in rehearsal – centrifuge: carmen sampled

For most of last Sunday and Monday, Robin Storey, Johanna Devi and I were locked into badly-lit and awkwardly-laid-out lecture theatres in rehearsals for CENTRIFUGE: CARMEN SAMPLED (part of the /carmen/karmen/s/ events). This was the first time we have all been in the same room since October 2010, when we last got together to thrash out some concepts for the show. In the meantime, there has been countless emails, uploaded files, snail-mail packages flying between London, Newcastle and Berlin as we collaborated virtually. Johanna and Robin created elements of sound, choreography and visuals – but separately. The workshop weekend was an opportunity for us to pull together these disparate strands and hammer out a dramatic (but not narrative!) structure for the whole show, and to experiment with some ideas.

Without giving away too much, here are some images from rehearsals over two days. (Thanks to Evelyn Lam for taking photos and for the loan of her camera.)

Book tickets here!

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Filed under: arts, conference

excuse two to spend a summer in reyjkavik /cfp


General Conference of the European Consortium for Political Research
Reyjkavik, 25-27 August 2011

It has been thirty years since the Saatchi & Saatchi’s hugely successful campaign for Margaret Thatcher. However, political advertising is no longer only used by competing parties before elections. Instead, recently, many governments have hired advertising agencies to promote and manage their country’s reputations. In Europe, countries emerging from the debris of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s are keen to disassociate themselves from their war-time images of conflict and violence, and seek to reposition themselves in the world. Thus, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and now Kosovo – among others – have launched nation branding campaigns. For Simon Anholt, who first coined the term ‘nation brand’, these campaigns are an extension of his original concept; and he has challenged their purpose and usefulness. Yet, governments continue to invest in nation branding. This panel examines the implications of governments using advertising to shape the nation. The process of creating a campaign is often concomitant to a process of nation building in post conflict societies. Thus, what exactly is being advertised? How do such campaigns shape the identity of the nation itself, nations that are often in transition? What kind of relationships do these campaigns seek to foster between its ‘product’ or ‘brand’ and its ‘consumer’? If the campaigns are intended to shape the perception of outsiders, then what are the implications for citizens and for civic society? If the campaigns are about representing the nation to the world, then surely we must consider who is included and excluded from such an image. On a broader level, what are the implications of states using capitalist strategies? What, then, is the relationship between the market and the nation state? This panel invites papers that interrogate the project of nation branding and its implications, as well as those that examine the consequences and outcomes of specific campaigns.

Please submit paper proposals by 1 February via the ECPR website. Please note that you do not have to be a member of the ECPR to submit a paper. If you need an extension, please get in touch with the panel chair.

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excuse one to spend the summer in reyjkavik /cfp


General Conference of European Consortium for Political Research, 25-27 August 2011, Reyjkavik

The collapse of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc, coupled with the sharp market turn taken by countries such as China and Vietnam, have given rise to a plethora of new aesthetic forms. Such transformations have occurred not only in the traditional arts (painting, music, theatre) but also in the broader culture sphere (space, architecture, new media). A dominant force driving such changes is the introduction of the market economy, which critics argue has enriched only a small number of elites. Through an inversion of working-class cultural hegemony promoted under socialism, the material and aesthetic desires of this newly enriched class have become the same desires of the under-classes. Additionally, it has been argued that the advent of global capitalism within former-socialist states has reified enclaves of socio-cultural difference hitherto resistant to such a project (Jameson). This “disneyfication” of elements ranging from collective memory to ethnic minority culture, i
llustrates how market forces are pressed into the service of re-emerging (and re-imagined) forms of nationalism. The proposed panel offers an interrogation of this totalizing scenario. Participants are invited to present work on various aesthetic practices and possibilities which resist, embrace, co-opt, re-invent, disrupt or are even indifferent to such forces. Speakers might want to address ways in which earlier socialist aesthetics continue to haunt the present; whether these forms offer any emacipatory value; whether the persistence of authoritarian rule in certain post-socialist states provides forms of resistance predicated on modernist notions of “Truth” (Badiou); and how such potential might contrast with post-modern parliamentary democracies in which such movements are no longer fashionable. The panel, which approaches questions of art and aesthetics in the broadest possible sense, encourages submissions from a wide range of disciplines including anthropology, ar
t history, architecture, cultural studies, political science and urban studies.

Please submit paper proposals by 1 February via the ECPR website. You don’t have to be a ECPR member to proposal a paper.  If you need an extension, please get in touch with the panel chair.

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The Carmen conference has now expanded and morphed into a massive project entitled /carmen/karmen/s/ , an arts-academia-crossover experiment in three parts… check it out!

Filed under: arts, conference, literature, , , , ,

Carmen and her others: call for papers!

Call for papers ¦ CONFERENCE ¦ Saturday, 12 February 2011
University College London ¦ Mellon Programme


The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to conduct an in-depth study of Carmen in her various manifestations. By exploring Carmen in text, opera, film, dance and theatre, the conference hopes to trace various incarnations of the work across time and space. By juxtaposing multiple versions, we will explore issues of inter-cultural and inter-medial translation and adaptation.

The most famous versions of Carmen are the Merimee novella (1845) and Bizet’s opera (1875). Subsequently, the story proliferated into over eighty films and numerous re-stagings, including notable versions such as those by Cecille DeMille (1915), Otto Preminger (1954) and Carlos Saura (1995). More recent interpretations include Karmen Gei (2001, Senegal); U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha (2005, South Africa); and a television remake starring Beyonce Knowles (Carmen: A Hip Hopera, 2001).

In addition to these, there are other lesser-known versions of the work. For example, the film The Wild, Wild Rose (1960, Hong Kong); a manga version produced for the Vancouver Opera; and a Danish staging as 2200 Carmens at the Nørrebro Teater with the rapper Isam B in 2009. There have also been numerous uses of the figure of Carmen as an archetype: for example, by the Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok and the director Petr Chardyninin late Tsarist Russia. Moreover, there have been countless references to Carmen in films such as Mr X, Part 1 (1967, Egypt) and Love Drives Them Mad (1946, Mexico).

The conference invites papers dealing with any version of Carmen in any culture, form and language (including, but not limited to, those mentioned above). We particularly welcome papers that address non-European adaptations or lesser-known re-workings. The papers should address issues such as:
* Genre and media and their impact on representation;
* Cultural adaptability of stories and archetypes;
* Issues of translation across cultures and media;
* The configuration and representation of issues of gender, race and criminality;
* Dissemination and migration of cultural tropes.

Presenters will have 30 minutes for their papers. In addition, each presenter will be asked to respond (in less than 10 minutes) to one other paper. Therefore, all presenters will be also asked to circulate a draft of their paper to their ‘partner’ a week in advance of the conference. It is hoped that this activity will encourage debate across discipline, culture and media.

A book proposal will be drafted once the conference programme is finalised.

Two evening events related to the conference will be held at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 11 and 12 February including a concert version of Carmen with video projections, and a performance with the multimedia artist, Robin Storey (Rapoon).

Please send your proposal (no more than 500 words) by 8 October 2010 to:
carmenandherothers AT

Please direct any questions to:
Dr Mi Zhou (UCL Mellon Programme)
zhou.mi AT

Filed under: arts, conference, films, literature