“The Cube Project: Research in Object-Oriented Performance”
The Cube Project uses performance to study the interaction of human beings and information through the language of philosophy. Drawing on the work of Martin Heidegger, Bruno Latour, N. Katherine Hayles, Judith Butler, Graham Harman, Michelle Kasprzak and Ian Bogost, these experiments create objects of performance that materialize elements not commonly attended to theatrically. Their presentations leave traces that are real rather than implied.
As a theatre practitioner, my work poses the question: – what does theatre look like if we work from the position presented in Latour’s flat ontology? A study of the research of theatre makers such as Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski, Marie Chouinard, Julie Taymore and Ann Bogart reveals relevant discussions about objects, affect and time. This theatre-of-information offers one answer to the common question: how do we make theatre in the post-human age?
To this point, the project has staged three productions, has one underway, and several more in development. The first brought a graphic memoir to life for a series of performances studying issues of power related to mental illness and the health care system. The second spent a year manifesting Plato’sRepublic in a set of varying performances and displays, and the third brought eighteen of Aesop’s Fables to life in a study of morality in a post-human society.
The next project in the series is a study of identity and incarceration. By performing elements of Michel Foucault’s classic Discipline and Punish integrated with a play based on a true story about a riot in a Canadian prison, this show embodies questions about the violent reaction we have to questions about identity.
Flat ontology as realized in Object-Oriented Performance has implications for every aspect of theatre making. Social, political, aesthetic and environmental issues are among the most ready to hand, but they are only the beginning. At each stage, my work includes performance as well as critical writing and discussion – extending the nature of performance as a primary means of research dissemination.
Patrick Finn, MFA, PhD is Associate Professor in the School for Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. He is an artist-scholar whose interest is in the intersection of human performance and technology. He has published and lectured widely as well as maintaining an active artistic profile.
Duration: 40 min