Microperformativity: Realness Tests in Post-Anthropocentric Times

Feb 23, 2012

Seminar directed by Jens Hauser at FluxMedia

Performance art is currently being turned upside down by a more general shift toward performativity in art. In tandem with this development, hybrid forms are emerging and the usual aesthetic frameworks and scales are being broken down, including the predominance of the human scale. Beyond the mesoscopic tradition in which our phenomenological considerations are still rooted, artists and performers are coming to grips with micro and macroscopic dimensions, redefining what we consider a “body,” thus enlarging the scope by taking physical gestures to the level of physiological phenomena and even biotechnological transformations. This trend illustrates that the concept of performativity is shifting, no longer at home in its original context within the philosophy of language, and confronted by a variety of subjects and disciplines. Microperformativity implies organic fragments or artefacts that do something and can even present characteristics of agency. In both visual and performing arts, logocentric modes and representation are giving way to more presence and realness tests. Is this oscillation between ‘meaning cultures’ and ‘presence cultures’ part of a broader phenomenon that is also causing spectators to adopt a modified co-corporeality stance?

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Jens Hauser

Jens Hauser is a Paris-based curator, author and arts and culture critic. With a background in Media Studies and Science Journalism, he focuses on the interactions between art and technology, as well as on trans-genre and contextual aesthetics. He has curated exhibitions such as L’Art Biotech (Nantes, 2003), Still, Living (Perth, 2007), sk-interfaces (Liverpool, 2008/Luxembourg, 2009), the Article Biennale (Stavanger, 2008), Transbiotics (Riga 2010), Fingerprints… (Berlin, 2011) and Synth-ethic (Wien, 2011). Hauser organizes interdisciplinary conferences and guest lectures at universities and international art academies. In his current research at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, he investigates the biomediality and wetware paradigms. Hauser is also a founding collaborator of the European culture channel ARTE and has produced numerous radio features. His recent publications include sk-interfaces. Exploding Borders – Creating Membranes in Art, Technology and Society. (Liverpool University Press, 2008) and Fingerprints… Paul Vanouse. Index-Imprint-Trace (argobooks, 2011).

Audio and visual images by David Jhave Johnston