“I leave to several futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths.”
Jorge Luis Borges, The Garden of Forking Paths (1941)
At PSi#22 Melbourne, the Future Advisory Board created a Wunderkammer installation and hosted a Strange Gardening Workshop.
Wunderkammer is thought as a temporal prism — a wormhole to see the pasts and become the futures of Performance Studies. There, artefacts from different temporal vectors of Performance Studies will come together in an ecology of performance from which new speculative futures of PSi will be catalysed through negotiations of intersecting temporalities, epistemic contingencies, and the precarity of scholarly life, labour, and contemporary academic institutions.
In the Borgesian labyrinth of labyrinths, the maze and the book are involuted in a vertiginous ecology of times “which approached one another, forked, broke off, or were unaware of one another for centuries” and embraces all possibilities of time, proliferating endlessly. The Wunderkammer is one manifestation of this labyrinth, metabolising its possibilities as it comes into being through the duration of the conference. It is a necessarily paradoxical and anachronistic endeavour that seeks to catalogue the excessive trajectories of speculative futures, while it simultaneously disorientates how ‘futures’ are situated and reorganised.
Strange Gardening Workshop: Cultivating the Futures of Performance Studies
How do we reclaim the future from the reckonings of the past and the precarities of the present? What are actual strategies and tactics we could take up in our scholarly-artistic practice–personally and institutionally?
In a lunchtime session, the PSi Future Advisory Board (FAB) hosted a workshop on cultivating seeds of the future for our collective milieu. The workshop was structured around encounters, reflections, and conversations that cross-fertilise, across generations of performance scholars, from various localities and flows of epistemic traditions. In the spirit of queering genealogies and processes of (re)production, we invited participants to tend to our garden of theories past, make way for new deterritorialisations/ reterritorialisations, and sow the seeds for a futurity that is not yet here.