rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
Trashing Performance

Under- and Overwhelmed: Emotion and Performance


26 October 2011

Toynbee Studios, Theatre


With Lauren Berlant, Bird La Bird, Lisa Blackman, Jennifer Doyle, Adrian Howells and David Hoyle


The histories of underground and popular performance are awash with expressions of emotionality, including angry venting, joyfulness, melodrama, listlessness, and diffident, even surly forms of self-presentation. Such emotional displays are often the focus of contested critical appraisal. For some they are markers of raw authenticity and political commitment, for others they are the outward signs of a subject out of control or an emotionality that is too much, or too little, to be taken seriously. In the context of a contemporary ‘culture industry’ in which emotion is often used as a means to entertain its consumers, how do we think the value of emotion in contemporary performance? Contributors to this event will address questions of emotional intensity (or lack thereof) in performance; the role of emotion in securing bonds between performers and audience members, and questions of artistic agency raised by the sometimes unruly eruption of emotion within creative expression.

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Full video documentation of Trashing Performance is available to view at the Live Art Development Agency Study Room and the British Library