Doing fieldwork on/with performative arts (Swiss Anthropology Association annual meeting)

Call for papers

Doing fieldwork on/with performative arts: explorations in aesthetic, relational, and creative methods

part of the Annual Meeting of the SAA (Swiss Anthropology Association)

Date: 22-24 April 2021

Location: either Monte Verità (Ascona, Switzerland) or virtual

The purpose of this panel is to further anthropological reflections on art with a specific focus on performative arts (or performance based art forms). We would like to invite researchers to consider the specific issues and opportunities offered in doing research on this particular form of art. To capture and understand such practices requires that we creatively rethink our methodological tools and our theoretical perspectives regarding fieldwork. Therefore, questions this panel would like to address include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Aesthetics: How can we approach pieces of performative art on their own terms? How can we practice research that does not evacuate the content and form of the art pieces? How do we include in our considerations such things as the movement, aesthetic, sonorous, visual, or felt aspects of the piece?
  • Relation to artists: How can we take into account the artist’s own intellectual, sensuous, aesthetic and affective contributions (which are present in their work)? What kinds of intellectual and affective relationships do we create when we work with artists on their own work? What kinds of positioning might we want to adopt?
  • Temporality: What methods are required for us to grasp practices that tend to be ephemeral, and which, unlike paintings in museums, do not sit still to allow us prolonged observation? Interconnected mediums: How do we observe the simultaneous complexity of the interconnected aspects of this art form, in which so many different things are often happening at the same time (sound, light, movement, interaction between performer and audience, etc.)? How can we analyze and render such complex interconnections?
  • Creative writing forms: What are some novel ways in which we can do “note-taking” when we are doing fieldwork on performative arts? What forms of restitution can we use to communicate our observations? How do these forms of restitution influence our fieldwork approach and relationships?

Link for submissions:
Deadline for submission: January 20, 2021