Performance Studies International:

Fluid States: Performances of UnKnowing

The Performing Turtle Island Gathering in Regina is part of a series of globally dispersed conferences organized by Performance Studies International, all linked by the theme of Fluid States: Performances of UnKnowing.

With the PSi network, Performing Turtle Island will be an internationally linked and multi-platformed event that is simultaneously actual and virtual, local and globally disseminated, interactive and archived on a website. 

For more information on Performance Studies International’s Globally Dispersed Conference, please visit:

Performing Turtle Island's Globally Dispersed Connection

Performing Turtle Island's connection to Performance Studies International enables our Gathering to interact online with 15 other events across Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and the Pacific.

Significant forms of knowledge mobilization between events are embedded in the PSi network as:

  • 1) correspondents travel between events to report and reflect on events
  • 2) material knowledge vessels are passed on and added to from each event.

The Knowledge Vessel

Our event in Regina received the knowledge vessel from the preceding event in Tohoku, Japan:

And video from the Tohoku event is now online:

The Regina event will add its knowledge vessel, a piece of beadwork publicly created by participants of the Performing Turtle Island community, along with other fragments of our creativity. These vessels will then be carried by the travelling correspondent to the following event in Melbourne, Australia.

Here is the beginning of the bead rope that will be the centre piece of the Regina knowledge vessel:

Throughout the Performing Turtle Island Gathering, participants will add sections of bead work to the rope.  And please visit the photo and video galleries to see more records of the Regina event.

Trans-Montreal Link

As part of the Canada cluster, Performing Turtle Island will be linking our Friday afternoon panel on Improvisation and Indigeneity with the Trans-Montreal conference by teleconference.

Friday, Sept. 18, 1:30 - 2:30 pm   Roundtable: At the Edges of Water and Land: Improvisation and Indigeneity

Chair: Rebecca Caines; Moderator: Heather Igloliorte (in Montreal); Participants (in Regina): Rick Kotowich, Amanda Schenstead, Jo-Ann Episkenew, Erin Goodpipe, and Charity Marsh.

Improvisation is a creative and social practice requiring real time decision making, risk, collaboration, active listening, and the reconfiguration of ideas of failure/mistake into productive material. It appears in theatre, music, dance, visual art, new media, and many social situations. It has been utilized as a tool to build local histories and practices, make room for expressive and important voices and knowledges, and build ethical, careful, disruptive, creative communities at the edge of the solid and the fluid. This panel brings together researchers and artists working with improvisation as a methodology in Turtle Island collaborations. The panel will feature presentations on a number of collaborative music, theatre and interdisciplinary projects taking place in Saskatchewan in 2014-2015, including “Improvising with iPads” (Wascana Rehabilitation Centre Native Health Services, Music Therapy and University of Regina), “Acting Out, but in a Good Way” (Art and Health research by the Indigenous People's Health Research Centre); and the Interactive Media and Performance Labs (led Canada Research Chair Charity Marsh). A roundtable portion will allow us to examine where improvisation succeeds and where it fails, and if or when it might help us to navigate building new collaborative responses to the urgent questions that face our communities.

Renowned international performance scholar Petra Kuppers will act as respondent and guide a roundtable discussion following the short project presentations.

A live connection to McGill University will allow a Montreal audience to join us, moderated by Heather Igloliorte, renowned Inuk curator and art historian from the Nunatsiavut Territory of Labrador and an Assistant Professor of Aboriginal art history at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Performances of UnKnowing

The Performing Turtle Island Gathering uses the notion of [un]knowing to draw on local consideration in aligning our conference with a global network of dispersed conferences planned for 2015 under the rubric of Performance Studies International’s Conference, Fluid States: Performances of Unknowing, in which 15 communities worldwide, including Regina, have been strategically selected to investigate the fluxes, flows and currents that circulate around and in between fixed, stratified, and centralized cartographies of knowledge: conceptual spaces that are in-between and in-motion and that have the potential to problematize boundaries and remap the relations and limits of [un]knowing.

Connecting with these 15 locations, we ask:  How do we perform what we assume we know?

  • How do we respond to, and become responsible towards, the particularities of the local, cultural, historical, ideological, social and political conditions of ourselves in relationship to others?
  • In what way does the performance of identity question and shift, or confirm and standardize the elements, structure and operational modes of the knowledge system that we sometimes take as given?
  • In what way is the [un]known implied within the knowledge system?
  • Is what we [un]know conditioned by difference, specificity, complexity, locality and liminality?
  • Does how we [un]know enable us to move, as interlaced local and global communities, towards a place of balance and healthfulness?