The Performativity of Matter

23 March 2011

The Performativity of Matter

Our Zoe (Laughlin) is, again, up to things, having recently returned from performing a sold out run of "The Performativity of Matter" at Kaai Theater in Brussels as part of Performatik 2011, a 10-day festival of contemporary performance art and live art.

First presented in 2008 at the ICA in London, this ‘science demonstration lecture performance’ spotlights the performing nature - or performativity – of materials. As Zoe explains, performance isn't just about animate objects - inanimate objects perform, too: "Materials perform. Stuff is constantly getting up to things. Matter is doing all of the time, at varying scales of time and space, in order to exist and generate the world of objects."

This ever-evolving piece first emerged after a successful work by Zoe in which she gave a performance lecture about a mathematical equation she discovered. Since then, Zoe has been invited to perform around the UK and Europe to all manner of audiences. For example, last year saw her devise a lecture performance show on liquids for the Fundus Theatre in Germany.

Importantly, "The Performativity of Matter" is never the same twice. It is responsive to each diverse audience and setting, taking into account that the main performers on the stage – the materials - can’t always be controlled. But, to use one of Zoe’s expressions, if an on-stage demonstration works as it should on stage, it’s science. If it doesn’t, it’s art.

If you happen to be in Hamburg, Germany in May 2011, you can catch Zoe getting up to materials related mischief again at Kampnagle arts centre.


Zoe getting up to things in "The Performatiivity of Matter"

Zoe performing