Documents - a proposal

Documents is a new initiative proposed by the Chair for the PSi Performance and Philosophy working group. All feedback, suggestions, comments and/or expressions of interest from members would be gratefully received.


Documents - an update (April 2009)

Dear all,

Thanks for the messages of support and feedback in relation to the Documents proposal.

I think there is sufficient interest in the project to merit pursuing it further and working
towards a first issue.

This will be edited by 3 volunteer editors: myself, Kelina Gotman (Kings College, London)
and Jon Sherman (Northwestern).

If you would like to contribute - either in the form of a document or a critical dictionary
entry or both - please publish an expression of commitment on the working group forum
asap and provide us with your contribution, by email, by June 1 2009.

There are already 2 such expressions there: by Kathryn Syssoyeva (Stanford) and Jon
Sherman. See

If you have not yet joined the wiki (which you must do before you can post on the
forum), you can apply using the password: PPWGjoin

Our aim is to publish the 1st issue on by September 1 2009.

If you would like to be on an editorial team for the next issue, please email me at||lluc.arual



Proposal for an online publishing initiative: Documents

The proposed project partly takes its inspiration from the journal of the same name edited by Georges Bataille from 1929-30. The short-lived journal was notable for its inclusive interest in both high art and popular culture, its interdisciplinary base and unexpected juxtapositions of image and text. The journal also contained entries for a ‘Critical Dictionary’ – ranging from A for ABSOLUTE to K for KEATON (Buster) and S for SLAUGHTERHOUSE.

This Documents, however, is proposed as an online publishing project to be initially housed on the working group’s website. The idea is that every three months, Documents will publish two kinds of material:

1) a group of texts, written by members, documenting a recent event: such as a performance
(in the ‘broad-spectrum’ sense), post-show discussion, conference or seminar, pertaining to the
relation between philosophy and performance;
2) a group of critical dictionary entries, written by members, creatively defining ‘key words’ for
philosophy and performance.

Contributions would not need to be as formal or polished as an academic journal article, rather Documents would provide a platform for working group members to exchange nascent ideas and emerging perceptions concerning international discourses and practice around performance and philosophy; Documents could be a site for playful thought-experiments, performative polemics, poetic musings… Contributions would not be restricted to any specific format, style or word-limit and could include images as well as text. However, contributors would be invited to approach Documents as a site-specific project, bearing in mind the potential and limits of the online context.

Likewise, the proposed project begins from the premise that a document is a creation rather than a representation made in connection with an event. While contributors may wish to include transcripts or quotations, they would also be invited to use the report as an opportunity to make something new or otherwise deviate from the ‘original’ event. In this way, whilst aiming to stimulate dialogue, the Documents initiative also invites working group members to re-consider the role of documentation in our field: what happens when the conference is over, how do we record its impact, when do our most important discussions occur, how does performance make us think, how can we document the kind of thinking that performance creates?

My proposal is that those who would be interested in contributing to Documents, could email a designated editor, with a short proposal, including:

1) an outline of the event they would like to document, and
2) a brief indication of why they think this event will be of interest and relevance to the
concerns of the working group.

However, I’d also suggest that the editor would take a ‘light touch’ approach – proof reading contributions and taking responsibility for their online publication rather than making decisions about what to include/exclude in any given issue. Equally, although I’m happy to perform this role at the start, I’d be more than happy if future issues were edited and uploaded to the wiki by other volunteer working group members (the website is very easy to use).

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