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UNRULY : HYSTERIA 6.10.2018 1-2pm

Panel discussion with AHC, Moderated by Johanna Braun

Tiger Strikes Asteroid

1206 Maple Avenue, #523 Los Angeles (Bendix building)

While in Europe around 1900, the hysterical girl was a well-studied object in arts and sciences, she re-appeared, a hundred years later, in public discourses in the United States, framing women in protest, and resistance to political and societal discrimination as “hysterical,” “nasty,” “possessed,” or “monstrous.”

The female hysteric, in these current narratives, references strikingly established representations of the “hysteric” as a (public) performer, that extends well beyond the European studies of the nineteenth century. For example, although the medical term, Hysteria, was struck from the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1994, it simultaneously reappeared as Histrionic Personality Disorder (Latin: histrio, actor/actress). This rebranding further underlines the point of this investigation; the “hysteric” is diagnosed as “performer.” Given this reintroduction, one may assume that the self-reflective media figure of the hysteric will continue to gain ground in its cultural impact.

This panel discussion seeks to open a space of discussion surrounding protest as liberating performance and the multifaceted discourse strands surrounding the figure of the “hysteric” as “agent of change” and “communicator of social justice.” The Association of Hysteric Curators is invited to talk about how various concepts of hysteria are entangled within their performance and curatorial practice. In addition, they will present a curated performance festival and accompanying exhibition, Unruly, in November 2018. Interested participants are invited and warmly encouraged to join the discussion and find out more about the festival and submission process.

This panel discussion is part of Johanna Braun’s ongoing research project, “The Hysteric as Conceptual Operator,” at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Vienna, and is supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): [J 4164-G24].


Unruly, a performance art event will utilize the hysterical state to examine different feminist takes on agency, during a time of overt and systematic oppression in the United States of women, immigrants, and people of color.

Unruly will attempt to harness repressed feminist anger to promote a revolutionary force through praxis. The Association of Hysteric Curators feels strongly that our current political environment has left us no choice, but to actively perform resistance exercises, channeling hysterical force, to shed the dead weight of misogyny in the Trump era. This event provides a platform for feminists to examine anger through creative action, in a variety of performances uniting feminist communities during the festival. The Association of Hysteric Curators is soliciting performance art proposals for the festival, from self-identifying feminists, who represent the variety of ways people today identify as feminist. We are interested in providing a platform for feminists of every creed and background, including but not limited to: trans-women, women of color, queer women, male allies, children and grandmothers.


Johanna Braun is an Austrian artist, curator, and cultural scientist, currently based in Los Angeles. Braun holds an MFA (2004–2008) and PhD (2012–2015) from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria, and has participated in numerous exhibitions, residencies and projects nationally and abroad. This event is part of Braun’s ongoing postdoctoral research project, The Hysteric as Conceptual Operator, conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (2018–2019) and the University of Vienna (2019) and is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): [J 4164-G24].

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