Call: Performative interfaces: Do machines dream of electric sheep?

TaPRA Conference 2011
University of Kingston, UK
7th- 9th September 2011

Theatre & Performance Research Association
Performance and New Technologies Working Group
Performative interfaces: do machines dream of electric sheep?

As a working group interested in the performative interfaces between humans and technologies, we feel that questions about how we interact with machines; the intimacy of that interaction and the immersive nature of these performances have been lost in a maze of theoretical dependency. Rather than looking at the humanity of the interaction, we tend to justify these interfaces through cerebral analyses based on various theories from Deeluze/Guattari’s rhizome to posthumanism. With this call for papers we would like to move away from this typology and invite performances and provocations, that address the multisensory exploration of the interaction between humans and machines. We would like the speakers and performers to explore topics of intimate human communication through the senses, touch, smell, sound, and tasting in innovative ways that talk about the people we are, and the machines we use. Or, in other words, what/how do we feel when interacting with machines and where can we find the ‘soul’ of the encounter within these performative interfaces?

We invite proposals for:
Performances or performance demonstrations (up to 1 hour)
Provocations, work in progress with discussion (30 mins)

We invite proposals from non-performance specialists

Confirmation of interest and abstracts of maximum 250 words should be sent to the convenors Mary Oliver ( and Carmen Szabo ( by 3 May 2011.

We welcome questions and conversations prior to this date if any colleagues need advice and/or clarification on any aspect of the above. Please note that our group also welcomes participation at the conference from colleagues who not do wish to present and those from other disciplines whose work talks to these themes and subject field.

This working group considers the ways in which new and emergent technologies bear upon contemporary theatre and performance practices. The group’s work inevitably concerns digital technologies, although its focus is not limited to a single technological paradigm.

Conference information can be found on the TaPRA Website (

Use the left hand menu on the TaPRA home page to go to the page of the Working Group to whom you wish to offer a paper to find details of this year’s Working Group themes and working methods.

The Call for Papers closes on 3rd May, 2011, and WG convenors will let people know of their acceptance by 20th May.

On line Conference Registration for the Conference will open on 3rd May, 2011. Registration will be available by credit card, cheque, or bank transfer. 

The Early Bird registration rate will be available until 1st July, 2011. Registration closes on 12th August. It will be difficult to add delegates after that date, so please make sure you register before 12th August if you want to attend.

The Conference dinner will be held at Richmond Hill Hotel (with coach travel to and from Kingston provided).

Details of recommended hotels and B&Bs will be available when registration opens in May.

The Annual Conference of the Theatre and Performance Research Association will be held at Kingston University, 7th to 9th September, 2011. Kingston University is located in south west London, about 20 minutes by train from Waterloo, and near the centre of Kingston, a busy urban hub (see

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