The Think Tank: Institution as Performance

Dyer, Sonya. 2020. The Think Tank: Institution as Performance. In: Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca and Alice Lagaay, eds. The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 272-279. ISBN 9781138495623 [Book Section]

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This essay presents a consideration of the performativity of the think tank as an institutional structure. The chapter analyses a series of four key examples of think tanks created in the context of contemporary art: The Institute for Human Activities (2014) by Dutch artist, Renzo Martens; The Silent University (2012) by Turkish artist Ahmet Ogut; Tania Bruguera’s Our Neighbours (2018) and the author’s own 2014 project, the …And Beyond Institute for Future Research (ABIFR), which centres marginalised subjectivities (particularly those of Black women) within narratives of space travel and futurity. ABIFR is analysed as a mode of performative pedagogy that provides space for the relationship between performance and philosophy to be realised and enacted through the think tank. In this project, the author argues, the educative properties of the think tank and the research institute are subverted, reimagined, reconstituted and potentially radicalised by creating a performative dynamic between ‘audience’ and ‘institute’. Performance philosophy – understood as thought generated and disseminated through performance and performativity – transforms a traditionally static and passive relationship between publics and think tanks into a form of call and response where the ‘expert’ and the ‘receiver of information’ swap places, or indeed sometimes are, or can become, the same person.

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8 July 2020Published

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05 Jun 2023 15:24

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05 Jun 2023 15:24


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