Anti-Panel: BALKANIZATION at Chez Bushwick's CAKE

On June 13 at 7:30PM the CHEZ BUSHWICK series CAKE will feature an “anti-panel” on “interdisciplinarity” called BALKANIZATION. Organized by “theory monster” Andrea Liu the anti-panelists include:

  • Chase Granoff:
Dancer/Curator at Chocolate Factory and DTW Lobby Talks
  • Matthew Lyons:
Curator at the Kitchen
  • Bosko Blagojevic: Artist/Writer, Founder of Platform for Pedagogy
  • Peter Dobill:Actionist, Franklin Furnace performance artist
  • Moriah Evans, choreographer (w/dancer Shaun Boyle)

Ms. Liu has written an extensive essay on the subject that is available here. We are hoping to foster a discussion on that will precede the anti-panel, so download the essay in its entirety, read it, and discuss in the comments of this post.

In brief, Ms. Liu says:

Interdisciplinarity—that is, forms of art that seek to combine two or more art forms (visual art, dance, theater, film, literature, music) is rare. In a highly specialized, career-oriented capitalist society, different art fields become highly balkanized, such that the norm is that an artist in one field would have no knowledge, curiosity, or even respect of an art field other than their own. Dance and visual art have different relations to capital, different genealogies of the body, different relations to verbal discourse, different relations to and definitions of modernism, different gender power differentials; different ideologies of temporality, ephemerality, embodiment, spectatorship, preservation, commodification, distribution, and mimesis.

BALKANIZATION is an Artists’ Laboratory that examines the superficiality with which the term “interdisciplinary” is thrown around to describe a host of practices that merely place different disciplines side by side in a salad bowl situation, without those fields interpenetrating, cross-pollinating or in any way challenging the division between those disciplines.

We will look at the distinction between the terms Interdisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Cross-disciplinary, Post-disciplinary, Anti-disciplinary, the politics of the “interdisciplinary” residency, dada performance, butoh, performance art, dance installation, Performance Studies, dynamics of center/periphery, marginalization and experimentalism, and institutional education’s role.

THIS IS NOT A PANEL DISCUSSION, and there is no hierarchy between presenters and listeners. The audience will sit in a circle and are asked to bring notes, mini-presentations, ephemera, or any reactions in response to the essay.


This is the opening of Andrea Liu’s essay The Elusive Chimera: Interdisciplinarity –

Working at the cusp of two fields, as both a visual art and dance critic, I am made pretty aware on a daily basis of how rare, if not seemingly impossible, true “interdisciplinarity” between different art fields is actually fostered. Interdisciplinarity is often championed or marketed with a watery feel-good kum bah yah spirit by different venues or organizations, eliding the serious impediments to actually fostering real interdisciplinarity between art fields. If we define “interdisciplinarity” as merely the edges of fields touching, such as a choreographer using a visual artist to do scenery, or different disciplines being placed side by side one another in a “salad bowl” mix, such as a multi-disciplinary performance space, then perhaps “interdisciplinarity” is not rare. However, if we define “interdisciplinarity” as the historical trajectory and the canons of different art fields interpenetrating and cross pollinating, sharing affinities in their conceptual or aesthetic predilections, if not their notions of form, intermixing the texture of their social communities, then interdisciplinarity it seems to me is rare. If I took all my dance friends to one visual art event a week and all my visual art friends to one dance event a week, it wouldn’t change any thing. It’s a mentality, a tribalist, perhaps even territorialist identity that coagulates and exercise a centrifugal pull on its members. It’s an internal motivation problem as well: it takes alot of time to learn about another discipline, and it doesn’t benefit your career or fortify your ego in any way to do so, and you have to endure the humiliation of being a novice or beginner for awhile. As such most artists don’t bother.

download the rest here and please respond in the comments section.

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