Performing Laboratories—A Workshop

19 January 2015 – 13:30-19:00

Room SG1, Alison Richards Building, West Road, Cambridge

Performing Labs posterFor some, performance is a science that elicits knowledge about the world. For others, science is performance, and there is little doubt that science at least in part relies on performative qualities to take effect. Contributors to this panel share an interest in science and performance, either way. From the performance of landscape in contemporary archaeological excavation and site-specific theatre, to taking seriously the operating theatre as a performative space by re-enacting 1970s surgical practices; from the well-marketed reality-TV thrills of contemporary emerging virus science, to the quiet stage of an abandoned research station in the rainforest, and its reanimation by aged protagonists, the participants will engage in a conversation about the contact zones of science and theatre, and the possibilities and pitfalls of performance, staging and re-enactment in the history and anthropology of science.

MIKE PEARSON teaches Performance Studies at Aberystwyth University, UK. Formerly an Artistic Director of Cardiff Laboratory Theatre (1973-80) and Brith Gof (1981-97). He continues to make performance with Pearson/Brookes (1997-present). He is co-author of Theatre/Archaeology (Routledge: 2001) and In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape (Exeter University Press: 2006).

ROGER KNEEBONE is a clinician and educationalist who leads a multidisciplinary research group at Imperial College London. His innovative work on contextualised simulation builds on his personal experience as a surgeon and a general practitioner, and his interest in domains of expertise beyond medicine. He recently conducted simulation-based re-enactments of surgical operations in the 1980s.

GUILLAUME LACHENAL teaches history of science at the University Paris Diderot. He is a fellow of the Institut Universitaire de France. His research is on the history and anthropology of biomedicine in Africa, especially Cameroon. He combines the approaches of science studies, anthropology of health, and colonial and postcolonial studies to examine biopolitics and biosciences in Africa. His latest book is Le médicament qui devait sauver l’Afrique. Un scandale pharmaceutique aux colonies (La Decouverte 2014).

MARIELE NEUDECKER is a visual artist who lives and works in Bristol, UK. She uses a broad range of media including sculpture, video and installation and works around notions of the Contemporary Sublime. She is engaged, along with Geissler and Kelly, and the photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva, in a project in a quasi-abandoned scientific research station in East Africa. She is currently working on a solo exhibition at Galerie Haas, Zurich, Switzerland and ‘Uncanny Reality, Models in Contemporary Art’, Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague.;;

ANN KELLY teaches social and medical anthropology at the interdisciplinary Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the university of Exeter. She has worked and published extensively on medical science in Africa, in particular on infectious disease control and research, and especially malaria. She is a collaborator on the ESRC Memorials and Remains of African Science project. Together with Geissler, she has experimented on re-enactment of post-colonial medical research in East Africa.

WENZEL GEISSLER teaches social anthropology at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo, and also works part time as director of research at the Department o Archaeology and Anthropology. He has worked extensively on transnational scientific research in Africa. His ongoing collaborative research focuses on the remains and memories of medical science. He is a collaborator on the Memorials and Remains of African Science project. His latest edited volume is ‘Para-states and Medical Science’ (Duke UP, 2014). 