Call for Papers
« Redoing/Refaire »
no 29 (Spring 2017)
Intermediality: History and Theory of the Arts, Literature and Technologies
(Université du Québec à Montréal)
Deadline for proposals (abstracts): March 15, 2016
Announcement of the final selection: early April, 2016
Submission of papers for evaluation: September 15, 2016
Publication of the papers selected by the Editorial committee: Winter 2017
Recently, there has been much debate around the notion of reenactment, a term that encompasses re-creation, reconstruction, reprise, and other forms of “living reactivation” of past performance works, historical events, and cultural phenomena. Reenactment implies “re-embodiment”: it engages bodies, gestures, and actions. It makes it possible to transmit works, knowledge and values among individuals, social groups, and generations directly, from one body to another, by privileging oral tradition as well as corporal and kinaesthetic memory.
The logic of transmission by reenactment is more related to the notion of repertoire than to that of the archive. Unlike a collection or patrimony that is preserved, a repertoire is replayed, recycled, updated (Litvan, López Izquierdo). It is evolving, expansive, dynamic, and allows for combinations. In the field of anthropology, Diana Taylor envisages it as a group of gestures transmitted by the body through living practices, in a fully creative process of repetitions and differences. Sociologists Robert Faulkner and Howard Becker speak about jazz as a “repertoire in action”: through the dynamics of learning, routine, negotiation, improvisation and transposition, musicians create live variations together, by repeating a limited number of patterns and schemas.
Thus, reenactment perpetuates by updating and transforming. It also brings into play the processes of confirmation and emancipation. Through repetition, it transmits understanding, knowledge and conceptions of the world; it confirms symbolic and social orders and philosophical, political, aesthetic, and other values. It generates forms of identification and a sense of belonging to a group. With its propensity to transform, it also has the capacity to suspend these logics of confirmation and belonging and may thus play a role in emancipation and protest. It is an instrument of agency – defined as the capacity of subjects to act on their social reality. The modifications and mutations that the actors perform enable them to reinvent themselves in accordance with the changes that occur in the society and environment that surround them (Taylor).
This critical and emancipatory capacity of reenactment has been noted by a number of performance studies theorists, who see it as a mode of transmission able to sidestep archival institutions that control the access to and the interpretation of documents on behalf of various powers. Rebecca Schneider maintains that reenactment, as a living cultural practice, can be a “performative form of archive” related to the notions of symptom and counter-memory, thus giving a voice to minority groups and enabling the production of counter-histories. According to André Lepecki, dance reenactment has the potential to free works from a number of diktats: conformity with the original, the choreographer’s control over the future of his or her work, or the sway of the economic system and the cultural industry over creation. Reenactment is thus a political gesture of unlocking that makes possible the free circulation of works.
Even as these authors fully recognize the memorial function of reenactment and understand it in the context of a dialectic between the archive and the living, between the live and the mediatized event, their perspective focuses on the analysis of its capacity to subvert the logic of the archive and of the media economy. In their view, the potential for agency and emancipation in reenactment is related to its corporal, live, and living nature. Yet, reenactment practices remain closely interwoven with recording and capture technologies: they participate in archivist culture, circulate on communications and information networks, and are easily inscribed in the economies of the spectacle and the culture and tourism industries.
This upcoming issue of Intermediality, then, wants to put forward an intermedial approach for understanding and thinking through the complex links between reenactment practices, on the one hand, and archivist culture and the media, on the other. Directly related to reenactment practices are such media practices as the photographic, film, video and sound recordings; the establishment of scores, notations, or scripts; and the conservation of costumes, musical instruments, and props. Beyond their value of testimony and authenticity, which they share with archives, these documentary collections are oriented towards a return to action. They make it possible for new actors to appropriate and update the practices that they document by reinterpreting them in a new way and thus transforming them.
Recorded with new technologies and disseminated through various new media channels, reenactments engender the re-mediation of images. Cultural and art practices that were familiar to us only through low-quality recordings are now readily “available” in colour, high definition, or as sophisticated sound tracks. Born digital, these documents are conserved via new forms of information storage, whose logic of organization, access, use, and control differs from that of “domiciled” archives. Not only are these new digital archives more accessible than those of previous generations, but they have the capacity to generate forms of sociability resembling those of oral culture. Through their circulation on the Web, they engender processes of identification and belonging, creating virtual communities. Their almost unlimited reproducibility and the ease with which they can be appropriated and transformed encourage the creation of new content whose critical scope remains to be assessed.
We welcome contributions that offer a theoretical reflection on reenactment as understood through its relation with archives and media and in the perspective of capturing its critical potential: the dialectics of belonging and protest that it generates, the new forms of collective action that it engenders, its links with minority cultures, its capacity to produce counter-memories and counter-histories. We are also interested in case studies conducted within multidisciplinary fields that address reenactment from an intermedial perspective. Possible themes include:
– Phenomena of reprise and reenactment in the performing arts (dance, theatre, performance art, music, circus, and so on): interactions among performances, recordings, scripts and scores, repertoires;
– The uses of reenactment in art and anthropology museums, particularly for exhibitions and mediation activities;
– Film remakes, especially when they concern themselves with and put into play forms of re-embodiment;
– Re-creations of rock concerts from set lists and recordings;
– Living history and its connections to archives and media: re-creations of historical events, pageants, living history museums, and others;
– The Intangible Cultural Heritage, a debate sparked by the UNESCO convention in 2003, which pertains to the use of new media in the preservation of disappearing cultural practices;
– Experimental archaeology: between digital 3D reconstruction technologies and living experimentation;
– Virtual forms of reenactment, notably on the Web, in Second Life, or in other virtual realities and video games;
– Reenactments on television: re-creations of crime and forensic scenes within TV series, the role of reenactment in the manufacturing of TV reality stars.
Intermédialités/Intermediality is a biannual, internationally renowned peer-reviewed journal. It publishes articles in both French and English.
Abstracts of proposals (up to 300 words) in English or French should be sent by March 15, 2016 to the guest editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Editorial board will announce its selection of abstracts at the beginning of April 2016 and papers should be completed by September 15, 2016. Final submissions will go through a double-blind peer review and the editorial board will reach a final decision on acceptations during the fall of 2016. Selected papers will be published in the spring of 2017. Submissions should be no longer than 6,000 words (40,000 characters, including spaces) and should be sent as email attachments to the issue editors. Authors are encouraged to use audio, visual, still, or animated illustrations when appropriate.
Authors are asked to follow our author guidelines for submitted manuscripts, which are available at:
For more information on Intermédialités please visit the journal website at: http://www.intermedialites.com.
Faulkner, Robert R. and Howard S. Becker, « Do you know…? ». The Jazz Repertoire in Action, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 2009.
Lepecki, André. « The Body as Archive : Will to Re-Enact and the Afterlives of Dances », Dance Research Journal, vol. 42, no 2, hiver 2010, p. 28-48.
Litvan, Valentina and Marta López Izquierdo, « Répertoire(s). Mode d’emploi », Pandora, no 7, 2007, p. 9-17.
Schneider, Rebecca. Performing Remains. Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment, London, New York, Routledge, 2011.
Taylor, Diana. The Archive and the Repertoire: Performing Cultural Memory in the Americas, Durham, Duke University Press, 2003.