Interventions 25.1 (February 2015)

This instalment of Interventions takes its departure from Contemporary Theatre Review‘s special issue on editing (25.1), an inspiring mix of theatre and performance researchers contribute to a lexicon ranging from ‘Call for Papers’ to ‘Copyediting’. This format allows for a detailed look at the often- invisible processes that contribute to the circulation of ideas in our field. It also allows for reflection on practices that are specific to, or take on a particular significance for, this discipline. Gay McAuley, for example, considers parallels between editing a text and rehearsing a script. Joseph Roach looks at how the term ‘research’ might, for editors of theatre and performance scholarship, be more usefully figured as ‘(re)search’ to communicate both a sense of searching after the lost live event, and the open-ended investigations associated with practice-based research. The format of this issue and the range of content it contains ultimately invite the reader to draw parallels and make connections between practices and disciplines,  and pursue surprising avenues.

The print journal’s lexicon includes a number of entries dealing with web-based and other new technologies (Jen Parker-Starbuck on the ‘Digital’, Karen Fricker on ‘Blogging’, and Helena Grehan on ‘Electronic Journals’). In commissioning the Interventions section of this issue, we have also paid attention to the specificities of the online form we are working with, and the possibilities and challenges to editing this creates. A common thread between several of these Interventions is a playful or performative format that takes advantage of the space of the website. Some pieces here look at editing in the context of web-based projects, and others highlight things like collaborative methodologies, or multiple authorship, that are associated with digital production, but also take place offline.

We have a feature exploring a Wikipedia ‘edit-a-thon’ hosted by the Live Art Development Agency and co-organised by Lois Weaver and Eleanor Roberts. This event focused on increasing visibility on Wikipedia for feminist Live Art practices by creating new articles and expanding on existing articles, with support from Wikimedia volunteers. The organisers reflect on the issue of ‘notability’ that is embedded in Wikipedia guidelines, and consider how this seemingly open framework can nevertheless replicate wider systems of recognition and disregard. Taking an activist stance, Jen Harvie, a participant in the edit-a-thon, urges readers to expand the reach of this initiative, ‘to protect and prioritise the time, the event and the very commitment to writing feminism’.

We are also delighted to present a forum of postgraduate and early-career researchers responding to a brief regarding their own experiences with academic publishing. Curated by Charlotte Bell, these pieces proceed from the idea that the effects of new technologies and shifts in institutional support structures are often felt most keenly, and perhaps explored with particular vigour, by those near the beginning of their careers. From publishing pressures to new configurations for collaboration, the issues addressed in this forum open up questions about what academic publishing means today.

Alongside these features on editing, we also offer reflections from two different projects that deliberately subvert or refuse the edit. Both projects deal with performance documentation – NOTA is a performative intervention that occurs alongside performance events and explores notation, while Emergency Index is an annual compendium of performance documentation submitted by artists. As well, both projects toy with a utopian idea of unmediated response, while complicating this idea with attention to mechanisms like administration and design. Questions of labour, funding and independent or autonomous production also connect NOTA and Emergency Index, and add complexity to the wider discussion of what it means to not edit. Finally, while each is situated firmly IRL (in real life), they nevertheless explore a kind of radical indeterminacy that might be considered ‘virtual’.

Finally, it seems fitting that this issue of editing, which addresses questions of visibility, mobility and the conditions of academic publishing, corresponds with the print journal’s 25th anniversary. To celebrate this occasion our website and the print journal have undergone a slight redesign. As well, throughout 2015 you will have free access to a collection of articles from CTR’s history that have been selected by the journal’s editors. We hope you enjoy!

– Johanna Linsley


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