Revolution! Conference

Press View of Tania Bruguera, Hyundai Comission, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, 2018

Revolution! Scholars and Artists Rethinking Political Action is a co-equal philosophy and art conference/workshop that investigates the intersection between art and politics. It is hosted by the Philosophy Department of Houston Community College and Experimental Action, a performance art organization based in Houston, Texas. The conference is rooted in a shared curiosity as to how art-making, political theory, and political action comingle.

April 9 – 11, 2019, Houston Community College (Central Campus)

For more information on how to participate as either a scholar or artists, see our Call for Papers. Submissions are due September 13, 2019 and accepted presentations will be notified by October 19, 2019.

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Revolution! Scholars and Artists Rethinking Political Action acknowledges that there has been a shift in political action. Disparities between the effectiveness of traditional modes of political action and those that include novel forms of engagement and performativity demonstrate a rupture in what constitutes political action. Because of this, much of the theory surrounding politics, per se, has become contestable. Similarly, the area of performance art, which employs a variety of disciplines and research, has challenged what constitutes a work of art and caused us to question how art can create new forms of political action.

At its core, Revolution! is influenced by the thought of Hannah Arendt. Arendt tells us in The Human Condition that the public sphere is a dynamic and ever-changing space where the miraculous and limitless can occur. She believes that by speaking and acting with others in public, politics is protected. Through the combinedefforts of words and deeds, we, as individuals, confirm our place in the world, affirm the importance of others, and have the opportunity to instigate political action.  It is Arendt’s reliance on the combination of words and deeds that this conference takes its point of departure. We believe that by bringing together a diverse group of people, we can reconfigure how words and deeds, scholarship and practice can work together to create transformative political action.

We are looking for participants whose research is grounded in creative practices, artists whose work relies on a theoretical framework, and interdisciplinary practitioners whose work moves between these spheres. This conference should be a place where artists and researchers are confident and vulnerable in their knowledge and encouraged and inspired by the works of colleagues across a variety of disciplines. Revolution! is taking place in conjunction with Experimental Action’s 2020 performance art residency, which features the performance art duo VestAndPage.

The conference format includes: scholarly presentations, artist presentations/workshops, and performances by invited artists. It will conclude with a final performance.

Revolution! Podcast

Francois Pointeau interviewed Parish Conkling and Jeanette Joy Harris on July 10, 2019 for Radar Talk Intimate, a podcast that focuses on creative projects in Texas and beyond. Listen to the interview! 

Revolution! at “Frontiers of Democracy” 

Revolution! and its focus on interdisciplinary dialogue and action was  presentated at the American Political Science Association / Tisch School of Civic Life, Tufts University, “Frontiers of Democracy” Conference. Watch the presentation!