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Theatricality of the Body

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Abstract
The objective of this article is to envisage the body in relation to the redefined notion of theatricality in terms of representation, understood to be discursively constructed within a particular geo-political, cultural and economic context. Such a performative practice of representing articulates through various forms of visual and performing arts and everyday actions. And, it is the moment of confrontation of the spectator with the performed representation that renders a moment of theatricality. Accordingly, theatricality manifests through tension or drama that challenges sedimented spectatorial codes: the ways spectators understand objects and forms of identity that are performed. To perceive the body within the context of a dramatic structure of theatricality means to challenge prevailing theories that eliminate the moment of drama between the spectator and the performance. To justify this thesis, I take Erika Fischer-Lichte's theory of the body as a point of departure. I will acknowledge that ‘[t]he physical articulations which are seen, heard, smelled, or sensed by other spectators or actors [...] generate perceptible behaviour patterns and actions’ (Fischer-Lichte 2008: 153). However, I will criticise the possibility of conceptualising perceptible in terms of the 'sheer presence of the body or materiality' that Fischer-Lichte's theory proposes by introducing the notion of oscillation. A critical view on oscillation is the return of drama in performance studies. Once every performance is conceived in relation to drama, we can not fail to recognise that the body is discursively constructed through the performative practice of representing and, consequently, that it provides a dramatic moment of theatricality in relation to the spectator: it employs the spectator's physical and cognitive abilities to envisage different realities and contest dominant politics. Moving beyond the prevailing post-dramatic and post-representational approach to performance studies, this article will conceive of the body rather than in terms of sheer presence of materiality, in terms of representation constructed at the point of intersection of materiality and semiocity. Abandoning the illusion of sheer presence, it will be claimed that 'the physical articulations which are seen, heard, smelled, or sensed' are always already constructed, discursively performed within a particular geo-political context. As such, they mobilise affects among spectators and provide the moment of drama between the spectator and the performance. A view on theatricality in performative terms of drama, redefines the notion of theatricality as a principle that drives ongoing social and political processes.
Keywords
EU, ethics, dance, art, politics, philosophy

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Petrovic Lotina, Goran. 2019. “Theatricality of the Body.” Performance Research .
APA
Petrovic Lotina, G. (2019). Theatricality of the Body. Performance Research .
Vancouver
1.
Petrovic Lotina G. Theatricality of the Body. Performance Research . 2019;
MLA
Petrovic Lotina, Goran. “Theatricality of the Body.” Performance Research (2019): n. pag. Print.
@article{5952064,
  abstract     = {The objective of this article is to envisage the body in relation to the redefined notion of theatricality in terms of representation, understood to be discursively constructed within a particular geo-political, cultural and economic context. Such a performative practice of representing articulates through various forms of visual and performing arts and everyday actions. And, it is the moment of confrontation of the spectator with the performed representation that renders a moment of theatricality. Accordingly, theatricality manifests through tension or drama that challenges sedimented spectatorial codes: the ways spectators understand objects and forms of identity that are performed. To perceive the body within the context of a dramatic structure of theatricality means to challenge prevailing theories that eliminate the moment of drama between the spectator and the performance. To justify this thesis, I take Erika Fischer-Lichte's theory of the body as a point of departure. I will acknowledge that ‘[t]he physical articulations which are seen, heard, smelled, or sensed by other spectators or actors [...] generate perceptible behaviour patterns and actions’ (Fischer-Lichte 2008: 153). However, I will criticise the possibility of conceptualising perceptible in terms of the 'sheer presence of the body or materiality' that Fischer-Lichte's theory proposes by introducing the notion of oscillation. A critical view on oscillation is the return of drama in performance studies. Once every performance is conceived in relation to drama, we can not fail to recognise that the body is discursively constructed through the performative practice of representing and, consequently, that it provides a dramatic moment of theatricality in relation to the spectator: it employs the spectator's physical and cognitive abilities to envisage different realities and contest dominant politics. 
      Moving beyond  the prevailing post-dramatic and post-representational approach to performance studies, this article will conceive of the body rather than in terms of sheer presence of materiality, in terms of representation constructed at the point of intersection of materiality and semiocity. Abandoning the illusion of sheer presence, it will be claimed that 'the physical articulations which are seen, heard, smelled, or sensed' are always already constructed, discursively performed within a particular geo-political context. As such, they mobilise affects among spectators and provide the moment of drama between the spectator and the performance. A view on theatricality in performative terms of drama, redefines the notion of theatricality as a principle that drives ongoing social and political processes.
},
  author       = {Petrovic Lotina, Goran},
  journal      = {Performance Research },
  keywords     = {EU,ethics,dance,art,politics,philosophy},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Theatricality of the Body},
  year         = {2019},
}