This reading series 'Objects and Economies of Performance' conceived by Rachel O'Reilly is a response to If I Can't Dance's research field of 'Appropriation and Dedication', and is leading up to the 'Performance Days' (27 Nov - 3 Dec), a performance programme featuring all If I Can't Dance's commissioned projects and research projects developed the past two years (see the full programme now online and buy your tickets!). Note you can sign up already for the final 4th session, that is taking place on Thursday 27 November from 2-4pm at the festival location on Ruysdaelkade 2. The 4th group is open to other interested people and the guests who are present for the Performance Days.
In our second gathering we focused on the 'psychology of subject-object relations' with texts by Melanie Klein and D.W. Winnicot. This dynamic meeting unfolded through an exercise proposed by Rachel, involving everyone writing down what had spoken to them in the text, ranging from the personal to the analytic, that then provided food for further discussion.
For the upcoming third session, we are revisiting a specific meeting of psychoanalysis and marxism in the figure of Louis Althusser, specifically in his essay 'The Underground Current of the Materialism of the Encounter' (1982 and 1986). The text is notable for its discussion of 'aleatory materialism' - a now taken for granted (and critically variegated) approach to practice in which 'an abandonment or bracketing out of philosophical themes of origins, final ends, and ultimate causes' is central.
Alongside Althusser, we're reading 'Barbarism' by poet Lyn Hejinian from her book 'The Language of Inquiry' (2000). With Hejinian we explore a parallel view of the formation of 1970s 'language poetry' or language writing (US centred/biased) that was working concurrently to the rise of writing/reading practices in performance art and that is a line of inquiry within If I Can't Dance's current programme.
Finally, we are reading 'On Drafts' - a memorandium of Understanding - in 'Blue Studio: Poetry as Cultural Work' by Rachel Blau du Plessis, one of the most prominent feminist woman poet-critics of the last few decades. In this chapter she is making transparent/understandable/readable certain latent aspects of "ambition" questions, aleatory production, obscurities of intent, in/of poetic labouring at form, in the process of 'Drafts'.