Vol. 23, No. 7: ‘On Ageing (& Beyond)’ (November 2018)
Issue Editors: Nanako Nakajima and Richard Gough
Proposal deadline: 14 January 2018
When people below 75 years of age are considered as junior citizens worldwide, the world will become rejuvenated and infantilized. What would you do if you found yourself surrounded by children as a result of a proliferation in infantilized citizens, which may perhaps even include you?
This issue welcomes creative ideas regarding ageing in the field of performing arts and at the level of discourse that considers ‘ageing’ as being performative. Through reflexive writing and artist pages this issue will evidence performance work that embraces age and ageing (made by or with ‘senior’ artists) and speculate on the future of ageing bodies and ageing minds (wisdom, experience, frailty and forgetfulness) within creative endeavour and fragile ecologies: it will illuminate alternative, private as well as global temporalities.
A consequence of ongoing medical advancement is that the proportion of elderly people has drastically increased in many societies, and ageing has become an issue of increasing concern. While the taboo of ageing still dominates in many European and American cultural contexts, the seniors are honourable in many Asian contexts. Japan, with 27 per cent of the population more than 65 years old, is especially facing this issue, in that reaching a higher age is historically celebrated and socially taxing in the society. While the seniority system is integrated into social discipline, the pension system puts pressure on national budgets and the younger family members frequently have to take the burden for the nursing of the aged.
Age itself is a changing and performative variable. The twenty-first century is rejuvenating the biological and physical age, along with the social age, which is culturally bound. Bio-technology has developed to such an extent that it is now possible to create a new post-human who has control over birth and death as well as the process of ageing. From the queer perspective, according to Judith Halberstam, the idea of adulthood and maturity is re-examined (In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender bodies, subcultural lives, New York: New York University Press, 2005, p. 2) in terms of temporalities, when one rethinks the conventional adult/youth binary in relation to an epistemology of youth. The manner of calculating age differs from place to place; for example, year calculation was replaced by birthday calculation and the Chinese calendar was replaced by the Gregorian calendar in the process of modernization in Asia. Then, what makes a body age in our globalized temporalities?
The discourse on ageing is also related to the past. While trauma and post-memory studies have developed to be intergenerational, collective memory loss is observed in the political chaos of the United States and in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Following the remapping of European countries due to the influx of refugees, Europe has become much younger in terms of the statistic median age because of younger immigrants. In fact, the colonial past, characterized by domination over younger countries, is not so far from modern anxiety inscribed in many ageing countries. Are we now looking at a rejuvenating future of the ageing society?
The 2017 official guideline by the Japan Geriatrics Society proposed that the age of a senior citizen should be raised from 65 to 75, because people aged from 65 to 74 are physically and mentally much younger than their counterparts were decades ago. While this guideline aims to support Japan’s super-ageing society for developing a vibrant future, it would also have influence in raising the applicable age of retirement as well as pension and health insurance, by suggesting the bio-political manner in which the concept of age is modifiable.
Age illuminates the human body as its own medium. Therefore, ageing affects dancers’ bodies in far more profound ways than any other kind of artist. Recent discussions on the topic include ageing in performance as an initiative by artists in postmodern dance and performance art who explore the new approach of creating art and still continue their artistic activities in light of performing bodies. Even though these artists are ageing, they continue to pursue art. Thus, how they preserve their ephemeral works in historical collections is a critical matter. Yvonne Rainer returned to dance after her stint in film making. Marina Abramović continues performing and questioning the manner of archiving and reconstructing performance art histories.
We welcome responses to this theme (from the young and the old), which may focus on the innovative, yet (50, 60 or 70-year life-long experienced) informed/wise practices of specific artists, through to provocations about future possibilities and technological developments (and further life extension). Potential topics include (but are not restricted to):
Proposals: 14 January 2018
First drafts: April 2018
Final drafts: June 2018
Publication: November 2018
All proposals, submissions and general enquiries should be sent direct to the PR office: email@example.com
Issue-related enquiries should be directed to the issue editors:
Nanako Nakajima (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Richard Gough (email@example.com)
General Guidelines for Submissions: