Spring 2022 Electives, Advanced Practice: Performing Resistance – Emilio Rojas

Advanced Practice: Performing Resistance

PGFA:5310 (CRN: 10627)

Date/Time TBA

How as artists and citizens do we respond creatively in times of crisis? Where do poetics and politics intersect? What performative forms of resistance can we enact socially? What are the new languages of aesthetic resistance, which we need to create in order to answer to the times and global crisis we are living in?

This course interrogates the theory and practice of resistance in body based performance by exploring innovative modes of creating with, and thinking about ways of negotiating our existence in the current political climate. This class looks at examples of how artists have responded in the past and present to oppressive governments, dictatorships in Latin America, natural disasters and community emergencies, in order to generate new ways of understanding what the impact of resistance is in society and in our bodies. We will con- sider texts from performance theory, political theory, as well as poetry, fiction and oral histories, from thinkers that reflect on different approaches to resistance like: Gloria An- zaldua, Peggy Phelan, Rebecca Solnit, Diana Taylor, Audre Lorde, Jacques Ranciere, Ba- yard Rustin, Kurt Schock, Judith Butler, Zeynep Gambetti, James Baldwin, Rema Ham- mami, Fred Moten, bell hooks and Paulo Freire. As well as investigate contemporary per- formance practices from artists such as Dread Scott, Regina Jose Galindo, Rebecca Bell- more, Group Material, Tania Bruguera, Anna Moreno, Sharon Hayes, Reza Abdoh, Ali Kazma, Carlos Martiel, La Congelada de Uva, Anita Ludgreen, Gran Fury, Laura Ander- son Barbata, Conflict Kitchen, Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Dora Garcia, etc.

The course invites you to think of performance as a practice that blurs the line between art, life and politics, emphasizing participation, dialogue, and direct action. Proposes that artists need to be versed in social skills, political strategies, and tactics that will assist them in making new performative works. The ethos of the course is to encourage students to question the function and boundaries of the body in performance, everyday life, and as a tool for empowerment and solidarity across communities.

Through a series of intensive workshops, readings, class visits, lectures, and discussions, students will question and redefine notions such as revolution, participation, activism, dissensus, conflict resolution, and democratic citizenship to establish parameters of what a body is able/unable physically to do or signify, and how may this failure be used for other ends as a form of resistance. In addition to workshops and lectures, invited guests will inform assignments and readings. Assignments will introduce students to many dif- ferent forms of performing resistance including public interventions, lecture performance, protest as performance, non-violent resistance, food based projects, video performance, reenactments, the use of archives and poetic writing.

Faculty Bio:

Emilio Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist working primarily with the body in performance, using video, photography, installation, public interventions, and sculpture. He holds an MFA in Performance from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in Film from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada. As a queer Latinx immigrant with indigenous heritage, it is essential to his practice to engage in the postcolonial ethical imperative to uncover, investigate, and make visible and audible undervalued or disparaged sites of knowledge, narratives, and individuals. He utilizes his body in a political and critical way, as an instrument to unearth removed traumas, embodied forms of decolonization, migration, and poetics of space. His research based practice is heavily influenced by queer and feminist archives, border politics, botanical colonialism, and defaced monuments. Besides his artistic practice, he is also a translator, community activist, yoga teacher, and anti-oppression facilitator with queer, migrant, and refugee youth.

His work has been exhibited in exhibitions and festivals in the US, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Austria, England, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Colombia, and Australia, as well as institutions like the Art Institute and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Ex-Teresa Arte Actual Museum and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Surrey Art Gallery, the DePaul Art Museum, and the Botín Foundation. Rojas is currently a Visiting Artist/Scholar in Residency in the Theater and Performance Department at Bard College in New York, for the 2019–2021 academic years and the inaugural resident of the Judy Pfaff Foundation (2019–2020).