Research Statement

To investigate the borders of performance studies and its practice.

My research aims to explore the limits of performance theory and its practice. To do this, the central values of my work are planetary awareness and global community building, and I divide my attention into two primary research portfolios.

The first portfolio, which is strongly interdisciplinary, addresses the intersections of science, technology and performance theory, with a special focus on astronomy, space exploration, and the search for non-terrestrial life and intelligence. I use performance as a methodological angle to approach the historical, political, cultural, and artistic implications of astronomy and space exploration. My PhD was titled Planetary Performance Theory, and its chapters referred to a pool of performance practices—including theatre and performance art—that have contributed to the definition of planetary subjectivity and the role humans may have in the universe at any given point of time in history. My work thus inspects the performativity of astronomy, space exploration, and the search for non-terrestrial intelligence and calls for the articulation of new and more inclusive frameworks to understand it. Important journals in the field have published my work (see Performance and Astronomy), and I am currently working towards my first monograph under the working title Planetary Performance. I am also an affiliated researcher with the Transmission in Motion platform at Utrecht University, where I am the co-convener, with Professor Maaike Bleeker, of the Performance Studies Space Programme, or PSSP. The programme enables interdisciplinary encounters between these seemingly divergent disciplines with the objective of debating variable ontologies of time and space vis-à-vis the materiality of artistic, cultural, and scientific performance practices (read more about PSSP).

My second research portfolio is collaborative academia. Here, I focus on the development of a critical praxis for collaborative teaching and research in theatre and performance studies. I am an activator of teams that work on different angles of this topic. As of July 2019, I am part of three teams working on various interconnected projects, all of which I have initially activated. Working mostly through digital platforms as main methods and tools, these teams are spread around the planet, and we publish, teach, curate, and organise academic events. This interest started in in 2015, when I co-founded the After Performance Research Ensemble (Singapore-Thailand-UK), and was cemented in 2016, when I co-founded Performance Studies international’s Future Advisory Board (FAB) (Singapore-The Netherlands-UK-USA). In specific, After Performance has consolidated a research project focused on using collaborative writing and digital tools as methods for theatre and performance studies and our work is one of the most visible generators of what can already be perceived as a collaborative turn in the field. Currently, this area of my research is generously supported by my home institution, LASALLE College of the Arts with a two-year grant to support an umbrella project titled Digital Collaborations in Teaching and Research.

Each in their own way, these two portfolios explore the limits of performance theory and its practice. On the one hand, my work on astronomy and space exploration asks whether performance theory and research be useful in the formulation of new frameworks for humans to understand our place in the universe, while my focus on collaborative academia asks how might performance knowledge remain a collaborative practice in spite of the rigidity of contemporary academia and its onus on originality and individuality. In pursuing these two portfolios, my intention is to contribute to new theories and practices for performance studies in the 21st century.