A few years ago I found myself with a background in Literature and Theatre Arts, investigating socially and politically engaged creative processes, but feeling constrained by the limits of the written word. I was looking for a more expansive field that would include alternative knowledges and would give the body a central role in thinking about cultural products. Without knowing it, I was looking for Performance Studies! I discovered the department through the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics website, where I fell in love with Diana Taylor’s work and her research throughout the Americas. Wanting to learn more, I found the work of André Lepecki, Deb Kapchan, José Muñoz, and a whole amazing faculty that opened a new world for me. From that point onward, I have felt part of a community of thinkers and doers, who are able to write beautifully about urgent matters in arts, society, and politics, without removing themselves from the vitality of that which inspires their work. This is what Performance Studies taught me from the beginning: think, learn, do, and don’t stop doing, to keep thinking and learning.
Being physically away from my hometown, Performance Studies offered me the opportunity to investigate presences and absences, crucial to the process of remembering the thousands of desaparecidos in Latin America. With my MA thesis, I explored the ways in which new technologies might be used to generate alternative political subjects, communities, and spaces of belonging. My doctoral research focuses on what I always wanted to write about – collective creative processes on performance and politics –, but now in close collaboration with the artists who offer their bodies as vehicles of knowledge. Given the artistic vitality of New York City, Performance Studies is a hub for artists, scholars, and activists from across the Americas and the rest of the world. Having them close to home is inspirational, refreshing, and yet another reminder that we are constantly growing in each encounter.