Touching Time: Bodies/Writing/Histories. A practice-based research symposium 
April 19th/20th, 2008

Dance Building, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 

Touching Time is a small invitational workshop environment, with  scholar/practitioners from the US, the UK and Canada.

Conference Advisory Team:

Amy Carroll, Assistant Professor of Latina/o Studies
Amy Chavasse, Assistant Professor of Dance
Aimee Meredith Cox, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for the Education of Women
Yopie Prins, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature
Conference Director and Contact: Petra Kuppers, Associate Professor of English, Women’s Studies, Theatre and Dance,

Touching Time invites participants to explore methods of merging art  practice and critical writing in the exploration of time. The  symposium’s main focus is with innovative methodologies,  writing-as-practice, archival embodiment, timespace poetics,  repronarrativities, heirlooms/legacies, frottages with  his(hiss)/her-stories, myth movement, touching textures.
We will be in  research practice together: this is not a conference to share the  results of previous research, it is a place to share methodologies.

In 2007, the University of Michigan hosted the Anarcha symposium, an  Olimpias performance research project: an event where black culture and  disability culture activists, medical historians and performance  scholars came together to approach a particular medical historical  case-study through performance means. Touching Time builds on the  methods explored in the Anarcha, and invites scholars and artists to  engage in experimental historical writing and art practice.

 11- 1 Introduction (Petra Kuppers, Aimee Cox, Amy Carroll, Amy  Chavasse),
followed by Kate Elswit (PhD Candidate, German Studies,  University of Cambridge, Thesis: Framing Bodies: Physical Dramaturgies  in German Dance Theatre (1915-1933) workshop: Dance/Memory/Movement
1-2 Lunch
2-3.15 Walk in the Arboretum:
 Virginie Magnat (Assistant Professor, Performance Studies, University of  British Columbia, Research Project: Meetings with Remarkable Women.  Analyzing women’s contribution to Grotowski’s cross-cultural performance  research) Workshop and Instruction:
 We will work with the call and response and "bourdon" structure of  traditional songs from Occitanie and engage in a site-specific  expedition in the arboretum - a quiet procession meandering through  nature and punctuated by moments of collective singing. Please wear  comfortable shoes and clothes and, if you know a traditional song that  you would like to share with the group, this will be a good opportunity  to do so.

Emily Orley (PhD Candidate, Theatre and Installation Art, Roehampton,  Thesis: The Expectant Space: towards a Theatre of the Invisible.
 Workshop: Site-Writing. The idea for this session was inspired by  architectural theorist Jane Rendell’s concept of site-writing: writing a  place as opposed to writing about it. After spending time closely  observing the arboretum in any way they wish (sight, smell, touch),  participants will be asked to transcribe it on paper.

3.30-4.30 Video Festival. Host Stefanie Cohen (independent dance artist,  Ann Arbor) Videos introduces and interspersed with movement and writing  responses.
 Video by Sarah Adams (Visiting Scholar UM, Art History), 10 mins.
 Two Igbo artists in southeastern Nigeria painting a mural in a  compound.  Adams shot the video over about 5 days in 2000, and the mural  painting (called uli) is based on a form of body painting that these  artists also practice.  The mural painting is an ephemeral art.  The  women paint on clay walls using paints that have no binder, so the  murals usually fade within a season.
 Nano Banana and TIN Y PLURI-BUS[+ UNAM Illuminated Nanoscripts by Amy  Carroll (Assistant Professor, American Culture/English UM) et al. 9  mins.
 San Diego Museum of Art (Contemporary Art Gallery, part of Inside the Wave), 2008
 Tiresias by Petra Kuppers, Sadie Wilcox (UM MFA in Art and Design). 7 mins.
 Disability culture reclaims an ancient story.
 Barbara Neri. 5 mins. (TBA)
 Homeland (Stefanie Cohen). 12 mins. Homeland is the video documentation  of her participation in a site-specific, interactive, community oral  history performance/installation project entitled Touchable Stories:  Central Square.  The soundtrack includes both live accordion  accompaniment and edited excerpts of interviews with the neighborhood’s  residents on the subjects of emigration, memory, and their  grandmothers.  The movement score is slow and minimal highlighting the  voices of the community’s residents and accommodating the close  proximity of the audience and performers.

4.30-5.30 Lisa Biggs (PhD candidate, Performance Studies, Northwestern  University. Thesis: Performance of black women’s community organizing in  the US and specific sites in Africa)
 Workshop: We will look at configurations of ‘Africa’ through writing and movement, influenced by Liz Lerman’s processes.

5.30-6.30 Evie Shockley (Assistant Professor, Department of English,  Rutgers University, Research Project: Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics  and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry)
 Workshop: Poetry workshop around issues of historical and contemporary  displacement of people (post-Katrina New Orleans, Cape Town District 6,  etc). Writing exercise which will also include movement.

7.30 - 8.30 Keynote Provocation (Ann Cooper Albright, Professor of  Dance, Oberlin College, most recent book: Traces of Light:  Absence and  Presence in the Work of Loie Fuller, Wesleyan University Press, 2007)

10-11 Melissa Rolnick (Visiting Assistant Professor in Dance at Gustavus  Adolphus College) Authentic Movement Session: This workshop involves an  exploration of an area in one's body that is a source of emotional and  physical tension. The exploration will involve an internal listening in  order to create a movement sequence or "circuit" that will allow the  tension to become a catalyst for movement invention.

11- 12 Zachary Dorsey (PhD, University of Texas, Austin, Research  Project: Embodied Resistance: A Historiographic Intervention into the  Performance of Queer Violence)
 Workshop: In this session we'll learn how to produce and then   experiment with ways of using the knap - the stage combat technique   that creates the sound of a slap or punch - as a method of   investigating the aural and the tactile aspects of each of our own   historical projects.

12-1 Kelly Rafferty (PhD Candidate, Performance Studies, University of  California Berkeley. Thesis: Connective Tissues: Feminist Experiments  with Biology, Technology, and Performance)
 Workshop: In small groups we will create short performances that  critically engage images and texts about technologies of reproduction  such as Frida Kahlo's Henry Ford Hospital (1932), Denise Duhamel's poem  "Barbie as Religious Fanatic" (1997), or an excerpt from the script of  Deb Margolin's Gestation (1991).  All are welcome to contribute in  whatever way is most comfortable -- through text, movement, sculpture,  sound, etc -- to our investigation of what performance, as a  methodology, might teach us about a specific constellation of objects.

1-2 Lunch

2-3 Petra Kuppers (Associate Professor, English, Women?s Studies,  Theatre and Dance, UM, Research Project: Touching Time:  Disability/Culture, Body Histories and Performance) + Neil Marcus  (Independent Artist, Disability Culture Activist, Berkeley. Research  Project: The Nature of Fear) Workshop: Using performance and poetry  writing, we will address alchemy, disappearance and transformation.  Spiraling outwards from a poem that addresses eugenics, we ask how  historical memories lodge in our bodies.

3-3.45 Aimee Cox (Anarcha collaborator, from September: Assistant Professor, African-American Department, Rutgers University)
 Anarcha Workshop

3.45-4.15 Ending and goodbye

Funded by the Global Ethnic Literatures Seminar, with additional support  from the Dance Department, the English Department and the Center for  the Education of Women