Notes: Lecture 1 – Introduction – The Body in Performance

Delivery Date: 16.09.2019 | lecturer: Dr. Pavlos Kontouriotis

“Performance must be constructed as a ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘continuum’ of human action” – Richard Schechner

Biology —> need to stay alive —> if I stand out —> danger

challenge: be able to transgress and stay alive

About pain: it is cultural. Our interpretations of the signals sent to our brains by the nervous system are culturaly constructed

biology / nature / bodies

Human bodies are socially constructed

The body is the receiver of all the information

Foucault —–> disciplinarian authority: industrialization —–> modernity —–> discovery of the body as useful object

The body is only useful if it becomes productive —-> aim of disciplinarian authority

assujetissemant: subjetification (become subject, able to live within a specific system) <——> subjugated

The more skills you aquire to live in a specific culture, the more you are subjugated by disciplinarian authority. Paradox: the more the body is trained, the more able it is to live in society, the more power it has and, simultaneously, the less power it has. This process happens without violence.

“Discipline and Punish” – Foucault (Panopticon)

Understanding the body as a machine —–> from the 16th century “anatometaphisical” understanding of the body —-> it it is a machine, it can be used

Behind the institutions there are the technicians — technical matters are also political matters

The need for methods for training the body to become productive. Methods to control “the machine” —– if it is trained, it can be perfected and become docile, obedient, and therefore useful.

explicit example: the small shoes that shape women’s feet in Asia

micropolitics – control small areas of the body

The disciplinarian authority does not belong to a specific institution.

Zizek —-> “The Big Other” — it can never be grasped

Body in Performance: “what does the body do?” (both performer and audience)

representation / non representation

works seen and discussed:

“The Origin of the World” (2014) by Deborah de Roberts – the performer displays her vulva in front of 1866 Courbet’s painting in the museum. Guerrilla performance. The audience is bonding with the performer against authority.

The remake of the scene of the falling wall byt Burt Lancaster. The remake is by Steve Mac Queen and it presents a black body.