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Discussion Forum

critical resources and bibliography

Started by Drew Milne. Last reply by Mario Kikaš Dec 20, 2013. 6 Replies

Interested in assembling a reading list of materials directly addressing Marxism and Performance. Does anyone have a working bibliography?Continue

Blog Posts

"Further Evidence on the Meaning of Musical Performance" Working Paper

Posted by Phillip Cartwright on January 15, 2020 at 21:28 0 Comments

Karolina Nevoina and I are pleased to announce availability of our working paper, "Further Evidence on the Meaning of Musical Performance". Special thanks to Professor Aaron Williamon and the Royal College of Music, Centre for Performance Science.…


Division of Labor - Denis Beaubois

Posted by Gabrielle Senza on February 23, 2018 at 0:36 0 Comments

I just came across Denis Beaubois, an Australian multidisciplinary artist whose work, Currency - Division of Labor might be of interest to researchers here.

It is a series of video/performance works that use the division of labor model in capitalism as a structural tool for performance.

From his website:

The Division of labour work explores…




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Despite efforts to declare the Grand Narrative of Marxism dead, at this time of crisis the need for performance based on a clearly defined progressive agenda underpinned by a clear philosophy is paramount. Anyone interested in exploring Marxist focused reponses in and to eprformance is invited to join this group. 

Members: 53
Latest Activity: Mar 30, 2020

Discussion Forum

critical resources and bibliography

Started by Drew Milne. Last reply by Mario Kikaš Dec 20, 2013. 6 Replies

Interested in assembling a reading list of materials directly addressing Marxism and Performance. Does anyone have a working bibliography?Continue

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Comment by Tero Nauha on September 13, 2012 at 10:10

I was thinking about the whole Italian Autonomia movement - Berardi, Virno, about the immaterial labour, which would fit for performance very well. Performer and speaker as a virtuoso, where the act itself is the end product. For instance here:

Comment by Drew Milne on September 13, 2012 at 9:40

That's interesting. I don't myself think that teachers are engaged in productive labour, in Marx's terms, though labour it is, or just work, and I don't think the voice can be a tool exactly, more an inalienable part of the worker, labourer and person. But maybe Marxism doesn't offer that much as a way into understanding the relation of teaching to capital, or for understanding performance as a form of labour. My sense of the violence of commodification was more directed at the way in which workers now are expected to present themselves on the labour market in ways that involve extensive auto-commodification. This making preparedness for the workplace extends too into the digital world, where there's an increasing expectation that someone – we? – can perform in personal and professional networking ways that are not quite work, but nevertheless expected of a worker who is actively seek work in the fields of education and performance. A performer whose commitment to their praxis includes a sense that performance cannot be represented, least of all in the virtual world of digital code, and therefore has no web presence, might become almost invisible to the world, and thus find it hard to earn a wage. Twitter or be damned?

Comment by Edward Lewis on September 13, 2012 at 7:31

Although I may be adopting a somewhat Vulgar Marxist approach isn't the key element in labouring in teaching or in other forms of performance how the labourer contributes to the creation of surplus value. Although teachers may not create surplus value in the usual sense of the term, (unless, perhaps, if they work in fee-paying schools) the voice is part of the 'tools' they bring to their labour and their teaching is part of the indirect creation of surplus value through 'teaching to labour'.

Comment by Drew Milne on September 13, 2012 at 1:00

I've been wondering if there's any analysis of the labour involved in talking as part of the performance of teaching, understanding labour in the sense of commodified productivity within the workplace. I recall a teacher colleague saying to me that he was looking forward to not listening to the sound of his own voice once he'd retired. It has remained with me that there are unacknowledged labours in the necessity of talking in teaching. This might be a lacuna in the pragmatics of performance / speech acts generally – for example the performative of 'I speak because I'm obliged to do so in this context as a teacher'. I guess the necessity of talk is more obvious in the labour of call centres. What if maintaining an online presence were the new performance imperative of talk required of any paid praxis in performance?

Comment by Theron Schmidt on September 11, 2012 at 19:00

Members in London of this group might be interested in a one-day symposium on Performance and Labour being held at UCL on 3 Nov, featuring a keynote from Randy Martin, mentioned earlier in the thread (as well as a panel contribution from me).

Comment by Michael Shane Boyle on September 10, 2012 at 22:01

Jason, you might check out the essays collected in the "After Marx" section of the Critical Theory and Performance collection. They do not theorize performance as labor as such, but do get at questions of production as they relate specifically to theater.

Comment by bruno roubicek on September 10, 2012 at 21:34

Man Digs Pond 7 Minute Video

Pease watch this experiment in labour as Performance. A 24hour project accompanied by acoustic musical interventions from local choirs and musicians. The pond has since thrived as a communally managed wildlife resource. 

Comment by Drew Milne on September 10, 2012 at 13:07

High Jason, roundtable idea interests me. Dates and times are usually difficult for me, but interested....

Comment by Jason Fitzgerald on September 10, 2012 at 6:19

P.S. If anyone is interested in putting together a roundtable at ATHE devoted to Marxism and performance studies, perhaps centered around a common text or two, let me know.

P.P.S. Forgive the multiple typos in my last comment!

Comment by Jason Fitzgerald on September 10, 2012 at 6:17

I don't know how naive a question this is, especially since I've read neither McKenzie nor Martin, but, I'd be interested in to hear about scholars who have brought together "performance" with "production" as Marx(ism) theorizes. The relation between performance and work and/or labor is maybe ultimately the more fruitful route, but, "production" as a (potentially?) collective practice that exists in relation to (but is not the same as) the commodity might help us to translate the long-standing debate over ephemerality and performance into Marxist terms.


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