Performing Infrastructure: A dialogue between Anthropology, Art and Activism
(University College London)
Paper short abstract:
This paper describes a collaborative research project involving an artist and activist and an anthropologist in order to reflect on the role of performance in making and transforming infrastructure.
Paper long abstract:
In this presentation we explore the role of performance in bringing infrastructures into being. The presentation brings together three perspectives - that of an anthropologist, a performance artist and an activist. We begin with reflections from anthropology on the way in which infrastructures are sustained by the performative displays of experts and politicians through ceremonies, displays and rituals. We then describe how performance art can work to create an opening for alternative stories about infrastructure to be told, with potentially transformative effects. Finally we present a project which the three of us have been involved in that has been using creative processes to intervene in a proposal to transform electricity provision in the city region of Greater Manchester. We describe how techniques of mapping, walking and pre-figuration have created opportunities for intervention, and reflect on the capacity of art practice to transform speculative futures into concrete realities.
The art of infrastructure