20-01-2016 par FORMIS Barbara


The Laboratoire du Geste (Gesture Laboratory) and the team ESPAS within the Institute ACTE (Arts, Creations, Theories, Aesthetics), UMR 8218, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and CNRS.

The Laboratoire is directed by Barbara Formis (Lecturer in Philosophy) and Mélanie Perrier (Lecturer in Fine Arts and Choreographer). The research revolves around two axes. The first is the renewal and creation of analytic tools to address contemporary performative art forms. The second axis of research is the identification of new methods for finding forms of thought that consider performance not only as artistic genre but also as tool for scientific research. The Laboratoire uses performance as the primary modality of its activities, namely through working sessions that consist of somatic experiences that activate the body and its thinking, thereby deconstructing hermeneutical postures. The Laboratoire brings together artists, philosophers, PhD students, dancers, musicians, sociologists…

For the Second European Pragmatism Conference the Laboratoire has united a group of researchers and performers around a project of using pragmatism as a source for art. Participants worked directly from philosophical texts (notably those of John Dewey, C. S. Peirce and William James) when imagining and creating their own actions.

The result of this research is a series of actions divided into two types: redoings and creations. “Redoings” are freely inspired by works of certain performance artists who have been directly or indirectly influenced by pragmatist philosophers. “Creations” are actions performed specially for the evening and designed by the performers themselves. The aim of the event is to generate links between the public and the performers by mirroring pragmatist philosophy and performance art. .

The title PERFORMING LIVES is inspired by three works:

  1. the film « Lives of Performers » directed by Yvonne Rainer (choreographer) in 1972
  2. the essay « Performing Life » written by the artist Allan Kaprow in 1979
  3. and the book Performing Live. Aesthetic Alternatives for the Ends of Art written in 2000 by the philosopher Richard Shusterman, who is also a member of the Laboratoire’s Scientific Committee.

Dance, Happenings and Philosophy are the three main inspirations for this event.


Barbara Formis


Aurore Després & Mélanie Perrier

Scholarly Consultants:

Alexandra Bidet, Roberto Frega, Giovanni Maddalena, Mathias Girel & Neil Williams


Valérie Agneray, Vangelis Athanassopoulos, Florestan Boutin, Manuela Centrone,

Daniella De Moura, Aurore Després, Elia Dimopoulou,

Carole Douillard, Barbara Formis, Coline Joufflineau, Guillaume Chambenoit,

Christine Leroy, Davide Napoli, Mélanie Perrier, Sarah Roshem, Kahena Sanaâ, Benjamin Sabatier, Christophe Viart, Anatoli Vlassov.


For Carole Douillard’s piece : Helène Beilvaire, Fabien de Chavanes, Timothé Defives, Kevin Desbouis, Polina Dubchinskaya, Juliette Klervi, Hella Rass, Valentine Ridde, Solène Simon, Anna Ten.


Tomas Schmit, Zyclus for Water-Pails (1962)

Lygia Clark, Anthropophagic Slobber (1973)

Anna Halprin, The Lunch (1968)

Glenn Gould, Mozart’s Fugue K. 394 with vacuum cleaner (1974)

Anna Halprin, Blank Placard Happening (1967)

Steve Paxton, Walking Lives, from Satisfying Lover (1967)

IKHEA services, Slow Motion, (2010)

Allan Kaprow, Apples and Oranges, (1986)

Allan Kaprow, 18 happenings in 6 parts, (1959)


Florestan Boutin, Untitled, from « 2 pages, 122 words on Music and Dance » by John Cage

Carole Douillard, Revolution (2015)

Davide Napoli, Ghost Gestures (2015)

Sarah Roshem, To link (2015)

Benjamin Sabatier, Tracts (2015)

Anatoli Vlassov, Chairs Mots (2015)

Christophe Viart, Coup d’essai et tour de passe-passe (2015)

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