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At PULSE we focus on expanded scenography (McKinney and Palmer 2017) as a lens for understanding interdisciplinary performance creation practices and performance design ecologies.  Our current research and creation activities are focused on methods, ethics, and critical frameworks for crafting immersive aesthetics that produce site-specific  mixed reality experiences with 3D visualization technologies. For the next three years the research team at PULSE will build upon 'this space is for you/ cet espace est pour toi', and experiment with the capacity  3D technologies (AR/VR/XR/MR) have to mediate experiences of place and redress overlooked spatial injustices in the built environment.  This research is located at the intersections of performance, theatre, and atmospheric studies, queer phenomenology (Ahmed 2006), pluriversal scenographic design practices (Escobar 2020; Hann 2024), and feminist technoscience studies (Possible Bodies 2022). 


Inspired in part by Helen V. Pritchard's notion of ‘glimmering deviations’ (2022) PULSE takes up a study on queer disorientation (Ahmed 2006) and the capacity for technologies of capture to reveal a more tender relationship with atmospherics of place.  Research and creation activities will include hosting micro residencies and workshops to  consider how might “turning towards a queer ethics of clumsiness for volumetrics” (Volumetric Regimes 2022,) open new dramaturgical pathways that allow performance makers/ designers to develop a collaborative, ethical, performative, scenographic  and embodied approach to crafting intermedial performance experiences.  


A little bit of background. PULSE was founded in 2018, with support from a Concordia University Research Chair awarded to Dr Shauna Janssen, Associate Professor, Faculty of Fine Arts.  A salient question driving research and creation activities: what does it mean to say that urbanism is performative?  Initial research investigations focused on what critical frameworks the ‘performative’ could bring to urbanism, the spatial politics and narratives of urban change. This website hosts documentation of research and creation activities that took place between 2018 and 2023.

As an interdisciplinary research and creation platform, PULSE continues to engage with the study of multiple connections between theoretical concepts and practices of scenography and performance design), and the history of scenography, as manifested in the rapidly changing discourse on contemporary performance design practices, performance design pedagogy, and the field’s critical application to urbanism and the social life of cities.


In the early 2000s, the emerging field of Performance Design was ushered in by a discourse and experimental collaborations between theatre historians, performance theorists, interdisciplinary artist-researchers, architects and stage designers/ scenographers - first formulated through new academic programs in New Zealand and Denmark and articulated through a published anthology (Hannah and Harsløf 2008). At this time, performance design became a relatively new way of thinking about design for performance that transcends purpose built theatre spaces and architecture. While the emergence of performance design has become a field of study for examining an aesthetic shift in contemporary scenographic practices beyond the stage - which challenge some long-held principles of design for theatre and performance - there is still work to be done on the urban nature of scenography and its critical application to the city. The design or enactment of performative urbanism acknowledges this recent ‘scenographic turn’ (Brejzek 2015) in the performing arts – described as both “scenography expanded” (Aronson 2015; McKinney and Palmer 2017) and as a critical framework and expansion of practice into intermedia arts and place-based urban experiences.

The PULSE research-creation team acknowledges that we are located on the unceded Indigenous lands of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal which is historically known as a gathering place of creativity, community, storytelling and culture for First Nations and Indigenous communities including but not limited to the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Huron/Wendat, Abenaki, and Anishinaabeg (Algonquin). PULSE acknowledges and honours The Kanien’kehá:ka Nation’s relationship and status as First Peoples on the lands and waters of the Island of Montreal and surrounding areas. We respect the past, present and future of Indigenous peoples in Montreal and we stand in solidarity with the Indigenous members of our community. 

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