Performance and Documentation
Lecture by Rebecca Schneider

  • Performance and Documentation

    \"Hands at the Cuevas de las Manos upon Rio Pinturas, near the town of Perito Moreno in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina.\" Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia at

This lecture addresses one of the fundamental concepts in performance theory: documentation. Troubling the notion that performance disappears and the document remains, this lecture turns to the temporal question of duration.

If performance is now a mode of preservation, what becomes of our understanding of remains? Is the live itself a kind of ruin? If documents are taken "'in hand" to remount or reenact historical performance-based work, are hands (or eyes, or ears) an extension of the document? Or documents an extension of the hand? If so, what is the reach of extension? And how reliable is that reach? If bodies can be said to animate documents, do documents (in)animate bodies? And how might "interinanimation" inform a reassessment of the limits of the so-called live and the so-called human?

Taking up questions of affect, gesture, and participation, I will consider examples that cross 24,000 years. Paleolithic cave-art, mid-century film, and contemporary performance-based art may all make an appearance as we struggle to ask: how long is the so-called live? How live are the so-called dead? And why are these questions surfacing now?

Registration for the seminar requiered. Applications consisting of a bio (max. 300 words) and a brief explanation willingness to participate in the seminar (max. 500 words) should be sent to:, with "Points of Convergence" in the subject line. Deadline: April 14, 2014.

Specialist in theatre studies and performance at the intersection of the new media, literature, photography, architecture and the “performance-like nature” of everyday life. Lecturer on the history of theatre, cultural studies and performance theories.

Author of numerous books and publications, including: “The Explicit Body in Performance” (Routledge, 1997) and “Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment” (Routledge 2011). Co-editor of the anthology: “Re:Direction: A Theoretical and Practical Guide to 20th-Century Directing”. Schneider is a member of the editing team of “TDR: The Drama Review”, publisher in “Women and Theatre, a co-editor, together with David Krasner, of a book series “Theatre: Theory/Text/Performance" published by University of Michigan Press and adviser in the series “Performance Interventions" with Palgrave McMillin.

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