobilism and materialism, is focused on the fields of ontology, philosophy of art and political philosophy. The ontological concept of metamorphosis, the practical concept of disorganisation and the aesthetic concept of alteration are central for his transformationist approach. He has organised and/or collaborated on number of projects, congresses and public forums dealing with philosophy, art and politics. He has also participated as theorist, dramaturge or performer in theatre and contemporary dance projects. His bibliography includes four books and more than a hundred essays, articles and interviews.

Fred Moten

Fred Moten works at the intersection of black studies, performance studies and poetry. He is author of Arkansas (Pressed Wafer, 2000), Poems (with Jim Behrle; Pressed Wafer, 2002), In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), I ran from it but was still in it. (Cusp Books, 2007), Hughson’s Tavern (Leon Works, 2008) and B Jenkins (Duke University Press, 2010). Moten lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he teaches at Duke University.

Rabih Mroué

Rabih Mroué is an actor, director, playwright, and visual artist based in Beirut and a contributing editor for The Drama Review (TDR). He is also a co-founder and a board member of the Beirut Art Center (BAC). His complex and diverse practice, has established Mroué as a key figure in a new generation of artistic voices in Lebanon dealing with issues that have been swept under the rug in the political climate of Lebanon, connected to the enduring marks left by the Lebanese Civil War as well as more recent political events. Recent exhibitions include: BAK, Utrecht a solo exhibition, 2010; Performa 09, New York, 2009; 11th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2009; Tarjama/Translation, Queens Museum of Art, New York, 2009; Sjarjah Biennial, Sjarjah, 2009; Soft Manipulation – Who is afraid of the new now?, Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg, 2008. In 2010 Mroué was awarded an Artist Grant for Theatre/Performance Arts from the Foundation of Contemporary Arts, New York and the Spalding Gray Award.

Peggy Phelan

Peggy Phelan holds the Ann O'Day Maples Chair in the Arts at Stanford University, where she is Professor of Drama and English. She is the author of numerous essays and the books Unmarked: the politics of performance (Routledge 1993); Mourning Sex: performing public memories (Routledge, 1997); the "Survey" essay for Art and Feminism, ed. by Helena Reckitt (Phaidon 2003); the "Survey" essay for Pipilotti Rist (Phaidon 2001). She is co-editor, with the late Lynda Hart, of Acting Out: Feminist Performances (University of Michigan Press, 1993); and co-editor with Jill Lane of The Ends of Performance (New York University Press, 1997).

Heike Roms

Heike Roms is Senior Lecturer in Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University. She is the principal investigator on a large two-year AHRC-funded research project, entitled It was forty years ago today – Locating the early history of performance art in Wales 1965–1979, which focuses on the history and historiography of performance art. She has published on contemporary performance practice, particularly on work emanating from Wales.

Lara Shalson

Lara Shalson is a Lecturer in Theatre and Performance Studies at King’s College London. She writes about a range of art forms, including theatre, performance art, live art, film, photography, and conceptual art (often attending to the relationships between these forms), as well as performances in the social world, including gender performance and political action. Her articles and reviews have been published in Colloquy: Text Theory Critique, Contemporary Theatre Review, TDR: The Drama Review, and Theatre Topics. Lara is currently writing a book about the performance of endurance across art and political contexts from civil rights protests to performance art.

Julie Tolentino

Julie Tolentino creates intimate solo movement-based installations including time-based durational performances, sculptural endurance events and audio soundscapes. Works include For You, A True Story About Two People, Cry Of Love, and The Sky Remains The Same. Tolentino’s work has been presented throughout the US, Europe and the UK. She has performed with David Rousseve/Reality Dance Theater, Ron Athey, Ibrahim Quarishi, Curious and others. She was original founder and creator of the NY Clit Club (1990). She has received numerous awards including a Franklin Furnace Performance grant, an Artsadmin Bursary, a Field Space grant, and a residency at Pact-Zollverein in Essen. She is a recipient of a year Chime 2010 Grant with Doran George and the 2010-11 Art Matters Grant. She is currently co-director, with Ron Athey of Praxis Mohave Bootcamp for performance artists. They also co-curate a performance series entitled Resonate/Obliterate.

Jeremy Xido/ Cabula 6

Jeremy Xido is originally from Detroit. Since 2003 he has been the artistic co-director with Claudia Heu of the performance and film company CABULA6, voted “company of the year 2009” by Ballettanz magazine and awarded “Outstanding Artist of the Year 2010” by the Austrian Ministry of the Arts.  CABULA6 have produced and presented stage and film work all over the world.  In 2006 he directed the six part CRIME EUROPE documentary series and in 2007 the short documentary MACONDO, in addition to several short fiction films.  He is known in Europe as a performance artist blending emotionally gripping personal stories with the larger social contexts within which they emerge.  Working as a dancer, actor and filmmaker, he has performed and presented work around the world on stage, TV and in Cinema.