Michal Kobialka (Graduate Colloquium)

October 2, 2015

Lyman Hall, room 211

Materialism of the Encounter

The topic, “Performance Studies: Materialism of the Encounter” brought to mind a series of mnemonic responses: from the avant-garde desire to annex modernist reality or the singular modernity of Fredric Jameson to the postmodern condition of Jean-François Lyotard; from the cultural and  linguistic turn of the 1970s and the 1980s to the performative and ontological turn of the 1990s; or from the reorientation of critical studies after the Fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 to the global, anti-gravitational, imaginary.

In this presentation, Professor Kobialka explored the idea of materialism of the encounter between performance studies and political activity, which not always was translated, as it is today, into the art of mediatized or pixelated image.  This materialism of the encounter questions performance research caught in the activity of abstracting thought and practice under duress of reconciling Performance Studies with the sciences.


About Professor Kobialka:  Michal Kobialka is a Professor of Theatre in the Department of Theatre Arts & Dance at the University of Minnesota.  He has published over 75 articles, essays and reviews on medieval, eighteenth-century and contemporary European theatre, as well as the theatre of Tadeusz Kantor.

He is the author of two books on Tadeusz Kantor’s theatre, A Journey Through Other Spaces: Essays and Manifestos, 1944-1990 [University of California Press, 1993; the book was translated into Romanian under the title: O Călătorie ĭn Alte Spaţii: Teatrul lui Tadeusz Kantor (Cluj-Napoca: Casa Cărţii de Ştiinţa, 2010)] and Further on, Nothing: Tadeusz Kantor’s Theatre (University of Minnesota Press, 2009; the book received the honorary mention for 2010 ATHE Outstanding Book Award).  He is the editor of Of Borders and Thresholds: Theatre History, Practice, and Theory (University of Minnesota Press, 1999), a co-editor (with Barbara Hanawalt) of Medieval Practices of Space (University of Minnesota Press, 2000), and a co-editor (with Rosemarie Bank) of Theatre/Performance Historiography: Time, Space, Matter (Palgrave, 2015). His book on the early medieval drama and theatre, This Is My Body: Representational Practices in the Early Middle Ages (University of Michigan Press, 1999) received the 2000 ATHE Annual Research Award for Outstanding Book in Theatre Practice and Pedagogy.