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Arts and Culture | Workshop

POSTPONED- Making a Laboratory: What Method for Erotohistoriography?

Wednesday 6 May 2020 - Thursday 7 May 2020
Workshop: Wednesday 6 May @ 10:00 – 14:00 & Thursday 7 May @ 10:00 – 14:00
P.J. Veth building
Nonnensteeg 1-3


Unfortunately we have to postpone the workshop with Ben Spatz due to the Corona-virus. We are trying to reschedule the workshop to later this year. Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook-page.

For Elizabeth Freeman, erotohistoriography as a method “admits that contact with historical materials can be precipitated by particular bodily dispositions, and that these connections may elicit bodily responses, even pleasurable ones, that are themselves a form of understanding. It sees the body as a method, and historical consciousness as something intimately involved with corporeal sensations” (2010: 95-96). This talk advances the potential realization of such a “bottom” or “femme” historiography, by demonstrating how audiovisuality can be incorporated into academic research as part of new research methods that transform the research process and its outcomes. What if the interplay of history and identity in the researchers’ own bodies were recognized as central to the research process? What if the inherently collaborative concept of the laboratory were taken as a starting point for research in arts and humanities? What if audiovisual production were understood not only as a source of important objects for analysis but also as a form of scholarly publication?

This two-day workshop will introduce a new audiovisual embodied research method by which the intersections of history, identity, and emplacement can be rigorously investigated, generating a new type of collaboratively generated and richly open-ended video data. Participants will work in multiple small-group “configurations” according to a set of roles and relations that distil the potential of performing and other embodied arts to generate knowledge, learning practical techniques that can be applied to other research projects dealing with performance, audiovisuality, and the history of embodied technique. Drawing on but distinct from methods in performance studies, visual anthropology, and video art, this approach will be of interest to anyone who is seeking more adequate methods for engaging with embodiment today.

ARC session May 6

The accompanying talk will present elements from the Judaica Project lab (2017), which drew on critical and historical sources to intervene in the contemporary construction of jewish and other politicized identities. A range of video materials created by the Judaica Project team (Ben Spatz, Nazlıhan Eda Erçin, and Agnieszka Mendel) will be shown, so that the project — and its underpinning method — can be examined as an example of multimedial erotohistoriography. Considering also the wider context of video-based research, as realized for example by the new videographic Journal of Embodied Research, we will ask how the development and decolonization of artistic research could help to reimagine and reshape the university.

This talk is part of the art_research_convergence series (ARC) in Club Korzo. Once a month, free entry, 7 PM-9.30 PM

Ben Spatz

Ben Spatz is a nonbinary researcher and theorist of embodied practice. They are Senior Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance at the University of Huddersfield, UK and author of three books: What a Body Can Do (Routledge 2015), Blue Sky Body (Routledge 2020), and Making a Laboratory (Punctum 2020). Ben is editor of the videographic Journal of Embodied Research from Open Library of Humanities and of the Advanced Methods imprint from Punctum Books, as well as co-convener of the Embodied Research Working Group within the International Federation for Theatre Research. Ben’s critical and methodological proposals for audiovisual embodied research have been presented at nearly thirty institutions in eleven countries, ranging from large research universities to theater academies and conservatories. They have more than two decades of experience as a performer and director of contemporary performance, working mainly in New York City from 2001 to 2013. For more information, please visit: <www.urbanresearchtheater.com>.

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