Graduate Fine Arts

Posted March 14, 2018

Playing the Rules: A Performance Event Featuring MFA Students

Please join us for Playing the Rules, the first Incubation Series performance event next Thursday, March 22nd at Vox Populi, 8 - 10PM.

“Play,” as sociologist Roger Caillois explains, is a category of human activity between the real and fantastical. Although extraordinary, the temporal, social, and unstable field maintains boundaries that delimit its nature – free, separate, uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, and make-believe.

The artists in Playing the Rules—Danièle Dennis, Adrienne Hall, and James Allister Sprang—establish spoken and unspoken rules along Cailloisian lines that the audience follows according to conventions of theater and normative social interaction. But like all rules, these too are meant to be broken. Complicating the very nature of expectations for performance, identity, and social space, their ludic works query what it means to “perform” on a fundamental level. Etymologically derived from the Old French parfourmer, “to perform” intimates a process of carrying through to completion, much like the aims of play. But unlike the rules of other games, the underlying tensions functioning in these works remain unresolved even after their completion: performer and audience “play” the rules as much as they are directed and defined by them.

Playing the Rules is the first Incubation Series new media and performance event at Vox Populi, Philadelphia. It is curated by Jessica Hough, University of Pennsylvania, and Laurel McLaughlin, Bryn Mawr College.