New Dramaturgies

6:30–7:30pm / Oct 5 / Segal Theatre

Off Sites: Contemporary Performance Beyond Site-Specific

Bertie Ferdman

Photo courtesy of the artists.

Off Sites: Contemporary Performance Beyond Site-Specific: Tracing the genealogy of site-based work through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Off-Sites contextualizes the techniques and methods of the incredibly rich and vital genre of site-specific performance. Originally used for experimental staging practices and then later also for engaged situational events, site-specific is no longer sufficient for the genre’s many contemporary variations. Using the term off-site, Ferdman illustrates five distinct ways artists have challenged the disciplinary framework of site-specific theatre: blurring the traditional boundaries between the fictional and the real; changing how the audience and actor interact with each other and whether they are physically together or apart; fabricating sites from physically bound, conceptually constructed, or virtual spaces; staging live situations in real/nonreal and often mediated encounters; and challenging our preconceived notions of time and space. Ferdman examines site-based work being done by contemporary companies and artists who are experimenting with new forms and practices that move beyond the stage. The evening will feature a brief introduction to the book and a conversation with featured artist David Levine.

Bertie Ferdman is a contemporary performance scholar whose essays have appeared in TDR, Theater, PAJ, Theatre Journal, Theatre Survey, Performance Research, TCG, and HowlRound. Her book projects include Off Sites: Contemporary Performance beyond Site-Specific (2018, SIU Press), Critical Companionto Performance Art (co-edited with Jovana Stokic, forthcoming in 2020, Bloomsbury Press), and Curating Dramaturgies (a collection of interviews with industry professionals, co-edited with Peter Eckersall). She is Associate Professor of Theatre at Borough Manhattan Community College at the City University of New York.

David Levine is an artist, director, and writer. Recent solo exhibitions include Some of the People, All of the Time at the Brooklyn Museum, and Private View at 83 Pitt Street.  He is a 2018 Guggenheim recipient and Professor of the Practice of Performance, Theater, and Media at Harvard University. His writing has appeared in n+1, Triple Canopy, Cabinet, Frieze and Theater. Best Behavior, an anthology of his writings on theater and performance, will be published this fall by 53rd State Press, alongside A Discourse on Method, an artists’ book co-authored with Shonni Enelow.

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