Current open calls for submissions

Volume 24, Issue 6 - On Animism

Deadline: 19 November 2018


Issue Editors: Mischa Twitchin (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow)


If, as Isabelle Stengers suggests (2011), animism may be ‘reclaimed’, it has profound implications for an understanding of the relation between many different fields of research. On the one hand, questions of ‘animation’ have always been present in the arts, not least, as ‘performance’ has become a skeleton key for research across most art practices. On the other hand, in conceptual practices the sense of what it means – and to whom – for something to be ‘alive’ has been historically more controversial, especially in association with discourses supposed to legitimate colonial-modernity. While fundamental in the research of anthropology – from E. B. Tylor (1871) to Philippe Descola (2013 [2005]) – the thought of animism has also been widely referenced as a critical resource for re-conceiving colonial-modern matrices of power. Major thematic exhibitions (as curated, for instance, by Anselm Franke, and by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel), as well as developments in economic and ecological politics and theory, provide a renewed context for addressing animism in performance specifically. In what sense, for instance, could performance offer a poetics of animism?


Suspicious of the endlessly repeated claims of and for the new, the innovative, the progressive – all that echoes with the linear temporality of modernity (as if the future were not a question of care for the past) – how might the concerns of animism and performance, long-standing in aesthetics and anthropology, provoke us to rethink what is supposed of being in ‘the’ world, of relating not only to other ‘subjects’ but also to a changing sense of the attribution of subjectivity, or agency, that resists the anthropocentric? To re-invoke seemingly inescapable categories: What dynamics compose relations between subjects and objects, persons and things, memory and matter, where we increasingly experience our lack of understanding of reciprocity, responsibility and, indeed, of (non-anthropocentric) rights? How does performance offer a particular field of research for re-imagining what animism might mean, giving examples by which it might be conceived of without being reduced to the dualisms that have, historically, constructed this very concept? How does animism admit consideration of panpsychism or hylozoism? Or, from Aristotle to Agamben, of enargeia or potenza? How might suppositions of agency be limited or liberated by re-imagining performance in terms of animism? And, by contrast, how might the ‘internet of things’ change our sense of performance? Or the ever increasing automatism of media, our sense of animism? In what sense might the fascination of AI be haunted by ideas of animism?  The following suggestions for contributions are intended simply as provocations, identifying fields of tension through which to explore how each term – animism and performance – finds itself in question through the other when distinguishing a field of research. 


Animism/performance and the digital

Animism/performance and the environmental

Animism/performance and the political

Animism/performance and the fetishistic

Animism/performance and the semiotic

Animism/performance and the magical

Animism/performance and the ethical

Animism/performance and the metaphorical or literal

Animism/performance and the aesthetic

Animism/performance and the anthropological

Animism/performance and the architectural

Animism/performance and the haptic

Animism/performance and the economic

Animism/performance and the elemental

Animism/performance and the epistemological

Animism/performance and the geologic

Animism/performance and the forensic

Animism/performance and writing

Animism/performance and the de-colonial

Animism/performance and the syncretic


These examples are only indicative and we welcome any other suggestions. We invite essays (between 4,000 and 6,000 words), shorter interventions, manifestos, reviews and artist pages (the scope of which is to be agreed with the editors).



Descola, Philippe (2013 [2005]) Beyond Nature and Culture, tr. Janet Lloyd, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Stengers, Isabelle (2011) 'Reclaiming Animism', in Animism: Through the Looking Glass, eds. Anselm Franke and Sabine Folie, Vienna: Generali Foundation.

Tyler, Edward (1871) Primitive Culture, London: Murray.



Proposals: Monday 19 November 2018

First drafts: March 2018

Final drafts: May 2019

Publication: September 2019


Issue contacts:

All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to Performance Research at:


Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors:

Mischa Twitchin (Goldsmiths, University of London):

Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow):


General Guidelines for Submissions: 

•           Before submitting a proposal, we encourage you to visit our website ( and familiarize yourself with the journal.

•           Proposals will be accepted by email (Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format (RTF)). Proposals should not exceed one A4 side.

•           Please include your surname in the file name of the document you send.

•           Please include the issue title and issue number in the subject line of your email.

•           Submission of images and other visual material is welcome provided that all attachments do not exceed 5 MB, and there is a maximum of five images.

•           Submission of a proposal will be taken to imply that it presents original, unpublished work not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

•           If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to submit an article in first draft by the deadline indicated above. On the final acceptance of a completed article you will be asked to sign an author agreement in order for your work to be published in Performance Research.