PeARL: Performance Artistic Research Lab 2020 — 2021

PeARL: Performance Artistic Research Lab 2020 — 2021

We invite artists and academics from different disciplines to contribute on an equal basis to research and experiment during the course of the academic year 2020 — 2021 in developing the field of Practice-as-Research (PaR).

We are the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for investigating what can be meant by the term ‘performance’ in academic contexts today. It asks how research can inform artistic practice and vice-versa.

‘Performance’ is normally understood as relating to an art practice or artefact; but it can also stand for a social interaction, a research process, or a philosophy. Enacting performance, these might creatively collide. There might be inherent tensions between making art and practicing research, as between performing and philosophising; but, we insist, there are no impermeable boundaries. We are keen to seek out the porousness here — the cracks, the mutations, the cross-currents.

PeARL will insist on the freedom to experiment. Our praxis will be informed by contemporary knowledge accumulated in the field of Performance Studies. We will valorise ideas on the Body across the project. Our research initiatives and intellectual
enquiry will be stimulated by contemporary art practices.

We will seek to open new ways in which performance as art-making, research, social practice and philosophy inform and enrich each other.

PeARL Tutors

Alexandra Staruseva-Persheeva (HSE Art & Design School)
​​​​​​​Irina Sakhno (RUDN, HSE Art & Design School)
Irina Sirotkina (IHST RAS)

Roger Smith (independent researcher)

Tatiana Fadeeva (HSE Art & Design School, Moscow)

PeARL is Co-directed by

Anna Furse (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Professor of Theatre and Performance, Goldsmiths, University of London, Director: MA in Performance Making, Co-Director Centre of the Body and Departmental Research, and Artistic Director Athletes of the Heart;

Liudmila Alyabieva (HSE Art & Design School)

Assistant Professor, HSE Art& Design School, Academic Director of the Doctoral School of Arts & Design HSE, Editor-in-chief of the Russian Fashion Theory: Journal of Dress, Body & Culture.

Key topics

All sessions take place Wednesdays 5 pm — 7 pm (London Summer Time) 4 pm — 6 pm (London Winter Time) 7 pm — 9 pm (Moscow Time)

  • Performance and the Body
  • Performance and Space
  • Performance and Spectator
  • Performance and Society

Selected bibliographies

Selected bibliographies for October-December 2020 sessions (be kindly noted some information will be added to).

21/10/20. Introduction to the Lab

Anna Furse
Liudmila Aliabieva
Irina Sirotkina
Roger Smith
Irina Sakhno
Tatiana Fadeeva
Alexandra Staruseva-Persheeva

28/10/20. Being Touched. Anna Furse with discussant Roger Smith

Anna Furse with discussant Roger Smith

Starting from her chapter ’Being Touched’, that explores the touch sense in relation to how the ’artsport’ Contact Improvisation can be understood in an ethical dimension, in this presentation Anna Furse will discuss this in the context of todays’ touch-phobic society and ask how we might address this very basic human need, socially and artistically.

11/11/20. Movement to mask, to veil and to uncover.

Irina Sirotkina with discussants Laini Burton, Alison Matthews David and others

Masks can be used as markers of the boundary between public and private, personal and impersonal, the disguised and the revealed, the self and the Other. We can think, for example, of medical masks, of ‘the Moscow Metro Mask’, a reserved and hostile facial expression Russian people wear in public, of the infamous American ‘Blackface’, of half-masks the French mime, Étienne Decroux, used to hide his face, ‘the instrument of lie, the apostle of blather’. Yet we can also think of masks that are fun, of Italian commedia dell’arte, carnivals, of the DIY transformative make-up, or else of masks as healing tools in the hand of psychiatrists and art therapists


25/11/20. Agency and the meaning of movement: relating subjective movement and political movement

Roger Smith with discussant Jorella Andrews

This talk is about the semantic richness of movement as action and in
language. I relate this to agency, the power a person has to act, the
subjective feeling that goes with action, and the social and political
context of action. A performance always exhibits movement, about which
both performer and audience have feelings and to which they both
respond. The expression of agency in movement is central to identity.

9/12/20. VR performance: digitized subjectivity and relation aesthetics

Alexandra Staruseva-Persheeva and Tatiana Fadeeva
Globalised media theorists since the time of McLuhan and Youngblood have been visualizing the newer society developed by communicational technologies. However this type of evolution needs more of an engine than just technologies — a new type of empathy is to be built up. We argue that VR-technologies today are an apt instrument not only of artistic statement and communication, but also means of social integration which makes permeable «membranes» of social units. In virtual reality a user is able to experience the new subjectivity, being-with-the-Other, or — to a certain extent — being the Other. When such «meetings» take place in a safe space of aesthetic experience a spectator can literally take part in these scenarios and experience the affects that would be unimaginable in everyday life, expand his own boundaries of subjectivity and go beyond the limits of an egocentric position.

Participating in projects using VR technology for social purposes (such as Rising, Blood and Sand, The Machine To Be Another, Equal Reality, Tree VR, Etc.) viewers are able to fully understand actions and emotions of the Other (be it a human, tree, or animal) via bodily «solidarity» — as one of the fundamental foundations of empathy.

16/12/20. Performing a Fashionable Body and Pose round table discussion

Participants: Ksenia Gussarova, Jana Melkumova-Reynolds, Lily McMenamy, Jana Romanova and others
Moderator: Liudmila Aliabieva


Аспирантская школа по искусству и дизайну

Аспирантская школа по искусству и дизайну — программа нового формата, которая открывает нашим студентам и выпускникам возможности профессионального развития не только в сфере академических исследований или преподавания, но и в сфере социокультурного проектирования. Наряду с получением исследовательских компетенций и написанием диссертации обучение в аспирантуре позволит освоить прикладные навыки проектной работы в сфере культуры.

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