matralab explore : Joel Mason


February 17, 2016


Taking the anti-racist theory of transpersonal Whiteness out of theory-land and changing it for use in the commons through an assemblage of creative practices.
To communicate theory by means other than the words of academic discourse. To clean out the hegemony of words as the sole markers constitutive of thought. To begin again. To research-create. To make a (platform for) performance that can do the work of a cocoon: transfiguration. My test case: an emerging anti-racist theory of transpersonal Whiteness. My platform practices: music, circus, theatre, prose, performance art. My discursive practices: affect theory, process philosophy, and critical race theory.
How to tend the process of such a large endeavour when the scope/size/form of the project is just as much a subject of the research as the “content”? How to tend the coming together of multiple mediums of creation? And how then to experiment with such an assemblage in a way that opens the technicity of practices and discourses onto one another, an event where both are changed? How to do all this specifically with the theory of transpersonal Whiteness? I have been experimenting, reading, and performing around these questions for many years. Now the project has intensified in this PhD (began in September 2014) and I find I have questions and struggles, as well as signs of progress. I would be honored to share the current state of my research with you and receive any feedback, ideas, or criticism you may have. It’s been a wild ride already; I suspect it will only get hairier.
Joel E. Mason
Amateur circus maker, professional guitarist/pianist/vocalist in The Mighty River (Acre Alley Records), PhD student at Concordia University in affect studies, music composition, critical race theory, and performance philosophy. Works with composer and inter-art researcher Sandeep Bhagwati, playwright and circus-scholar Patrick Leroux, and Affect philosopher and performance artist Erin Manning. A poet and prose writer on whiteness/blackness, the politics of sound, living as non-performance performance, and the invention of pedagogical techniques. From November 2014 to January 2016, presented papers, performances, and collaborative thinking events in Australia, Belgium, Berlin, Brno, Boston, Montreal, and New York City. Currently co-editing the forthcoming issue of the peer-reviewed philosophy publication Inflexions: A Journal for Research Creation.