Interdisciplinary strate in applied performance and activism

Conference paper

Johansson, O. 2014. Interdisciplinary strate in applied performance and activism. Theatre & Stratification. University of Warwick 28 Jul - 01 Aug 2014 pp. 1-6
TypeConference paper
TitleInterdisciplinary strate in applied performance and activism
AuthorsJohansson, O.

The paper addresses the challenges and advantages of collaborative stratification in the continuum of theatre and fine arts, with examples from applied performance projects in international contexts. With different approaches to performance/media, acting/agency, devising/curatorship and participation/social engagement, collaborative processes have proved to be quite incongruent in method and motif, although inclusive and versatile in media tactics and political outreach. In post-Brechtian theatre the critical impetus of context always carry as much meaning as ostensive character relations, a force field which is exemplified in the co-extensive performativity of applied theatre and institutional critique in the cases presented in the paper.
Three collaborative projects led by Ola Johansson (Reader in Contemporary Performance Practice, Middlesex University) and Amanda Newall (Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm) will be discussed: (1) an activist performance against an IKEA store with the American performance/media group The Yes Men; (2) a bio-arts performance/video work about post-colonial Western Australia; and (3) a theatre production about male privilege in Sweden and South Africa. In all three projects Newall’s use of costume, material objects and visual effects stand in paratactical relations to Johansson’s devised processes with the intent to open a third space where so-called ‘emancipated spectators’ (Rancière) either need to take action (à la ‘spectactors’) or remain passive although on a conceptually shared stage with the performers.
By tracing the educational legacy of performance art (John Dewey’s creative democracy) and applied theatre (Paolo Freire’s participatory pedagogy) and its subsequent artistic initiatives to activate the chasm between performer and spectator (conceptualized simultaneously although independently by Allan Kaprow and Augusto Boal), the paper will pursue interdisciplinary genealogies of performance research but also revive a discourse on political efficacy in applied performance.

ConferenceTheatre & Stratification
Page range1-6
Publication dates
PrintJul 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jun 2015
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Web address (URL)
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