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A tradition of convening thought leaders since 1953

McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

Faculty Colloquium: "Going Viral" at the End of the Anthropocene

Friday, November 12, 2021 | 1:00 PM

Hurst Lounge

"This talk draws from the epilogue to my new book, Performance and Modernity: Enacting Change on the Globalizing Stage (Cambridge University Press, 2021). In it, I extend the implications of the book’s historical argument to our own moment, using its core methodology to consider digital performance in the 21st century. As the book demonstrates, performance is more than just a medium through which other art forms find expression. Rather, it is a medium in its own right, giving shape to new ideas that assume an embodied gestalt before entering into consciousness and language.

Where the book’s previous five chapters map historical styles of stage performance against the economic, industrial, political, social, and psychological changes of modernity, the epilogue examines the current shift from human to animatronic performers in film and networked media with the introduction of the computer. Concluding with a meditation on the contemporary ambition to “go viral,” it suggests that in the pixelated form of computer-generated imaging is an emerging concept of self for the twenty-first century. Inscribed in this new performance form, I suggest, is yet more evidence for the ways we seek to comprehend and adapt to changes in our ever-modernizing world." -Professor Julia A. Walker

Please note that for all in-person events, attendees must adhere to Washington University’s public health requirements, including the latest events and meetings protocol. Guests will be required to show a successful self-screening result and wear a mask at all times.

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Lectures & Presentations


Arts & Sciences


Humanities & Society



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Please join us for this in-person colloquium in Hurst Lounge.
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