Things, Assemblages, Worlds: Locating Vibrancy Beyond a Subject-Object Relationship (A Tale of Disposition)


  • Paul Couillard



"Things, Assemblages, Worlds" argues that the vibrancy of things is attributable not to an inherent quality within matter, but to the relationality of the perceptual field or world that things and bodies share. Reading Martin Heidegger's analytic of Dasein against Brian Massumi's description of things in their connectability allows for a revised description of how art sensitizes us to things through defamiliarization. Adina Bar-On's performance Disposition provides a useful example for uncovering art's ability to reveal things' character, their who-ness.

Author Biography

Paul Couillard

Paul Couillard is a queer performance artist, curator, and scholar based in Toronto/Tkaronto. He is a cofounder of FADO Performance Art Centre and the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, and the editor of the book series Canadian Performance Art Legends. He has created more than 300 solo and collaborative performance works in 26 countries, often working with his partner Ed Johnson. His current research is focused on the role of gesture in the transmission and conservation of performance art practices. He is the recipient of the 2022 Joan Yvonne Lowndes Award for curatorial writing.


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Bar-On, Adina. Disposition. 2002, Toronto. Photo: Miklos Legrady.

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How to Cite

Couillard, P. (2023). Things, Assemblages, Worlds: Locating Vibrancy Beyond a Subject-Object Relationship (A Tale of Disposition). Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 14(2), 101–126.