The map of the world is usually perceived as an arrangement of continents, dominated by the land and defined territories, terra firma and borders. But what if we undertake a perceptive and conceptual reversal, and replace continents with seas, and plant oceans, such as the Pacific, in the center, instead of Europe? What if we substitute the earth with water, solid states with fluid ones? How can such a shift or turn influence our understanding and performance of knowledge, of art and identity?
Rather than defining global regions through the received cartographic flatlands of continents and nations, Fluid States are assembled around the more fluid and shifting oceanic grounds of the seas that separate and bind territorial margins: the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Southern Oceans, as well as subsidiary bodies of water such as the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Baltic and South China Seas, and connecting bodies of water such as the Panama Canal and Saint Lawrence Seaway. Fluid States emphasizes the fluxes, flows and currents that circulate around and in between fixed, stratified, centralized cartographies of knowledge: deep and treacherous spaces that are in-between and in-motion and thus have the potential to problematize boundaries and remap relations and limits of un/knowing.

How do we perform what we assume we know? How do we respond to, and become responsible towards, the particularities of the local, cultural, historical, ideological, social and political conditions of others’ performances, as well as of our own? In what ways does performance question and shift, or confirm and standardize the elements, structure and operational modes of the knowledge system (its signification protocols, discourse formations, transformative potentials, methodologies, institutions and distribution)? In what way is the unknown implied within the knowledge system, albeit isolated on its margins or excluded from its sights, institutions and market? Is it conditioned by difference, specificity, complexity, locality and ‘liminality’, or does it carry its own unknown logics, beyond the relational and potentially always colonized idea of the ‘Other’?

Fluid States enact ‘Performances of UnKnowing’, rather than renditions of the ‘known’ within dominant social and ideological paradigms, or, indeed, colonialist ideas of the ‘unknown’.
 Fluid States rely on locally situated formats and strategies to encounter and convey Performances of UnKnowing as opposed to the sanctioned systems of knowledge, their universal claims and imperial politics.
Fluid States: Performances of UnKnowing is not envisioned as a global and all-inclusive theme but a permeable frame exposed to manifold responses and challenges. Each regional cluster, as co-organizers, has developed distinctive themes generated through the specific environmental, social, cultural and political circumstances of their locality.

[photo by Jenny Downing]

Tags: Audiences Spectators Spectatorship in Performance  Performance Paradigms and Knowledges  Performance Studies  Performance Studies Lexicon  Performance Studies Pedagogies  Performance Studies Publishing  Philosophy and Performance  

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