December News from Our Friends at “PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art”

A couple notes about some fantastic stuff from Bonnie Maranca and our other friends at PAJ: A journal of performance and art.

First up, because it’s timely: This Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m., they’re hosting a discussion on “Neuroscience and the Arts Today: Shared Interfaces.” This sort of fascinatingly dovetails with some of the work that was recently at Culturehub’s Media Circus at the end of November, and is definitely worth checking out. Here’s the description:

The discussion features artists and performers who have built on recent neuroscientific knowledge, incorporating social, cognitive, or affective discoveries in their art. Some work collaboratively with neuroscientists while others work separately. All are engaged in communicating their insights about the body and mind to the general public, and many are educators. Often the work has resulted in novel therapies brought about by using knowledge of brain function and basic physiology to improve well-being. Knowledge gained in cognitive neuroscience by those working in the visual arts, dance, literature and music has amplified productive approaches to creativity, emotion, and the healing process. The reverse is also true; neuroscience sees art as an increasingly valuable resource, and its practitioners are finding ways to apply this knowledge.

It’s at 7 p.m. at Location One, 26 Greene St. in SoHo.

Second, PAJ has just published a new book, Heiner Müller After Shakespeare, a new translation of Müller’s adaptations/reconfigurations of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Titus. Back when I was a naive young college kid fresh out of the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, and trying desperately to discover new theatrical languages that allowed me to see the form as relevant beyond a kitschy, anachronistic over-priced entertainment, Müller was one of the voices that really affected me. I don’t entirely recall how I first heard his name, but I do remember wandering the theater section at Powell’s Books in downtown Portland, avoiding the over-abundance of used copies of Mamet plays hogging the first part of the “M” section and snatching a copy of Faber & Faber’s Theatremachine, a fantastic little collection of essays, interviews, poems, and performance texts. Years later I spent a good half-hour hitting up Heiner Goebbels–one of Müller’s collaborators–for stories about the artist himself. Anyway, the point is I’m about halfway through After Shakespeare and continue to be impressed with Müller’s imagination all these years later. He’s a tricky and slippery but absolutely crucial artist.