CFP: In and Outside the Archive: Evidencing Spatial Performance, Performing Spatial Evidence (SAH Session at CAA 2022)

The following is the call for participation for the SAH session "In and Outside the Archive: Evidencing Spatial Performance, Performing Spatial Evidence," which will be presented in-person at the CAA 2022 Annual Conference in Chicago, February 16–19.

This panel seeks papers that examine historical performances, situated sonic practices or events, which were conceived, designed, executed and experienced as spatial works that unfolded in time. Tracing performative or audiovisual residues of past events poses challenges to those who study in the present ephemeral architectural objects/practices which were once ‘live’. E.g. whilst live sound, lighting, staging, voiced etc. elements can be performed at an architectural scale, knowledge about them is often not generated from spatial plans, but from written manuscripts, inventories, program-scores, or using tools that, in themselves, provide limited information about the spatial effects they produced. This compels alternative frameworks for historical interpretation that account for their performative and spatial situatedness.

We seek researchers who work at intersections between architecture, music, sound, performance and theatre, and their history, theory and design. We are interested in global and non-western approaches to performance, event, time and spatiality. Practice-led modes of spatial and historical research are welcome.

We are keen to engage with practical questions of retrieving and reconstructing spatial evidence. This might include how researchers approach the real-time qualities of performance and their own working methods, but also the physical building, landscape or space in which that event took place: how it unfolded over time, the occupation of space by performers and users/audience.

This prompts questions about the nature of archives; of their possibilities and limitations. What evidence exists for the different dimensions of a past spatial event? Is this different for different periods and their practices of architectural history?

Field of Study:
Field: Architectural History 
Media: Interdisciplinary 
performance and theatre studies 
sound studies 

Sophie Read, University College London - and Ruth Elizabeth Bernatek, Oxford University -

CAA will deliver an expanded conference that will include in-person live sessions; Chicago, February 16-19, and virtual live Zoom sessions; March 3-5.

The deadline to submit your presentation proposal is September 16.


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
1365 N. Astor Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610