25-26 / 102018

Report, Brainstorming on Performance held at the University of La Rioja


The third PerformArt Brainstorming dedicated to the concept ofperformance,organized by Anne-Madeleine GouletJosé María Domínguez and Élodie Oriol, at the University of La Rioja (Spain), in collaboration and with support from this institution, took place on 25 and 26 October 2018. The meeting followed on from two other events organised in Rome over the course of 2018 involving researchers from different disciplines: specialists in the performing arts, musicologists, historians and art historians.

The meeting was attended by a total of twenty-four people: fifteen members of the PerformArt team, its two administrators (Francine Gewiss and Hervé Landuré), two external researchers invited by PerformArt (professorsGuy Spielmann of Georgetown University and Andrea Sommer Matthis of the Institut für Kulturwissenschaften und Theatergeschichte of the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna), two guest Spanish researchers invited by the University of La Rioja (José Máximo Leza of the University of Salamanca and Andrea Bombi of the University of Valencia) and, finally, three professors from the Humanities Department of the University of La Rioja: Teresa CascudoPilar RamosPablo Rodriguez.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss the proposals presented by members of the PerformArt team for one of themain outputs of the project: the special monograph issue of the MEFRIM series published by the École française de Rome, whose provisional title is Performance et événements-spectacles à Rome au sein des familles aristocratiques (1644-1740). The meeting allowed us to instigate a dialogue with several colleagues from Spain, Austria (represented by Andrea Sommer-Mathis) and North America (Guy Spielmann). The meeting was structured around the provisional sections planned for the special issue. Each section was introduced by a team member with a ten-minute summary of all proposals included in the relevant section. This was followed by an intervention from one of the external researchers as a discussant, and then opening of debate and exchange to the floor.

On the 25th, the group was welcomed at the Centro Internacional de Investigación de la Lengua Española – CILENGUA of San Millán de La Cogolla by the coordinator of the Fundación San Millán Almudena Martínez (photo on left: cloister of the monastery of San Millán de Yuso).

After the opening of proceedings by the three coordinators of the MEFRIM volume, Anne Madeleine GouletJosé María Domínguez and Elodie Oriol, ProfessorGuy Spielmann gave a paper on ‘Court Festivals as Macro-Events: A Paradigm for Research’. The first section, ‘Pour une pensée historique de la performance’, which includes essays by Michela Berti and Émilie Corswarem, was introduced by a summary from the latter, followed by a reply from Teresa Cascudo; the Spanish researcher stressed the importance of remaining aware of different intellectual traditions and their genealogies, reflecting on the relationship between performance and theatricality, and proposed a more targeted approach to terms, words, and discourse analysis. Before the lunch break, CILENGUA invited all participants to attend a guided tour of the Augustinian (formerly Benedictine) monastery of San Millán de Yuso, of medieval origin but rebuilt in the baroque style during the seventeenth century.


The afternoon proceedings opened with the second session: ‘Lire, classer, indexer les traces de la performance’ with essays by Marco Cavietti, Orsetta Baroncelli, Manuela Grillo and Alexandra Nigito, who summarised this section. The discussant, Andrea Bombi, suggested reflecting on the significance of serial sources and their relationship with the extraordinary event: what do they silence, what stands out from the uniform backdrop? He also stressed the importance of recognising the narrative segments that exist in serial sources. The third session, entitled ‘Le spectacle et ses instances de production’, included essays by Giulia Veneziano, Sara Elisa Stangalino, Diana Blichmann and Teresa Chirico, who gave the summary. Discussant José Máximo Leza proposed expanding the angle towards a dual temporal perspective: the ‘before’ and the ‘after’ of the show, i.e. the moment when a document was produced. The fourth session, entitled ‘Qui performe?’ focused on essays by Huub Van der Linden, Valeria de Lucca, Gloria Giordano and Barbara Nestola, who delivered the summary. The discussant, Pilar Ramos, proposed reflection on the centrality of texts in sources and on the repetitive nature of ritual, dwelling on the concept of ‘theatrical feast’ as an element shared by all the proposals. The meeting on the 25th ended with a speech from Professor Pablo Rodríguez, lecturer in History and Theory of Interpretation at the University of La Rioja, with ideas about the relevance of performance as an object of study.

On Friday 26th, work continued in the Sala de Juntas of the Quintiliano Palace on the Logroño university campus. The day began with session five, entitled ‘Mais que performe-t-on?’ which included essays by Christine Jeanneret, Chiara Pelliccia, Cristina Fernandes and Aldo Roma, who proposed the introductory summary. The following discussion, launched by discussant Andrea Sommer-Mathis, focused on the problem of contextualising performative activities. In assessing the effectiveness of sources, the Austrian researcher stressed that evaluation must depend on how public or not the event was made.


The brainstorming task ended with a speech from Professor Juan José Carreras, with considerations especially about methodological aspects: how to approach other intellectual traditions, what use to make of them, how to question and dialogue with archive sources – which will always answer! -, the notion of ‘shared agency’ developed by anthropology and, finally, the concept of the event.


At the end of the brainstorming, an infoday was held in the Sala de Grados of the same Quintiliano building to present the project and the workings of the ERC PerformArt project. The vice-rector for research, Professor Belén Ayestarán, welcomed the participants with greetings from the institution, leaving the floor to Anne-Madeleine Goulet, José María Domínguez and the two administrative managers of the project: Francine Gewiss (École française de Rome) and Hervé Landuré (CNRS). The event was broadcast on YouTube and registration is available at this link:



On the afternoon of the 26th, the PerformArt team held a private meeting in the Sala de Juntas of the Quintiliano building.

Organisation:Anne-Madeleine Goulet,José María DomínguezandÉlodie Oriol.