REPETITION/S: Performance and Philosophy in Ljubljana
REPETITION/S: Performance and Philosophy in Ljubljana

Call for Papers and Performances (now closed)

Repetition, as a pivotal concept in contemporary theory and aesthetic practice, announces a movement away from logics of representation. Where the concept of representation had once predominated in attempts to think and enact the world, Alenka Zupančič notes that with the arrival of Deleuze, the shift from previous modes of thought “takes the form of a straightforward conceptual war: repetition against representation” (2008: 149-150). This conceptual warfare has perhaps nowhere laid out its stakes more clearly than on the contemporary scene of artistic practices. Within the domains of the visual, sonic and performing arts and their theorisations, the tensions between repetition and representation map out a common ground of encounter. Contemporary investigations into this contested territory are increasingly challenging the very modalities and terms in which both art and philosophy are practiced, or performed.  

Invoking the concepts of both time and space as constitutive aspects, the problem of repetition raises topical questions of, on the one hand, processes of perception, (re)cognition, thought, memory, habit, and speech; and on the other, the dynamics of economic structures and historical processes. The notion of repetition also opens onto many other key questions being posed in and by contemporary philosophical and aesthetic practices: questions of the relations between body and thought, between the structure and the exception, between content and form. There is, moreover, no single or unified notion of repetition: rather, a number of divergent philosophical ontologies emerge, each taking the concept as its point of departure, and developing in dialogue with (amongst others) Hegelian and Marxist dialectics, Nietzsche's idea of the eternal return, the Kierkegaardian concept of repetition, the psychoanalytic theorisations of Freud (Wiederholungszwang) and Lacan (automatisme de répétition), Austin's linguistic performativity, Derridean iterability and différance, and Deleuzian repetition as the production of difference. 

Contemporary developments in the increasingly intertwined fields of philosophy and performance call for a renewed inquiry into the question of repetition. With its unique critique of ideology arising from a synthesis of German Idealism and Lacanian psychoanalysis, the Ljubljana School (Dolar, Zupančič, Žižek et al.) continues to furnish important theorisations of repetition and performance as they pertain to subjectivity and the political. One of the primary aims of REPETITION/S will be to investigate and develop the usefulness of the Ljubljana School’s theorisations for the emerging field of Performance Philosophy. The city is a major centre of both philosophical and artistic practice, with a specific strength in theater and performance. Scheduled to coincide with the City Museum of Ljubljana’s art & performance festival, the academic and artistic events constituting REPETITION/S will be co-hosted by the City Museum and the University of Ljubljana, with events taking place in a range of other venues across the city.  

We seek to host a polydisciplinary event bringing together a variety of scholars and artists. We encourage creative, engaged approaches to the event's terms of investigation. In addition to papers we particularly invite performative lectures, exercises of or experiments with repetition, workshops, cross-disciplinary panel discussions, new media presentations, and public interventions. We welcome propositions for 20-minute presentations, 60-minute 3-person panels, workshops or performances up to a maximum of 60 minutes. Please note that while the time-limit for performances is negotiable, REPETITION/S can provide only venue space and basic audio-visual equipment – artists are therefore encouraged to propose relatively self-reliant contributions in terms of resources. However, we welcome enquiries and are happy to discuss possibilities for presentation.  

Please send a 300-word abstract, including a title and a brief bio-bibliography, in either Word or PDF format to