Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Zombomodernism: the Ends of Practice-as-research (CSSD, London)


The figure of the zombie is the uncanny split par excellence: neither living nor dead, both familiar and unfamiliar. The zombie presents a unmeasurable proximal distance between the known and unknown. The zombie’s movements are human in resemblance (as is its physical form), and yet, in its single-minded determination, its constant pace, and its inability to manoeuvre around obstacles in its path, it is clearly inhuman.

Is not the condition of the zombie also the condition of the modern practice-as-research academic? That is, current PAR can be described as existing within a state of ‘Zombomodernity,’ that post-postmodern state in which the ideas are not dead, but nor are they truly alive. Practice-as-research features a similar uncanny split: is it research or is it art? And the spectacle of the modern practice-as-research academic is analogous to that of the zombie in many ways: we’re single-minded, move slowly and bang our heads against the wall over and over again.

Central School of Speech and Drama’s Research Degree students are pleased to announce a one-day interdisciplinary colloquium exploring practice-as-research from the perspective of its relationship to both professional practice and the institution, aimed at finding the antidote and liberating it from Zombomodernism or cutting its head off and putting it to rest forever. As an institution, CSSD is uniquely placed to explore these issues, being itself an uncanny hybrid of conservatoire and research institution, and this colloquium is part of the Festival of Emergent Art, a high-profile two week festival of new practice-as-research performances and presentations from PhD students, MA Performance Practices and Research students, staff and visiting artists.

We invite 20-minute papers and proposals for workshops that might interrogate the value of PAR and its contribution to new knowledge and professional practice.

What is the relationship between PaR and professional practice?
What is the relationship between PaR and the university?
Does PaR create new knowledge?
Is the university the best place to make experimental practice?
Can we imagine new ways of documenting experimental practice?
Can we imagine new ways of writing about practice?
Can we stop asking ourselves if it’s ok and just get on with it?

Submissions are invited from all researchers and postgraduate students working in theatre, drama, dance, film, puppetry and object-theatre, circus, installation, live art and visual culture. Interdisciplinary work is especially welcome, as well as submissions of experimental writing and documentation.

Please send a 250 word abstract (for papers) or proposal (for workshops)along with a brief biographical statement to colloquium organiser Broderick Chow at by Monday, 6 July 2009. Please send large attachments Decisions will be made within three weeks. Any questions can also be directed to the colloquium organiser.

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