PRAXIS, INC: Innovate, Network, Collaborate is the department's annual community event in which we invite current students, faculty and alumni to come together and share their skills in the field of Performance Studies, engage in important conversations, and stay connected with colleagues and peers. We are so excited to be celebrating 10 years of PRAXIS this year! We hope you join us for this special day of workshops and performance lectures culminating in in a keynote alumni lecture by Eva Margarita, M.A. '20 and her collaborator Zuly Inirio. 


Schedule of PRAXIS 2023


Requiem for Black Grief, Eva Margarita M.A. '20 & Dr. Zuly Inirio: In our continued navigation of collective mourning, Requiem for Black Grief explores the possibilities available for respectively working with the black female subject. Recognizing the valued gestures ritual performance offers, this performance-lecture brings together theories in accompaniment, wakework, and performance studies to explore how a requiem acts as a commemorative mass for the dead. To work with the dead is to recognize the ways in which we are accompanied by our grief; a particular presence that requires an act of care when used as a vehicle of creation. Using opera, collective music making, and breathwork Requiem for Black Grief asks audience members to hold space for black women to highlight how grief manifests by feeling, singing, and being with one another. This performance lecture uses mourning as a tool of remembrance and survivance that affirms the complex personhood of those who have passed on. As such this session asks, what can be produced by processing the affective states we enter as we engage with the requiem? What does it take to respectively work with and for the dead? Lastly, how can we work with a decolonial history of loss that when unearthed, refuses to be forgotten?

Session 1:

The Economics of Being an Artist - Thriving in Parallel Careers, Meron Langsner M.A. '00: A discussion of the real economics of working as an artist, and how to fund your work not with a "survival job" or "side hustle" but with a parallel career.  In a better world, we would all be compensated a living wage for our work, until that time we need to learn to thrive in the world we are actually working in.  A parallel career should not be about limiting one's artistic work, but about giving oneself greater longevity as a working artist.  Money is an indelicate and impolite subject, and it is also the greatest obstacle of individual artists. This is an impolite conversation about how to think about overcoming that obstacle. 

Authorless compositions and collective virtuals: Real-Time Composition, Leonor Lopes Mendes M.A. Candidate: This practice, research and improvisation based collective workshop is an exercise towards a composition that belongs to nobody and to everybody.
As possible guides towards this investigation we will be exploring some exercises of collective Real-time Composition and exploring the concept of virtuals (possibilities of engagement with given propositions). Real-time composition is a system of theoretical-practical improvisation conceived by João Fiadeiro, which seeks to develop and investigate the processes of decision and composition that are triggered in the encounter with something new/unexpected. The general premise of this practice is to be aware of the state of uncertainty with regard to what is to come. Exploring the moment of “not knowing” and  remaining in the present doubt, remaining in “real-time”.  Whenever in contact with a new situation we are obliged to reformulate a previous conviction or idea, which takes an interval of time that may vary in duration depending on the scale of this conviction. The"real-time" component deals with the time interval our mind takes between identifying an encounter and reacting to it/with it. It is referring to a present moment, without components of the future forecast.  
Like Donna Haraway’s “staying with the trouble” we will be trying to stay with the unknown in a exercise of authorless compositions.

Theatricalizing the Classroom, Beth Kurkjian PhD '15: Spin, Cluster, Look, Switch, Circle, Pause, Shake, Meander, Listen, Breathe, Point, Face… This session contemplates how our classrooms are akin to theatrical spaces and engages with the question: how might brief, simple acts of theatricalization in the class energize our students and contribute to their quality of attention, willingness to take risks, and sense of community? In the past, as a performer, Beth studied with American theater director Anne Bogart and trained in Viewpoints. Returning to teaching in-person (non-socially distanced classes) caused her to become more conscious of the ways she had always intuitively integrated theatrical attributes in the classroom—based on some of Bogart’s training, specifically her ideas around: Spatial Relationship, Kinesthetic Response, Architecture, and Tempo. The application of these ideas in our classrooms feels increasingly relevant on a human/social level in the wake of COVID and pedagogically intriguing. While she will succinctly represent Bogart’s concepts (which build off of choreographer Mary Overlie’s original Six Viewpoints) as well as some of the ways she has applied them.  She is curious about the further (and flexible) application of these ideas and welcome colleagues to share their perspectives and practices.

Session 2:

What's Leftover: Memories Performed on Plates, Sangita Pawar M.A. '22: I believe that eating – in technique, pace and taste – is an embodied experience that offers invaluable information about the self and its histories. This session will be a combination of a presentation of works and a workshop. The artistic works showcased examine how plates and what's left on them after a meal perform memories that are integral to one's identity. The second portion of the session will be a shared and guided eating experience that allows attendees to explore their own cultural  memories inform how they eat. We will have a group discussion about the findings on our plates after the meal and their relation to our bodies and memories, and participate in a short lesson on how to preserve the stories found on our empty plates in drawings. 

Trans Boxing: A Boxing Club, An Art Project, Zachary I. Easterling PhD Candidate & Nolan Hanson: Trans Boxing is an ongoing, co-authored art project in the form of a boxing club, which was founded in 2017 to explicitly encourage the participation of trans and gender variant people in the sport. In addition to operating as a fully functional boxing club, Trans Boxing has developed into a community-building platform that re-imagines possibilities for social engagement through boxing. We will read a portion of an upcoming article whose abstract is included above and give a brief exhibition of boxing. In this article, we take the constellation of concepts brought into focus here – trans, boxing, art, and co-authorship – to explore how Trans Boxing offers new readings of boxing, and challenges established codes of practice. To describe the project's method, we offer precedents from both boxing and art history, and reveal how we understand Trans Boxing’s relation to two examples of funk: one presented by Adrian Piper’s performance series “Funk Lessons” and the other by L.H. Stallings’ Funk the Erotic: Transaesetics and Black Sexual Cultures.

(Re)Scripting Sex, Jessamyn Fitzpatrick M.A. Candidate: The idea of sexual script brings a new metaphor and imagery for understanding human sexual activity as social and learned interactions. The idea highlights three levels of scripting: cultural/historical, social/interactive and personal/intrapsychic. It draws from a range of theories including symbolic interactionism, discourse theory and feminism. Extending this metaphor further, this interactive workshop proposes a model of sex and sexuality as an ongoing, creative practice and invites participants to iterate around what cultivating such a practice might entail. In this workshop participants will explore sexual scripts as both cultural and artistic objects - engaging in explorations of what sexual scripts they may currently be performing and what sexual scripts have yet to be written or performed. We will consider What scripts have we been working with thus far? How (and whom) do they serve as pleasure templates? How are they helpful? How are they limiting? 

Session 3:

micro/phonic: in search of queer futures, Noah Ortega M.A. '16:  "Since each of us was several, there was already quite a crowd." The plasmodial slime mold, a unique organism made up of thousands of individual nucleoids living collectively inside a single cell-wall. They display a robust intelligence as evidenced by their ability to collaborate, communicate, and deploy working-memory. They escape classification, neither plant, nor animal, fungi, or protist. Slime-molds are queer nature par excellence and may be one of our greatest teachers in the search for collective forms of social organization. I first fell in love with the slime-mold after reading an interview with Karen Barad in an issue of Mousse Magazine. “What if,” she speculated “the ground is not made of bedrock but rather oozing slime molds...that lack determinate identities…what if the very ground, the “foundation” for judging right from wrong, is a flaming queen, a faggot, a lesbo, a tranny, or gender-queer?” What is the practical and affective potential of a world built on/through/with queerness? In this work, live-streamed microscopic video of a home grown slime mold colony is paired with a soundscape of analog electronic noise (produced from field recordings of various natural phenomena). We are invited to enter a strange not-not alien spacetime, a shifting, unsettled place of pre/post-human orientations in search of our shared queer future. 

Living Behaviors of Rap, Sol Cabrini PhD Candidate & Sol Patches: Is a listening party and part lecture for an album titled Ordinary Delusions. This listening party will address the sampling of a self, contemplations on the production of digital sound today, and the labor that conditions recorded speech in todays contemporary hip-hop / electric music categories. 

FANG, Stefa Govaart M.A. Candidate: FANG dissects The Book of Psalms, working towards the theatrical staging of a long-form poem. Examining two dozen inter-English translations available at, FANG obsesses over locution, idioms and jargon poised between the vernacular, the religious and the philosophical, over how our tongues are made. Its content foregrounds the repetitive psalmic narration of surrender, submission and adoration to prompt audiences to think sex, love and “themselves” in light of property, power and authority. Questions, statements, commands and exclamations summon distinct structures of address. There isn’t a paucity of means: the autonomy of the signifier is language’s charge. This session comprises a 20-minute performance, providing a glimpse of the textual material and performative affect, followed by a collective reading of psalm 119 and a discussion. Consider your investment in the word’s lack of integrity. Are you devoted to the breakup of syllables, to synonym, to timbre of voice? Did you experience negativity; eccentricity? How is lament generalized and activated through posture, translation and repetition? Can we trace the linkages between the psychic life of rule, body and capital: “My soul is consumed with longing/ for your laws at all times” (Ps 119:72).

Session 4:

Scores for the Recipes of Scraps, Sonya Merutka M.A. '21: Like a score, a recipe is a formula of steps. The scraps are what’s left over after cooking: discarded orange peels, onion paper, parsley stems; sometimes a mess. This workshop is the second in a series devoted to scraps, following “Archive and the Assembly of Scraps” at PRAXIS in 2021. For this iteration, we will consider the relationship between illegibility and prescription, movement and wardrobe, and the stuff that remains by looking at artistic practices of cooking, collage, and documenting the everyday. These will include: Joe Brainard’s “I Met You” matchbook, Mel Baggs’ instructional video on boiling water, Domestic Performance Agency’s index of alphabetized ingredients and semiotic plays, Prune’s “Garbage” recipes for Smoked Fish Scraps and Zucchini Tops, and Susan Cianciolo’s recipe collages and costumes for cooking. We will investigate the etymology of recipe, score, list, and scrap, while sharing a delightful dish from one of these cookbooks. Attendees are encouraged to bring their last restaurant bill, grocery receipt, old or new family recipe, or other ephemeral scraps from any of these occasions, such as a cocktail napkin, wrapper, your dinner date’s handwriting, or a thumbprint in cooking liquid on a piece of paper. We will come away with an enlivened appreciation for scraps and assemble scores for collecting and repurposing material. 

Don't Think, Kylie Rolincik M.A. Candidate: A freewheeling introduction to the art of improvisational comedy.

Traversing between Archives and Experiential Geographies: Performance Scholarship on Unstable Grounds, Anel Rakhimzhanova & Alia Al-Sabi PhD Candidates: This workshop is an exploration of transnational modes of journeying and accompaniment that are predicated on navigating precarious conditions of quotidian life and movement across shifting global terrains. The session begins with a conversation between the facilitators on their embodied practices pursuing archival and ethnographic research within the carceral geographies of Palestine and the global logistical infrastructures in Central Asia. In Palestine, Alia Al-Sabi considers the subversive ethnography and critical choreography of moving in and out of a prisoner’s archive within the carceral network of the military occupation. Anel Rakhimzhanova approaches ethnography as nomadic travel companionship in her study of the everyday practice of traversal, negotiation, and imagination of corporeal routes by people living along the logistical revival of the Silk Roads. Alia and Anel envision this Praxis session as the first of a three-year open public discussion on navigating “fieldwork” when the “field” is unstable and “work” is embodied practice as they carry out their dissertation research.