• Playing with (my)self: Reconfiguring 21st century performance art as an emerging encounter amongst the becoming-stage, the becoming-actor, and the becoming-audience

Alexander, Cradeaux, 2023, Thesis, Playing with (my)self: Reconfiguring 21st century performance art as an emerging encounter amongst the becoming-stage, the becoming-actor, and the becoming-audience PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

“Playing with (my)Self: Reconfiguring 21st Century Performance Art as an Emerging Encounter amongst the Becoming-Stage, the Becoming-Actor, and the Becoming-Audience”

This practice-based PhD revolves around the stage, the actor, and the audiences as three primary locations where performance emerges via an encounter between those entities: the interplay between the stage, the performer, and the audience feeds back on itself to create the conditions with which it is possible for these encounters to generate emerging performance.

This PhD relocates the stage onto the surface and intensity of the performer; creates multiplicity within a single performer/space; and produces a new sense of aesthetics through techniques of improvisation, use of costume, props and constructed spaces, led by notions of becoming and immanence, as both object and action of performance itself. In the context of performance studies, theatre technique and theory are explored to contribute to new performance in its expanded field, including theatre, moving image, and live performance, and works through notions of archetype, humour, and staging to create several new works of art as research.

Theatre theorists and practitioners researched include Konstantin Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg, Anne Bogart and Tina Landau, Bertolt Brecht, Richard Foreman, and Tim Etchells.

The main contribution and intention of this PhD is to show how theatre theory and technique positively inform fine art performance practice,in that builds a new sense of self, in that the actor or performer becomes one part of many co-emergences amongst the stage, the actor, and the audience, and seeks to add knowledge in the field of performance studies by establishing a new condition for the stage as an encounter with the performer, who is positioned as a structure from which performance emanates, and includes practical research into the mechanics of acting including the work of Konstantin Stanislavsky along with Lee Strasberg’s ‘Method Acting’ technique, and examines the space between the audience and the performed event as a co-producers, with a particular emphasis on Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Alienation Effect’.

By putting myself in the role of actor in this research, I am examining how such a role can be decoupled from the actor in question, and how it can be totally linked within the co-emergent space of stage/actor/audience; in this way performers within performance can be viewed as one element among many within the constellation of performance-making.

This research situates itself among Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys’ moving image work; Diane Torr’s “Man For a Day” workshops; Andy Kaufman’s “Foreign Man” persona; Liz Magic Laser’s “I Feel Your Pain”; Marcus Coates’ shaman practice; Keren Citter’s moving image work; Mike Kelly’s musical “Day is Done”; Tino Seghal’s performance “These Associations”; Lindsay Seers’s photographic and installation practice; Ryan Trecartin’s video “Center Jenny”; Anna Deveare Smith’s verbatim theatre; and Cindy Sherman’s character-based photographic practice, among others. Bruce Nauman and Paul McCarthy, whose physical and conceptual spaces have been important points of departure researching sculpture as stage, and thresholds as they relate to perception and audience engagement are also examined. This research is also indebted to the performance practices of New York-based theatre artists Mabou Mines, Richard Foreman, and The Wooster Group, all of whom worked towards an aesthetics in theatre which bumped into the conceptual and practical space of performance art since the 1970s.

Important theoretical contributions include Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy; Sartre’s essay The Look, Bertolt Brecht’s A Short Organum for the Theatre and particularly the Alienation Effect; Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus; Deleuze’s essay One Less Manifesto; Strasberg’s A Dream of Passion with particular reference to Method Acting; Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares; Ranciere’s The Emancipated Spectator; Bogart and Landau’s Viewpoints; and Lyotard’s Libidinal Economy.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Uncontrolled Keywords: Art; Performance; Theatre; Becoming; Encounter
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2023 10:36
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2023 13:58
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5239
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