Siobhan Angus//Septermber 24, 2021

Siobhan Angus//September 24th

Here-now, there-then, and the yet-to-come: Temporalities of Crisis



The temporal paradox that Roland Barthes observed in photographic time—the photograph is here-now that was there-then—has something in common with climate breakdown, for while climate catastrophe is here-now, it was caused by something that was there-then. As climate crisis has materially demonstrated, the traces of the past never fully disappear, but forms the existing material conditions of the present, and the future is always prefigured in the present. Photographic time, like climate crisis, is also yet-to-come. To consider the temporalities of crisis—which help us track the causes of climate breakdown and also, point to where we might go—this presentation turns to Warren Cariou’s photographs made with bitumen from the Athabasca Tar Sands. The Athabasca Tar Sands are the largest and most ecologically destructive industrial project in the world and this eco-system introduces complex questions about settler colonialism, extractive capitalism, and the role of the state in promoting extraction. I read Cariou’s photographs in dialogue with Metis anthropologist Zoe Todd’s work on fossil-kin, which asks what responsibilities we might have to fossil fuels in addition to the other human and extra-human species that make up the Athabasca region. Cariou makes the connection between extraction and representation tangible, and in doing so, prompts the question, what does it mean to see through oil?

Bio: Siobhan Angus is an art historian, curator, and organizer who specializes in the history of photography and the environmental humanities. Her book project, Camera GeologicaMateriality, Resource Extraction, and Photography, explores the visual culture of resource extraction with a focus on materiality, perceptions of nature, and environmental justice. She is currently a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art at Yale University and a visiting scholar at the Yale Center for British Art. Her research has been published in Panorama: Journal of the Association of Historians of American Art, Radical History Review, and Capitalism and the Camera (Verso, 2021) and is forthcoming in Geohumanities and October.

Lisa Woynarski Nov 5, 2021

Decolonising Ecodramaturgies

Ecodramaturgies: Theatre, Performance and Climate Change

This presentation is premised on recent critiques of the Anthropocene as homogenising, erasing difference and ignoring the unequal effects of climate change. Settler colonialism has been suggested as one the key markers in the shift in epochs to the Anthropocene, placing the exploitation of Indigenous peoples and lands at the heart of the concept (Lewis and Maslin 2015). With a focus on a British context of colonialism, I take an intersectional ecological approach based on the idea that, on a global scale, ecological effects are unevenly disrupted and tied to social structures that disproportionately affect marginalised people such as women, people of colour, Indigenous peoples and the poor. I consider how forgotten histories and the ongoing ecological effects of British colonialism in India are uncovered in the show-and-tell performance Common Salt (2018, 2020) by Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer. Salt also functions as an ecological material and metaphor in Salt. (2016–2019) by Selina Thompson as she retraces the British transatlantic slave trade, revealing the hidden connections between colonialism, enslavement, bodies and ecological elements. I argue that ecodramaturgies can bring to light ecological injustices in theatre and performance through an approach of intersectional ecologies.



Lisa (she/her) was born on traditional Anishinabewaki territory in Ontario, Canada. She is of white European settler/immigrant ancestry. She is now an immigrant herself as well as Associate Professor in Theatre in the Department of Film, Theatre & Television at the University of Reading, UK. As a performance-maker and scholar, her work connects performance and ecology, from an intersectional lens. She is the author of Ecodramaturgies: Theatre, Performance and Climate Change (Palgrave, 2020).

Jennifer Parker-Starbuck Nov 18 2021

The Sea is on Fire: Machinic Crustaceans and Ecological Promises

Machines de l'Île : les nouvelles oreilles de l'Éléphant en fabrication

This work-in-progress begins to think through how machinic (and substitute) nonhuman animals stand in for their real and fictitious counterparts, and how these stand-ins might draw attention to the technologies that both help and hinder environmental concerns and nonhuman futures. Focusing largely on Les Machines des L’ȋle in Nantes, France, a “theme park” of mechanical animals and sea creatures (and also drawing upon a new play, Yellowfin, which projects a world in which “the fish have gone”) this talk reflects on the power of the machinic or substitute creatures to both point to and at the same time override environmental concerns. At a time when the sea was actually on fire due to a pipeline leak, can exposure to machines and substitute nonhuman animals, or the ability to encounter them physically, cultivate an “awakening,” as the Les Machine website suggests? Will riding on a giant manta ray increase awareness later in life toward the environmental challenges the seas will face? Can embodiment shift the human-animal-technological balance?



Professor Jen Parker-Starbuck is the Head of the School of Performing Arts and Digital Media at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is author of Cyborg Theatre: Corporeal/Technological Intersections in Multimedia Performance (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, paperback 2014), Performance and Media: Taxonomies for a Changing Field (co-authored with Sarah Bay-Cheng and David Saltz, University of Michigan Press, 2015), and co-editor of Performing Animality: Animals in Performance Practices (with Lourdes Orozco, Palgrave, 2015). Her “Animal Ontologies and Media Representations: Robotics, Puppets, and the Real of War Horse” (Theatre Journal, Vol. 65, Number 3, October 2013) received the ATHE 2014 Outstanding Article award. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Theatre JournalPAJWomen and PerformanceTheatre TopicsInternational Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and CriticismWestern European Stages, and others. She served as the Editor of Theatre Journal from 2015-2019 and is a Contributing Editor to PAJ, the International Journal of Performing Arts and Digital Media, and is an Advisory Board member of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture. She is a Theme Leader for Story Lab, a strand of the ARHC funded Creative Clusters Programme StoryFutures.

Stacey Sacks Dec 2021

Fleshy Cartoons in Dialogue with the Already and Not Yet Dead

[[Event Cancelled]]


Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Stacey Sacks studied Performance and Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town and later completed the MA program ‘A Year of Physical Comedy’ at the Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Art in 2012. Sacks is co-author of The Clown Manifesto (Oberon/Bloomsbury, 2015) and recently completed a PhD in Performative and Media Based Practices at Stockholm University of the Arts. The fragmented texts emerging from this exploration are collectively entitled SQUIRM (the book, 2020), and are freely available online on the Research Catalogue (see links below).

Interested in trans-generational and intra-cultural haunting, Sacks experiments with auto-ethnography and productive discomfort in multi-modal ways, attempting to discover sharper ways of giving attention, making safe space for generative failure. Via a series of trans-disciplinary corporeal and material experiments, the research at root asks the question: how do I mobilize my positionality as a privileged body in the anti-colonial conversation?

Luxurious migrant // performing whiteness:

SQUiRM etc:

Sean Metzger//September 17

Sean Metzger//September 17



Sean Metzger presents research from his recent book, The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization, on 9/17/21 at 12pm-1pm EST.

“In The Chinese Atlantic, Sean Metzger charts processes of global circulation across and beyond the Atlantic, exploring how seascapes generate new understandings of Chinese migration, financial networks and artistic production. Moving across film, painting, performance, and installation art, Metzger traces flows of money, culture, and aesthetics to reveal the ways in which routes of commerce stretching back to the Dutch Golden Age have molded and continue to influence the social reproduction of Chineseness. With a particular focus on the Caribbean, Metzger investigates the expressive culture of Chinese migrants and the communities that received these waves of people. He interrogates central issues in the study of similar case studies from South Africa and England to demonstrate how Chinese Atlantic seascapes frame globalization as we experience it today. Frequently focusing on art that interacts directly with the sites in which it is located, Metzger explores how Chinese migrant laborers and entrepreneurs did the same to shape—both physically and culturally—the new spaces in which they found themselves. In this manner, Metzger encourages us to see how artistic imagination and practice interact with migration to produce a new way of framing the global.”

BIO: Sean Metzger is Associate Dean for Faculty and Students and a professor in the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television. He has published Chinese Looks: Fashion, Performance Race (2014) and The Chinese Atlantic: Seascapes and the Theatricality of Globalization (2020) both with Indiana University Press. He has coedited six collections of essays and a volume of plays and authored more than 50 articles and reviews. He is the former president of Performance Studies international and the editor of Theatre Journal.

Phoenix Gonzalez

Phoenix Gonzalez
Feb 23 noon-1pm EST

“‘The Fleetinge Fludd’: Ecological Thinking in a Contemporary Performance of Two Medieval Noah Pageants”
Phoenix Gonzalez is a Master of Arts in Religion student at Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music. In her work, she combines medieval drama and climate activism, staging medieval texts today to explore how they can forge community and help us question our assumptions, beliefs, and practices, both about religion and our environmental crisis. She received her BA in Religion at Princeton, where she first caught the medieval “bug.” Prior to her work at Yale, she lived in New York, where she performed in various new musicals and plays.
The Noah story was well known in late medieval English iconography, appearing frequently in striking stained glass windows and elaborate, emotional illuminations in personal Bibles, Books of Hours, and manuals for sermons such as the Holkham Bible. It was also one of the few Hebrew Bible stories to be found across the English mystery plays, those plays that added contemporary issues to stories in the Bible and then staged them for their communities each summer on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The importance of the Noah story in the medieval biblical narrative and its cosmic proportions beg the question, what sort of ecology did this pageant put forth for its medieval audiences? What image of nature would an audience have walked away with? This essay explores how two medieval plays performed at Yale Divinity School’s Marquand Chapel were staged to redefine the ecology of human relationships and their material surroundings, thereby reinterpreting what it means to interact with the wildness of God, each other, and the natural world. What can we learn from this reinterpretation today?


Yana Ross

Yana Ross

Feb 16, noon-1pm EST

Yana Ross is a cultural nomad— since age 5 she has been traveling through a vast variety of countries and cultures, absorbing experiences and adapting to various conditions of life and work. Her artistic passion is digging deep into a foreign culture to unveil a taboo subject which often is invisible to the locals. She then explores the themes in collaborative and improvisational methods often based on classical texts but ascued to transmit the main subject of research. Her Swedish Uncle Vanya took on ideas of “forced” inheritance and gender equalities, Our Class in Vilnius with local history of genocide and Icelandic “Salka Valka” with a subject of incest and overwhelming sexual child abuse in a local society. All of her international productions since 2013 have been awarded Best Director award in respective countries. Ross is the first female director to work on legendary Volksbuehne stage in Berlin (Macbeth 2008) and first and still the only female director who won the Golden Cross for best performance in Lithuania (2014, 2019)

She now is part of the artistic team at Schauspielhaus Zurich where during the 3-year tenure she shapes and navigates a state institution together with other seven artists: Trajal Harrel, Wu Tsang, Leoni Boehm, Nicolas Stemann, Alexander Giesche, Suna Geurler and Christopher Rühping. After completing her commitment in 2022 she will embark on a long-term collaboration with Berliner Ensemble.

Ross is currently in pre-production for performance based on David Foster Wallace “Brief interviews with hideous men” — working title “Requiem for Masculinity.” She is creating a strange dream Californian landscape with a bunch of mythical cowboys who take on human personae but perhaps are a reincarnation of greek gods propelling masculine mythology to it’s end. In the same landscape they encounter an Adam/Eve combo represented by two German adult industry performers who literally fuck on stage and also highjack some narratives.

Nahuel Telleria


“Becoming Boezzio: Exemplary Bodies and the Ethics of Memory in Postdictatorship Argentina


Museums typically display inert objects, and theaters present live bodies. But what happens when exhibitions have minds of their own? When what used to be still is? In the play Museo Miguel Ángel Boezzio (Miguel Ángel Boezzio Museum, 1998), a Malvinas veteran gives a lecture performance about his life while expectant audience members await the revelation of a secret history that never comes into being. Tied to the recent past of disappearances, war, and military dictatorship in Argentina between 1976 and 1983, the veteran’s exemplary body testifies to his survival and the recurring nature of national trauma. By affording him a stage and platform, playwright and director Federico León reflects on the logic (or illogic) of museum curation and puts the country’s troubled memory politics on display.


Nahuel Telleria is a doctoral candidate in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama. His research looks at the confessional attributes that structure postdictatorship Argentine theater in relationship to the socioeconomic contexts of democratic return and financial collapse. He has an MFA from Yale, an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago, and is the recipient of a 2019 Fulbright Research Grant. Alongside his scholarly endeavors, Nahuel works as a freelance dramaturg, translator, and writer.

Michael Portnoy//April 27th, 2021

In his artist’s talk, Portnoy will trace the themes and approaches that animate his work: his participatory projects based in his method of “Relational Stalinism”; his sustained engagement with experimental comedy; and his method of generative satire aimed at the “improvement” of visual art performance practices.  Along the way, he’ll reflect on the entanglement of language, movement (ie, dance and behavior), and theory in the creation of his performances.

Michael Portnoy (b. 1971, Washington, DC, USA) is a New York-based artist. Coming from a background in dance and stand-up comedy, his performance-based work employs a variety of media: from participatory installations to sculpture, painting, writing, theater, video and curation. Portnoy is largely concerned with manipulating language and behavior as a tool for world-bending – either in his “Relational Stalinist” game structures in which confusion, complication, and ambiguity are used to stretch participants’ speech and movement; or his quest to “improve” existing breeds of art through re-engineering. He has presented internationally in museums, art galleries, theatres and music halls, including recently Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria (2019 & 2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2016); the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2014); Cricoteka, Krakow, Poland (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2013); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2013); The Kitchen, New York, USA (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); 11th Baltic Triennial (co-curator), Vilnius, Lithuania (2012); and the Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan (2010).


Caden will discuss the history of Big Art Group, their works, and their framework for building and executing their performances. In the realization of the work, the company developed several strategies and techniques for performance training. Among these are Real-Time Film; Movement-based training in awareness of the video camera and its frame; and strategies for mediated presence. Caden will also discuss the company’s tactics of Queering Character: creating a character that exists only as an assemblage of the effort of several actors working as a group, negotiating representation from moment to moment, and existing as a cyborg.
Caden Manson is a performance and media artist, co-founder of the performance/media ensemble Big Art Group, editor at Contemporary Performance, and curates the annual Special Effects Festival in NYC. Caden has co-created, directed, media and set designed 22 Big Art Group productions; shown video installations in Austria, Germany, NYC, and Portland; and performed PAIN KILLER in Berlin, Singapore, and Vietnam. Big Art Group has toured throughout Europe and North North America and has been co-produced by the Vienna Festival, Festival d’Automne a Paris, Hebbel Am Ufer, Rome’s La Vie de Festival, and Wexner Center for The Arts. Manson is a Foundation For Contemporary Art Fellow, Pew Fellow, and a MacDowell Fellow. and has been published in PAJ, Theater Magazine, Theater der Zeit, and Theater Journal. Caden is the Director of The Theatre Program at Sarah Lawrence College BA, MFA