Faculty Colloquium by Julia A. Walker: "Going Viral" at the End of the Anthropocene

Please join us for this in-person colloquium in Hurst Lounge.

"This talk draws from the epilogue to my new book, Performance and Modernity: Enacting Change on the Globalizing Stage (Cambridge University Press, 2021).  In it, I extend the implications of the book’s historical argument to our own moment, using its core methodology to consider digital performance in the 21st century.  As the book demonstrates, performance is more than just a medium through which other art forms find expression.  Rather, it is a medium in its own right, giving shape to new ideas that assume an embodied gestalt before entering into consciousness and language. 

Where the book’s previous five chapters map historical styles of stage performance against the economic, industrial, political, social, and psychological changes of modernity, the epilogue examines the current shift from human to animatronic performers in film and networked media with the introduction of the computer.  Concluding with a meditation on the contemporary ambition to “go viral,” it suggests that in the pixelated form of computer-generated imaging is an emerging concept of self for the twenty-first century.  Inscribed in this new performance form, I suggest, is yet more evidence for the ways we seek to comprehend and adapt to changes in our ever-modernizing world." -Professor Julia A. Walker

Pre-order Performance and Modernity: Enacting Change on the Globalizing Stage here: https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/arts-theatre-culture/amer...