22-27 November 2011, Athens
A 3-day PSi Regional Research Cluster entitled ‘Encounters in Synchronous Time’ was held in Athens-Greece, with the participation of both regional and international artists and theorists working in theatre, dance and performance. Previous to the Cluster but within its frame, two workshops with artists that also participated in the cluster took place.
Moreover, two pre-cluster meetings were scheduled with the exclusive participation of Greek performance artists and theorists living and working both in Greece and abroad before the actual Regional Research Cluster took place. These gatherings aimed at bringing together strong and diverse critical voices of the region, who could both offer a substantial regional contribution to the event, and ensure a continuity in the development of a strong critical language in performance studies in Greece post-event. It was precisely for this reason that we curated it as an open platform, a coming together in synchronous time, as far as the Greek participation was concerned, incorporating as many voices as possible from distinct academic and cultural institutions in Greece. The attendants of those pre-cluster meetings participated in the planning of the Greek participation in the cluster, on the basis of collaborative models of work and research.
The aim of this Cluster was to examine the notion of ‘synchronicity’ and its meaning and relevance within the frame of performance and performance studies today, regionally and internationally. The responsibility of art and critical discourse towards their present time constitutes a vital question, especially in conditions of augmentative economical, environmental and political crises, such as those taking place currently. Even more pressing though, given our present conditions, was the question of what we eventually consider as ‘current’, i.e. as ‘contemporary time’ and how we ‘synchronize’ ourselves with it.
The term ‘synchronous’ is the corresponding translation in Greek of the Latin-derived one ‘contemporary’. Acknowledging the similar etymology of the two terms (with-time: syn-chronos, con-tempo), we drew particular attention to the meaning and use of the Greek prefix ‘syn-’, as it provides a ground on which to review the relatively exhausted term ‘contemporary’ and to revalue its potential for performance today. Namely, ‘syn-’ is not so much used to indicate ‘with’, as it is used to reveal the notion of ‘together with’… together with one’s time but also together with an other.
Given this idea of togetherness, which also suggests an encounter, what is defined as synchronous is not an event that has to follow or position itself in relation to an other event, in order to be named as such; rather, togetherness suggests the co-existence of two or more synchronous events, which may differ significantly or not, but which in any case happen ‘together with one another’, in a shared time, moving through more or less parallel paths.
Starting from the above mentioned thoughts, this cluster and the associated workshops focused on questions such as the following:
- What does it mean to be contemporary? And to what is one contemporary?
- How can we overcome performance’s struggle with the demand to be contemporary, in the sense of the new, original, or innovative?
- Could the notion of ‘synchronicity’ provide the ground for new political imaginaries?
- How does the notion of encounter help us address issues of spectatorship, individuality, alterity and collaboration, dialogue and exchange in performance and performance studies today?
> Writers-in-residency: Evi
> Writers-in-residency: Bezdomny
> Writers-in-residency: Eleftheria
> Writers-in-residency: Marios
> Writers-in-residency: Stefania
> Writers-in-residency: Bettina
> Writers-in-residency: Georgina