Preview and Benefit for ‘Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions, a Conference of Theoretical Theater’


BENEFITPOSTER3smallerA Preview Benefit for
Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions: A Conference of Theoretical Theater

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Lecture by Dr. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Performances by Varispeed and other guest artists


Glasshouse Projects

246 Union Avenue 
, Brooklyn, NY
(M to Lorimer, G/L to Metropolitan-Lorimer)

Suggested donation $25 (donations over $250 tax deductible)
or reserve a seat online by donating $30 at

If you can’t make it, please consider donating to the project via Panoply Lab’s fiscal sponsor HERE

Space is very limited!

A preview of and fundraiser for the upcoming Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions: A Conference of Theoretical Theater, this evening draws together artists, scholars, and also theorists working outside institutions. The lecture by Dr. Spivak, on imaginative training for epistemological performance, will act as a provocation and catalyst for further discussions and, alongside music and theatrical performances, a live auction of critical theories written in the moment by the audience.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak  is a celebrated critical theorist whose work has been particularly influential to the field of post-colonialism. Her research interest is the humanities as an instrument of gendered social justice. Spivak is University Professor at Columbia University.  University Professorships are the highest honor awarded to faculty by the President and the trustees of the University.  There are currently eight University Professors among the nearly 4,000 full time faculty at Columbia.  Spivak is the only University Professor in the Humanities and the first and only woman of color to be raised to this rank in the University’s 258-year history.  Indeed, there is no other Asian woman in the humanities who holds comparable rank in the United States.  Spivak was the first woman of color with an endowed professorship at Emory University in Atlanta, and the first Mellon Professor in English at the University of Pittsburgh.  In 1976, Spivak introduced the work of Jacques Derrida to the English-reading world through her translation of De la grammatologie.  Through her 48 years of full time teaching at universities around the world, Spivak has taught literary reading as a way of preparing for the unconditioned (ahaituka) ethical, rather than rational choice utilitarian decisions, encompassing feminism as well as the intuitions of democracy.  Since 1986, Spivak has expanded this effort among the children of the rural landless illiterate by establishing small elementary schools in Purulia and Birbhum districts of West Bengal, training teachers chosen by the community.  These schools are subsidized by her own salary, because Spivak believes that the evaluative standards of the international civil society are too restrictive for the training of a democratic electorate.  With the help of the Tarak Nath Das Foundation and the enthusiastic support of the community and the Beej Nigam of the Government of West Bengal, she is launched on an ambitious project of ecological agriculture. She was born in Calcutta, India, in 1942. She is the author of many influential works such as In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (1987), Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993), “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1985), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the Vanishing Present (1999), Death of a Discipline (2003), and Other Asias (2005). In 2008 Seagull Books (Calcutta) published Who Sings the Nation-State? a conversation with Judith Butler. Her more recent works include Nationalism and the Imagination (2010) and An Aesthetic Education in the Era of Globalization (2012). She has translated from the Bengali extensively, including 18th-century hymns.

Varispeed is a collective of composer-performers from experimental theatre group Panoply Performance Laboratory, ensemble thingNY, and Why Lie? that creates site-specific, sometimes-participatory, oftentimes-durational, forevermore-experimental events. Founded by Aliza Simons, Dave Ruder, Paul Pinto, Brian McCorkle, and Gelsey Bell, Varispeed came together in June 2011 to perform a twelve-hour celebration of Perfect Lives Brooklyn before they were invited to perform the critically-acclaimed Manhattan version in November as part of PERFORMA ’11. Their new arrangements in Perfect Lives Manhattan made Time Out New York and New York Times’ critic Steve Smith’s “Best of 2011” list.  Subsequently, Varispeed presented on Perfect Lives at Performers Forum and began a series of 1-minute recorded operas, each dedicated to a supporter of the collective.  In August 2012, Varispeed presented their second full scale project, an over-night, 12-hour arrangement of John Cage’s Empty Words, which was presented at Roulette, Exapno, and across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions: A Conference of Theoretical Theater is an experimental conference based on the premise that performance is not just an artistic medium, it is also a vast and complex conceptual structure reaching into every sphere of society. Scheduled for September 2013, the conference recognizes, frames, and authorizes performance-making as a constructive theorizing and envisioning act with the agency to escape autonomous artistic spheres and participate in co-construction of public discourse. Significantly, the conference begins with four theoretical positions, each presented via performance. The conference is structured to allow participants to respond to, rebut, and extend the views presented in the four initial performances, through discussions, talks, and conference publications. The four theoretical performances that provide the core of the conference will be presented by Mike Taylor (USA), Reality Research Center (FINLAND), Amapola Prada (PERU), and Kikuko Tanaka (JAPAN/USA). This benefit primarily funds air travel for international participants.

Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions: A Conference of Theoretical Theater is conceived and organized by Esther Neff (Panoply Performance Lab) and Yelena Gluzman (UCSD), and supported by a grant from Culture Push’s Fellowship for Utopian Practice.

To contact conference organizers, please email



2 Responses to “Preview and Benefit for ‘Theorems, Proofs, Rebuttals, and Propositions, a Conference of Theoretical Theater’”

  1. panoplylab said

    Reblogged this on Nociception Theatrician and commented:

    We are acting as a fiscal sponsor for this glorious preview and benefit on March 23, it is organized by PPL co-director Esther Neff with Yelena Gluzman. Get tickets in advance if you can!

  2. […] by the amazing Yelena Gluzman and Esther Neff in support of their experimental conference-as-performance coming this September, Theatre as Theory this Saturday features a lecture by Dr. Gayatri […]

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