• Call for Papers Documenta Special Edition | Parliament of Practices

    Call for Papers Documenta Special Edition | Parliament of Practices

    Posted by Eline Denolf on 2022-10-06

Documenta: Vol. 41, #1
Special Edition: Parliament of Practices

Can new epistemologies, tactics and even an ethos emerge from a dialogue between different artists, researchers and other professionals grounded in diverse traditions of praxis and poiesis? How can we open up a process of exchange - grounded, partly, in laboratory theatre - to disciplines beyond the Performing Arts? What might be the socio-political ramifications of such an act?

The Parliament of Practices (PoP) is a platform for generative knowledge exchange, based on dialogical forms and devised tactics. The Parliament breaks through professional boundaries, fragmentation and isolation, hosting and facilitating ongoing dialogues across different fields of knowledge. Parliament Sessions have taken place in a range of different contexts and settings over the past two years, including online encounters, theatre festivals, academic symposia and community-based projects across Europe and Latin America. These sessions provide the opportunity and space for sharing, exchange and knowledge creation based on personal and professional practices and artistic genealogies. 

PoP grew out of our work with the nomadic laboratory Cross Pollination, a collective of autonomous artists, cultural workers and researchers with a wide range of practices and experiences. Cross Pollination was founded in 2017 and focuses on the dialogue in-between embodied artistic practices within a studio setting. Both Cross Pollination and the Parliament of Practices are supported by Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium (DK), the historical home of laboratory theatre group Odin Teatret. All three authors of this call - La Selva, Nie and Campbell - are active members of Cross Pollination and proponents of the Parliament of Practices. 

When we speak of practicing dialogues in-between disciplines in PoP, we frequently work in the spirit of David Bohm (1996), but we also draw on specific dramaturgical tactics from the field of theatre laboratory. In doing so, we are willing to articulate a meta-practice: our focus is on concrete tactics for how to bring these different disciplines into dialogue, so each is enriched by the other, allowing practitioners to gain further self-knowledge and possibly the emergence of new insights. Isabelle Stengers (2013) speaks of an ecology of practices, a term she employs as ‘a tool for thinking through what is happening, and a tool is never neutral’ (ibid, 185). Practices, then, can be understood as tools-in-the-making, that can be passed along, modifying and adapting to each body it encounters, developing a specific way of thinking-with the tool which unfolds into ways of becoming-with the world. 

Through dialogue, we employ our tools as tactics. We understand the term ‘tactics’ following Michel De Certeau (1988), as a physical thinking, the intelligence of doing, which is ‘... indissociable from the combat and pleasures of daily life.‘ (ibid. 47).  A key praxical framework for us is the concept of bodies of knowledges: the crafted constellations of embodied memory and techné unique to each individual body, honed within the context of a given praxical territory. The term praxical territory denotes “... the discipline-specific knowledge we each carry and its imbrication with our wider, lived subjective experience” (Nie et al, 2021). This fusion of craft and life opens up a ‘space and place’ that reverberates with legacy and landscapes of mutual belongings. 

The Parliament of Practices inevitably responds to Bruno Latour’s call for a Parliament of Things, where he advocates for a restoration of our ‘crazy ability to reconstitute the social bond’ (Latour and Porter 2011: 142) with Nature and its quasi-objects through a constitution that includes their voices, which are never heard through scientific representation. While Latour is concerned with an object-oriented ontology (OOO), as theatre and performance artists, we have discovered that we speak, act and think in terms of a practice-oriented ontology (POO).The guiding impulse behind PoP was how to give voice to and through practice, while responding to craft-based genealogies and engaging with contemporary social concerns, such as diversity, intersectionality and democratic participation.

We envisage that this Special Edition of Documenta will function as a further extension of PoP; we are very excited to invite contributions from practitioners, scholars and specialists from a range of fields who are interested in entering into a productive dialogue with colleagues from other disciplines, engaging in new dialogical processes of writing, knowledge generation and sharing. We are interested in co-authored contributions that propose dialogical/dramaturgical forms of writing which allow for traveling concepts to emerge and meander. We encourage playful, slippery and naughty encounters that generate meaningful, thought-provoking discourses, enlivening the entangled fields of Performance Studies, Media and Embodied Arts. 
Suggested thematic concerns may include:

  Modes of speaking from and through practice;
Critical accounts of dialogical grassroot networks in the Arts;
Critiques of interdisciplinarity and emergent responses to the field;
Interdisciplinarity and border control - territorial battles and bridge-building;
Innovative Citizen Participation, New Democratic Institutions and the Arts;
Human and non-human dialogue;
Ecologies of practice;
Object-oriented and practice-oriented ontologies;
Dialogue as a meta-practice in the Arts;
The commons as creative model;
Dialogues between techné and technology;
Traveling concepts: how thoughts unfold as they travel through different minds and bodies;
Pluriphonic, creative community-building;
Dialogical forms as cultural action;
The slippage between dialogical and dramaturgical tactics;
The epistemic ramifications of dialogical forms in the Art;.
Dialogues between the Arts and other praxical, epistemic and disciplinary fields.
We can host texts of up to 6000-6500 words in length, as well as shorter provocations. These can take the form of traditional scholarly articles, dialogical interviews and performative writing. As with previous editions of Documenta, we welcome artist pages and other contributions that use distinctive layouts and typographies. Informal suitability checks are recommended.
The particular nature of the modes of dialogue employed should be clearly stated in methodological terms within the abstract. This can also be discussed with the editors. 
Deadline for abstracts: 15th November 2022
Deadline for the completed initial draft: April 2023
Publication: September 2023
All proposals and submissions should be sent directly to both editors: 
Adriana La Selva (adrianaparente.laselva@ugent.be) and 
Patrick Campbell (p.campbell@mmu.ac.uk). 
Issue-related inquiries should be directed to the editors as well.
General guidelines for proposals:

Proposals will be accepted by email.
Proposals should not exceed one A4 side (approximately 300 words).
Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send.
Please provide a short biography (approximately 100 words) in a separate document.
Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere.
Before submitting a proposal, we encourage you to visit our website (www.documenta.ugent.be) and familiarize yourself with the journal (MLA style).
Documenta currently enjoys an A1.2 status and is VABB-listed. In recent years, there has been a shift in focus as we are increasingly working – not to say exclusively – with thematic focuses. These special issues are entrusted to guest editors who are responsible for recruiting articles, contact with the authors, and providing all the necessary materials.

At Documenta the peer review system is an integral part of the submission and evaluation process. The system of double-blind peer review ensures that published research is rigorous and meets the international standards set by each discipline. We engage in a collaborative refereeing process, which ensures that the work submitted is evaluated by and commented upon by two independent referees selected by the editors based on their areas of expertise. The editors will make the final decision about publication or assess the need for further revision. Feedback is then shared with the author. However, the reviewer’s name is not disclosed.
Bohm, David, and Lee Nichol. 2004. On Dialogue. Routledge classics ed. Routledge Classics. London ; New York: Routledge.
Certeau, Michel de. 2013. The Practice of Everyday Life. 2. print. Berkeley, Calif.: Univ. of California Press.
La Selva, Adriana, Marije Nie, Andrea Maciel, and Patrick Campbell. 2020. “Parliament of Practices: No-Topian Tactics for Praxical Dialogue.” Performance Research 25 (8): 15–17. 
Latour, Bruno. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Nie, Marije, Adriana La Selva, Andrea Maciel, and Patrick Campbell. 2021. “Echolocation and Reverberation: Praxical Dispositifs in Laboratory Theatre.” Global Performance Studies 4 (2). 
Stengers, Isabelle. 2013. “Introductory Notes on an Ecology of Practices.” Cultural Studies Review 11 (1): 183–96. 


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