PhD Special Individualized Program, Art History/Visual Arts, 1999-2004, Concordia University, Montréal.

Title of PhD thesis: ‘Walking in the City: The Motif of Exile in Performances by Krzysztof Wodiczko and Adrian Piper’.
Title of PhD thesis exhibition: ‘Prosthetic Self’, Oboro Art Gallery, Montréal.

Performing Exile

ICI Project 2007-08

Discourses of exile are often defined by their proximity to postcolonial, hybrid, multicultural, diaspora, minor, national and transnational theories. In order to clarify and expand on the existing definitions of walking in exile as represented in some performance artworks, I would like to elaborate on a threefold interdisciplinary methodological framework. In particular, I would like to combine critical theory of performance art (Amelia Jones and Peggy Phelan, amongst others), interdisciplinary theory on exile (Edward Said, Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben, Homi Bhabha, Paul Tabori et al.) and philosophical meditation on movement and stasis (primarily deconstructive philosophy of Jacques Derrida). My challenge will be to discover how the critical theory and philosophical discourses can be applied to reveal the richness of selected contemporary exilic art performances.

Moreover, elaborating on Julia Kristeva’s contention that, ‘the foreigner points to the limits of nationhood and the concept of citizenship’ (Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves), I will examine the political dimension of selected performances that are either expressed in ephemeral, time-based actions, or represented on video and photographs, conceptualizing them as critical counter-narratives of a different type of text and travel. Furthermore, I will refer to selected theoretical texts to argue that the work of a truly responsible artist does not participate in the politics of national superiority and does not support the myth of an autonomous artistic progress. I will demonstrate that ‘performing exile’ means to profoundly rethink the exilic, national, and performative dwelling in-between countries. My contention is that some performance artists question the socio-political and cultural status quo by performing mobile, marginal, and estranged limits of citizenship.