News: My research essay on Lois Weaver’s project “Tammy WhyNot” published

My research essay “Reflections on identity politics, ‘making together’ and public engagement in Lois Weaver’s Tammy WhyNot performances” has been published in the bilingual, peer-reviewed yearbook of the Finnish Theatre Research Society, named Näyttämö ja tutkimus 4: Näyttämöltä tutkimukseksi – esittävien taiteiden metodologiset haasteet (Stage and Theatre 4: From the stage into research – methodological challenges posed by the performative arts) and edited by Liisa Ikonen, Hanna Järvinen and Maiju Loukola.

In the essay, I discuss the complexities that I have encountered in analyzing the identity political contents of Lois Weaver’s performance research project Tammy WhyNot. I suggest that through her participatory performances produced within the Public Engagement framework, Weaver promotes a view differing considerably from the general characterization of “identity politics”. Instead of promoting a separatist agenda, Weaver’s performances advance and facilitate dialogue and co-operation and are rooted in the postmodern view that identities are processes. I also suggest that thanks to her commitment to a liberal attitude, Weaver may avoid the problem of relativism apparent in postmodern political theory. Due to its emphasis on participation, dialogue and the process nature of knowledge, Public Engagement functions as a productive framework for Weaver’s identity political performances.

The writing process of this essay has brought about new questions which I will critically delve into in the near future, e.g. how does Weaver’s emphasis on psychosexuality in identity construction affect her performance-making strategies; her view(s) on communities; and the relevance of her project Tammy WhyNot to political debates and conflicts in which sexuality is not seen to be playing any crucial role?

The yearbook can be accessed at:
> Tutustu julkaisuun (.pdf)

About Joonas Lahtinen

Joonas Lahtinen (* 1984, FIN/A) is a performance artist, director and researcher who lives and works in Vienna and Helsinki. His performances are often site-specific and have a strong installational character. In his works, he explores the politics of space and of the everyday from perspectives that are both humorous and disturbing. Joonas has studied Performance at Queen Mary, University of London and he is writing a PhD thesis about the problematic of “emancipatory” participative art at the University of Helsinki. Since 1995, he has performed in various Live Art, theatre and TV productions both in Finland and abroad.
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