14 Jul 2014

POROUS STUDIO: Avant - Gardening at PSI 20 in Shanghai 2014


POROUS STUDIO: Avant-Gardening

The PSi Artistic Research Working Group proposes the fourth incarnation of the Studio for PSi #20 Shanghai. A primary concern of the Artistic Research Working Group is to encourage and expand artist participation on the ground in PSi, and to integrate a multiplicity of performance and theoretical discourses into PSi. In accordance with the theme of the conference in Shanghai we want to focus on questions related to community in artistic practice. To this end, we propose the Porous Studio: Avant Gardening, to invite and include work by artists from Shanghai and the region in addition to those of current members of the Working Group.


The Porous Studio is designed to encourage and support combinations of process, theory, philosophy, pedagogy, research and practice within the framework of the annual conference: a productive lab of experimentation at the porous borders of theory, philosophy, practice and research.

The Artistic Research Working Group is engaged in a long-term reflexive inquiry into the Studio as a spatio-temporal entity. Traditionally, the studio is a space designated by artists as a site where economies collide; private + public, culture + industry, rehearsal + spectacle, individual + group, etc., that sometimes results in performative products, and often not = research. A room, factory, notebook, rock in a landscape, the city street, the body, a group of bodies, or the space between your ears, the Studio holds a mythic place in the imagination as a site for cross-class group and/or individual work and research, the sharing of resources and methods, and as a stage (temporal and spatial) for both the choreography of artistic labor and its dissemination. Porousness indicates an opening of the traditionally private domain of the artist’s studio to the visible and public nature of performance research and practice.

The Porous Studio underscores the notion of annual continuity and the practical/symbolic significance of studio/site/process at the PSi annual conferences. We are a constantly mutating social network of artists, which over successive years maps itself onto sites in different cities, countries and continents. This continuous narrative of theoros-praxis has, as its intent, the continuous development of a community and a (re)turn to the studio as a place of making, and the material conditions that the act of making entails.

As in the inaugural session in Utrecht at PSi #17 and subsequent Porous Studios at Leeds and Stanford, participants in the Studio engage creatively with the conference theme. In this case we have adapted the theme’s syntax to exam the role of performance in making communities: Avant-gardening makes reference to the role of artists in the cultivation and nuturing of communities. An avant-garde tradition, cultivating community.
The final determination of participants and presentations depends upon group discussion and development over the next few months, and the final composition of the Working Group at the conference this year. The members hope and intend that there will be productive linkages with local artist and community groups. This is something we hope to be able to work on with members of the Shanghai Organizing Committee and our contacts in the region over the intervening months.


The Porous Studio was avant-gardening at the Shanghai Theatre Academy on two consecutive days, Saturday July 5 from 9 am to noon and Sunday July 6 from 9 am to noon. We also had a short meeting in order to plan for the future, for instance increased web presence, on Sunday evening after the conference program. 

Brief impressions by chair Johanna Householder:

"The sessions - no matter how pessimistic I may feel about no-one coming or not being fully prepared always seem to actually work.  A small select group on Day 1: Annette Arlander revisited her rock sitting performances, Anne Robinson, a Danish dramaturge Annelis, an artist from SE Asia, Shaleen, and myself. We presented works in progress, a recent performance, a prospective curatorial project, and made some experiments. Day 2: Ray Langenbach held forth, visiting curator Jonas Stampe talked about his path, an awesome actress from Beijing/US, Che Xaio presented on her forthcoming monologue on 'leftover women', etc.  Always surprising and inspiring."

Nicholas Johnson, who was unable to participate this time, created a poster for the event:

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