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October 21, 2014: Jason Fitzgerald

Presence as Technique: Joseph Chaikin and Authenticity
This presentation will attempt to place Joseph Chaikin’s notion of “presence” in relation to forms of radical humanism and personal “authenticity” that permeated the 1960s New York counterculture of which Chaikin was a part. Debates over theatrical “presence” often falter over a tension between aesthetic effect or technique, on the one hand, and reality or authentic “being present,” on the other. Because the latter sense of “presence” has been thoroughly critiqued by post-structuralism, the persistence of presence as a term of theatre and performance art continues to trouble theorists of these forms. I will attempt to argue that Chaikin’s concept of “presence” derives from his attempt to secularize and permanently complicate any stable concept of authentic subjectivity. By suggesting a relationship between what Chaikin calls “presence” and what Victor Shlovsky calls (in Benjamin Sher’s translation) “enstragement,” I hope to point toward a compatibility between Chaikin’s presence and a permanently problematized humanism. This argument represents the latest phase of my dissertation project, which relates experimental theatre aesthetics from the U.S. 1960s to countercultural notions of authentic humanism.
Jason Fitzgerald earned his MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at the Yale School of Drama, and he is currently a PhD Candidate in Theatre at Columbia University. His book and performance reviews have been published in Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Modern Drama, PAJ, and Public Books. He is also a part-time theatre critic and dramaturg in NYC.

October 14, 2014: Caleb Smith

Race and Performance in the Prison Archives: ‘The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict’

This presentation will introduce the working group to “The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict,” an 1858 autobiography by Austin Reed. Unpublished during the author’s lifetime and recently acquired by the Beinecke Library, the manuscript is the earliest known prison memoir by an African American writer. Reed’s narrative describes his life as an indentured servant, an inmate of the nation’s first juvenile reformatory, and a prisoner at New York’s Auburn State Prison, the model of the industrial penitentiary in the antebellum period. The presentation will focus on scenes of performance in the memoir and explore some of the problems involved in reading the memoir as a kind of performance.  More about Reed’s manuscript can be found in this New York Times piece:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/books/prison-memoir-of-a-black-man-in-the-1850s.html?_r=0

Caleb Smith is professor of English and American Studies at Yale and the author of The Prison and the American Imagination (Yale UP, 2009) and The Oracle and the Curse (Harvard UP, 2013). He is working on an edition of Austin Reed’s “The Life and the Adventures of a Haunted Convict,” to be published by Random House in 2016. He has written about contemporary media and the arts for Avidly, BOMB, Paper Monument, and other venues, and he is co-editor of No Crisis, a special series on criticism in the twenty-first century, to appear from the Los Angeles Review of Books in 2015.

caleb.smith@yale.edu
http://calebsmith.commons.yale.edu/

October 7th, 2014: Peter DiGennaro

Check Your Head: 

Somatic, Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Techniques in Performance Art Education and Practice

In an effort to inspire and strengthen innovative thinking, problem solving skills and authentic expression from students while working outside of the typical system of dichotomized and/or binary goal sets, Pete DiGennaro engages the neuro-somatic practice of synaesthesia in tandem with the formal technical and compositional studies of “mixing” the elemental topography of a performance context.  This knowledge and practice is then used to engage and couple the personal social, cultural, political and historic contexts which art and the artist experiences and addresses.

At the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT, his class “The Rhythm is the Rebel” brings together students of disparate disciplinary, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to collaborate and inform each other’s explorative practices and expository artwork.  A group performance/installation effort is the culmination of each semester’s work.  The study of synaesthesia is a distinct study and practice point for directly transmitting personal experience through one’s art and to the artistic witness, as well as transmuting and transgressing personal binaries in order to engage a clearer and wider personal understanding of the subject matter, one’s own experience of it and its possible causal relationships to the world. Likewise, this past summer, Mr. DiGennaro directed a program of students and teachers at the Neighborhood Music School working from both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches as they drew from World Music sources in their personal and collaborative efforts  - embodying other cultures’ compositional structures, as well as the rhythmic and melodic topography of other instruments. Furthermore, NMS’ yearlong Rock Program under his direction engages students of all ages in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary curriculum through Ensemble work.  While studying both the historical and cultural significance of genres and performers, as well as the somatic relationship of people to art, students in both programs are, ultimately, practicing the contextualization and recontextualization of  both original material, pedagogy and different scenarios in order to develop creative problem solving skills, innovative thinking and the constitution to express and publicize it within a social context.

 

Peter DiGennaro is a New Haven based writer, musician and sound designer teaching primarily middle school and high school age students through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary curriculum at both the Educational Center for the Arts and The Neighborhood Music School where he is also Director of the NMS Summer Rocks! Program.  As an Artist-Instructor, Mr. DiGennaro’s work centers around the examination of social, cultural and political phenomena through artistic movements and, most importantly, practices.   In particular, Mr. DiGennaro engages a synaesthetic approach to teaching and art practices.

In addition to his 20 years of teaching and performing, Mr. DiGennaro is a member of the National Association of Music Educators, has scored many film, theatre and, most of all, dance projects (Elm Shakespeare, CPTV, HartBeat Ensemble, Wesleyan University, Pedro Allejandro and others) and is the Director of Vesper Studios in the Westville Artist Village in New Haven.  He has worked in the Wesleyan University Dance Department for the last fifteen years as a music consultant and accompanist and taught at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts from 2005 – 2011.  In 2007 and 2008, he taught songwriting in Cape Verde, Africa through “CCY in Cape Verde”, a program sponsored by the Capital Region Educational Council and the Department of Sports and Culture of Cape Verde.

September 30, 2014: Wills Glasspiegel

Icy Lake, a short film and discussion with director and Yale Phd student Wills Glasspiegel

Filmmaker Wills Glasspiegel shows his recent documentary short, Icy Lake, that traces the quirky transit of a “tribal house” dance song from mid 90s New York into the contemporary moment via YouTube. Through Glasspiegel’s film, “Icy Lake” ( the song) becomes a thread that knits together disparate DJ and dance subcultures across time. After the short film, Glasspiegel opens up a discussion about the relationship between his academic projects and his ongoing work as a visual artist and documentarian operating in subcultural spaces across the world.
Wills Glasspiegel received his BA from Yale in 2005 in English and his masters at NYU in Media, Culture and Communications. He is currently a second-year PhD student in African American Studies and American Studies at Yale. As a journalist working in and out of the academy (and as an academic working in and out of the public sector), Glasspiegel produced work on the Nollywood film scene in Nigeria for NPR’s Morning Edition, covered the Chicago footwork story for NPR’s All Things Considered, and produced several hour-long radio documentaries with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Glasspiegel spent the late 2000s developing his interests in the the computerization of African and African diaspora culture, focusing most on the digitization of traditional musics in Sierra Leone (bubu music) and South Africa (Shangaan electro), projects that have led him to the study of footwork in Chicago, Glasspiegel’s hometown.  Glasspiegel’s work at Yale focuses on footwork, a style of black electronic music and dance from Chicago. For a window into the world of Chicago footwork, Glasspiegel’s short documentaryMaking Tracks (2013) is available from VICE: http://thump.vice.com/videos/thump-video/making-tracks-chicago-footwork-pitchfork-boiler-room-battlegroundz

September 23, 2014: Ayesha Ramachandran

From Theatre to Atlas: Cartography as Performance

 In the sixteenth century, collections of maps were frequently described as “theatres of the world”—the first world atlas, compiled by Abraham Ortelius, is called Theatrum orbis terrarum (1570). But by the end of the century, the term had been replaced by a new one: “atlas,” named after Gerhard Mercator’s 1595 Atlas or cosmographic meditations. This talk traces the conceptual shift—in cartographic practice and in the mapmaker’s identity as an author—signaled by the turn from theatre to atlas. But rather than suggesting a movement away from the underlying theatrical metaphor, I argue that the conception of the mapbook as an “atlas” marks a deeper embrace of cartography itself as performance. Mercator’s Atlas identifies the image of the world with a muscular man on its famous title page. But why does a human body become the symbol for a cartographic portrait of the world? What does this conjunction tell us about the literary history of the world atlas as a textual form? Drawing on recent work in the history of cartography and the notion of text as performance, I suggest that mapmaking in the early modern period drew on emerging notions of theatrical space and textual performance even as it influenced the imagination of early modern drama.

 

Ayesha Ramachandran received her BA from Smith College (2001) and her PhD in Renaissance Studies from Yale University (2008). Her research and teaching focus on the literature and culture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, primarily on Europe’s relations with an expanding world. She has just completed a book-length study, “The World-Makers: Global Imagining in Early Modern Europe,” which explores the reshaping of the concept “world” and its implications for theories of modernity across a range of disciplines. She has published articles on Spenser, Lucretius, Tasso, Petrarch, Montaigne and on postcolonial drama. She was awarded a Junior Fellowship at the Harvard Society of Fellows in 2007.

September 16, 2014: Rebecca Prichard

Carnevale by Rebecca Prichard - Race and Gender in Performance

In her account of Black London in the eighteenth century Gretchen Gerzina writes “By the eighteenth century the work of all kinds of artists – Hogarth, Reynolds, Gillray, Rowlandson – as well as work by poets, playwrights and novelists… reveals that not everyone in that elegant, vigorous, earthy world was white….there were black pubs and clubs, balls for blacks only, black churches, and organisations for helping blacks out of work or in trouble. Many blacks were prosperous and respected…others..were successful stewards or men of business. But many more were servants or beggars, some turning to prostitution or theft. Alongside the free black world was slavery, from which many of these people escaped” My play Carnevale  explores the lives of two black female ex-slaves in Venice in the eighteenth and twenty first century and is is a fantastical mash-up of languages and contemporary and early modern worlds.  By mixing contemporary representations of race and gender with historical representations, the play aims to critique modern day trafficking and slavery and also raise questions about the way race, gender and sexuality are constructed in ’the (neo)colonial context’. In this session I will discuss the role of language and visual imagery in creating reflexivity around race and gender and ways to create counter narratives to the dominant discourses around race, gender and trafficking.

Biography:

Playwright Rebecca Prichard is currently under commission to The National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company. She has written plays for BBC Radio 4 and her play Parallax was performed at The Almeida Theatre in 2012 and shortlisted for the Brian Way Award in 2013. Dream Pill was performed in 2010 at the Soho Theatre and 2011 at Latitude Festival and The Edinburgh Festival and toured Scotland in 2012 and was shortlisted the Human Trafficking Foundation Awards in 2011. Rebecca’s  first play Essex Girls was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 1994, as part of the Royal Court Young Writers Festival. The script was later published in Coming on Strong: New Writing from the Royal Court Theatre (1995). Fair Game, a free adaptation of Games in the Backyard by Israeli writer Edna Mazya, was commissioned by the Royal Court and first produced there in 1997. Yard Gal which won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright, was first produced at the Royal Court in 1998, and was co-produced with Clean Break, a theatre company specialising in work with ex-offenders. Her play Delir’ium was performed at The Royal Court and Tricycle Theatre in 2003  and Futures produced at Theatre 503 in 2006.

Rebecca has been appointed as the Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery Fellow at Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition for the 2014~15 academic year.  Prior to this, she was a lecturer in the theatre studies department at Essex University (2011~14) and an AHRC fellow at Lancaster University from 2007~2010.

Image: Matrixial by Christine McPhee

September 9, 2014: Nancy Rosenberger

Cultivating transgression: Young organic farmers in Japan

 From the point of view of elder organic farmers in Japan, younger farmers are not supporting the pure principles of the original organic movement as they consort with the market, the government, consumers, and conventional farmers in new ways. Instead, younger farmers are themselves consumers, concerned with identity and lifestyle, acting within a neoliberal context of governance by subjectivity.  In this presentation, Nancy Rosenberger uses her ethnographic investigations of the lives of organic farmers in Japan to explore shifts from cultures of resistance to a different politics, one of positive engagement that may be better called transgressive: embodied, performative, place-based, self-oriented, and rhizomatic. Interviews show that younger farmers value their own quality of life, adequate livelihood, and their rural communities as well as nature and non-commodified relations with soil, food and humans. Those with fields contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima disaster claim that the sudden uncertainties they face and innovate through form the harbingers of change for all of Japan. Young organic farmers enact roots that are both residual and emergent; rhizomes that reach outside rural communities and transgress prescribed binaries; aesthetics of non-alienated selves; and creative performativity in markets.  By exploring writings on new social movements, the performativity of power, and processes of everyday lifeworlds within neoliberal capitalism, Rosenberger sheds light on the process of how change is occurring in alternative food systems, Japan, and our contemporary world.

 

Nancy Rosenberger received her PhD from University of Michigan and is a Professor of Anthropology at Oregon State University. Her research interests bridge food and agriculture, work, and gender in the context of global development, cultural uncertainty, and resistance. She is the author of such recent works as Dilemmas of Adulthood: Japanese Women and the Nuances of Long-term Resistance; Seeking Food Rights: Nation, Inequality and Repression in Uzbekistan; and a 2014 Ethnos article entitled ”Japanese Organic Farmers: Strategies of Uncertainty after the Fukushima Disaster.”

Justin Sider

Justin Sider a PhD candidate in English at Yale University and will receive his degree this December. He has recently completed his dissertation, entitled “Parting Words: Address and Exemplarity in Victorian Poetry,” which explores the relationship among poetic address, public speech, and cultural authority in Victorian poetry’s valedictions and scenes of leave-taking. He has published articles on Alfred Tennyson and John Ruskin in Victorian Poetry and Studies in English Literature.

Justin will be joining us as an IPSY postdoctoral associate and lecturer in Theater Studies in Spring 2015.

September 2, 2014: Dana Milstein

Manga de dokuha as Visual Novel: 

Ren’Py and Reading Marx through textual gameplay

Japanese publisher East Press published a manga edition of Karl Marx’s multivolume Das Kapital in 2007, and in that same year sold 507,000 copies. Since then, the company has annually released at least one Western canonized literary or philosophical work-as-manga to the Japanese public, and these are now being translated and sold abroad. Several scholars have written on (and created) the practice of transposing difficult philosophy or classic literature into graphic novels and comic books. However, what happens when the manga themselves are transposed into a more interactive art form—that of the visual novel?

 Visual novels are interactive fiction games or multimedia novel forms that incorporate game play, and they are usually centered on dialogue, non-linear narratives, and multiple perspectives. As part of a digital humanities project, I have translated the manga version of Das Kapital, and have been developing a prototype visual novel using Ren’Py, a visual novel engine based on simplified Python scripting.

 For purposes of teaching and learning, Visual Novels have value for three reasons:

1.     This is a method for promoting literacy of and exposure to inaccessible philosophical texts whose ideologies are vogue in culture and criticism.

2.     The form of the visual novel is gaining popularity, and might find some use value in education (is it serious game, edutainment, or literary).

3.     The issues of digital learning—to code in Python, techniques for storyboarding, and translation issues—are paramount.

Biography: Dana Milstein joined Yale ITS as the Academic Technology Specialist to the Humanities in May 2014. Dana earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she also completed a certificate in Instructional Technology and Interactive Pedagogy, and a M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at NYU. She held faculty and academic technologist positions in the Humanities at several New York universities and distance education institutions, and worked as a freelance curriculum designer and writer for the W. W. Norton series for World Literature and World Drama. Initially trained as a classical saxophonist, Dana enjoys songwriting and learning new instruments. Her hobbies include fiber arts, gaming, yoga, and manuscript illumination. She is a specialist in Nineteenth Century French and German poetry and music, and also researches and participates in anime, video game, and Steampunk material cultures.

Panel Discussion: Friday, September 12th

(RESCHEDULED FROM SPRING)

Interdisciplinary Context of “Slow Dancing”

Friday, September 12, 2014 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: Yale University Art Gallery Auditorium 
1111 Chapel St. New Haven, CT 06510

Panel discussion with the artist David Michalek and Yale faculty, offering points of view from a wide range of disciplines.

  • Margaret S. Clark, Professor of Psychology and Master of Trumbull College
  • Emily Carson Coates, Lecturer in Theatre Studies
  • Richard O. Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Peabody Museum; Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • Laura Wexler, Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and American Studies

 Admission: Free

Open to:  General Public

Contact: Institute of Sacred Music  203-432-5062
 
***IN THE MEANTIME, DON’T MISS THE EXHIBITION!***

Exhibition | David Michalek: Slow Dancing

Slow Dancing at Lincoln Center, 2007
AT YALE:
Wednesday, September 10, 2014 – 8:00pm to Tuesday, September 16, 2014 – 11:00pm
Hours of operation: 8:00-11:00 PM
Location: Cross Campus (outdoors)YALE CAMPUS

Slow Dancing video here.

Presented with support from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Additional support from the International
Festival of Arts & Ideas and Site Projects New Haven.