Siting Performance Philosophy: Positions, Encounters and Reflections at Beirut: Bodies in Public
Beirut: Bodies in Public was a three-day workshop that took place in Beirut, Lebanon from 9-11 October 2014, supported by a Performance Philosophy grant for interim conference events. The workshop integrated academic research with performances, movement workshops, film, and site-specific responses to the city, and welcomed disciplinary perspectives from a broad range of fields. In this article, the convenors Ella Parry-Davies and Eliesh S.D. reflect on the central issues and encounters foregrounded by the event, and the disciplinary or methodological implications of the project for performance philosophy. Taking as its central provocation the controversial statement: “Art in public spaces doesn’t exist anymore”, the workshop sought to address the role of embodied practice in Beirut’s precarious public sites. Insofar as philosophy can be ‘performed’, it is grounded in the particularities of its social space, an utterance shaped by its historical and geopolitical locality. As a practice of performance philosophy, then, Beirut: Bodies in Public triangulated these two forms-of-knowing with a third: the interrogation presented by the site itself - its potentialities, contingencies and challenges.
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