Call for Papers PSi#23 “OverFlow”

Performance Studies international Annual Conference
Hamburg 2017

June 8-11, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany


The conference theme “OverFlow” takes a reverse view on the political tropes customary in “times of crisis” – “OverFlow” focuses on abundance, transgression, and leakage instead of the usually evoked themes of lack, restriction, and loss. The event takes place in the context of the performing arts triennial Theater der Welt (“theater of the world”), which, in 2017, is dedicated to Hamburg harbor with its history of cosmopolitism and colonial trade, of boom and bust, of immigration and emigration. The sprawling harbor scenery (partly globalized commercial and tourist hub, partly local post-industrial decay, partly contested social space) is set to provide the backdrop to a great variety of site-specific performances. It also has a history of storm tides and of being literally overflowed.

In recent years, the idea of “flow,” i.e. of being fully immersed in the activity at hand, has gained prominence in the theories of subjectivity and collectivity, but also in the self-help industry as the pathway to happiness, wellness and a good life. Moreover, notions of “flow” have influenced performance art (and the performing arts in general) with respect to concepts and practices of the moving body, artistic collaboration (from cooperative practices to the synchronization of processes), the use of time (simultaneity), creativity, etc. As a conference theme, “OverFlow” breaks away from “flow’s” inherent promise and poses questions of overload, escalation, interruption, hybrid connectivity as well as disconnection, redundancy, boundaries and borders. The “over” in “OverFlow” can be the rupture of spillovers and profusion; it also relates to an alleged or real overcrowding of space and time, the rhetoric of expulsion or inclusion of desired or undesired bodies, techniques of overpowering or depleting the senses, etc. All of these and many additional aspects have not only been the subject of intense political, ethical, and social scrutiny in recent years. They have also been explored in performance art and performance studies. The conference aims at producing its own “OverFlow” by engendering modes of exchange, discussion, interconnection, and contrasts between these various points of view.

The organizers invite contributions by both scholars and artists that critically engage with “flow” and/or deal with the various facets of “OverFlow” in performative practices, aesthetic phenomena, and performance art. This also includes performance studies perspectives from different artistic and academic fields (in the humanities and social sciences) on the political, ethical, and social dimensions of overflow, spillage, and abundance, e.g. in:

• politics: “being rendered superfluous,” post-colonialism and cultural imperialism, migration, borders and border controls, etc.
• society: abundance, expendability, and needlessness, cultural transformations and appropriations, the diversity of gender, ethnic and religious affiliations, etc.
• economics: critique of capitalism, financial crises, the “affluent” and the post-growth-driven society, etc.
• media/technology: data streams, memory space, big data, computerization of everyday life, information overload and redundancy, etc.
• ecology and the environment: waste, high tides and tsunamis (“harbor wave”), factory farming, nutrition (obesity, alcoholism) etc.

Contributions may consist of individual papers, panels, roundtables, open spaces, lecture performances, praxis sessions, workshops, performances, installations, etc. The organizers would like to encourage formats that “overflow” a strict distinction between art and academia or that reflect the status (and responsibility) of the arts in the so-called “knowledge-based societies.” What kinds of knowledge, practices, and forms of critique regarding social, ecological, political, ethical and cultural processes do the arts produce? What kinds of findings or other forms of awareness do they trigger? What kind of “surplus” or “disruption” can be found in “artistic knowledge” or, for that matter, “artistic research”?

Please send your suggestion for a paper, a whole panel, etc. (max. 500 characters; word, rtf or pdf-format) by September 30, 2016 (extended until October 21) to the following email-address: Please include your name, contact information, affiliation and suggested format at the top of your submission (and also a short CV at the end). Please refrain from multiple entries.
Due to the “Theater der Welt”-festival there will be no PSi evening sessions.

Organizing Team:
Amelie Deuflhard, Gabriele Klein, Martin Joerg Schaefer, Imanuel Schipper, Wolfgang Sting for:
Performance Studies, Hamburg University:
Kampnagel, International Center for Finer Arts: