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Beyond the architecture of sensing: An investigation of the role and function of the observer in a staged performance, with particular reference to the Indian aesthetic theory of Rasa, and its effect on what we mean by conciousness

Krishnan, Sarasa (2015) Beyond the architecture of sensing: An investigation of the role and function of the observer in a staged performance, with particular reference to the Indian aesthetic theory of Rasa, and its effect on what we mean by conciousness. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Sage Bharata’s ancient Indian aesthetic theory of “Rasa” has for many years been the subject of research and intercultural exploration in global theatre and performance studies. While this dissertation focuses on the role of observer in performance, it more importantly explores the larger notion of consciousness. Illuminated by “Rasa” theory, this research sifts through the understanding of broader philosophical, spiritual and aesthetic issues that are so often not cohesively examined within the context of performance studies. European and Asian philosophies are linked to once again examine consciousness in our human existence in the physical universe. Ancient Indian aesthetics and modern scientific theories, and their understanding of sound and visual perception are scrutinised to help in understanding the nature of performance, experience and consciousness. The ‘Rasa’ theory that stems from Bharata’s thesis, The NatyaShastra, a compendium on theatre, performance and technique, pivots upon both a spiritual and an aesthetic axis. In this dissertation, the observer/the self is taken through a journey around this axis. I will align the aspect of ‘Self’ as the observer within consciousness, with the observing principle of Quantum theory and a discussion of the theatre spectator, as catalysts in creating transformation. Elucidated by global theories of phenomenology and philosophies, both ancient and contemporary, and cultured through the insights of theoretical physics, coherence is established. The lived artistic experience of ‘the dancer Sarasa’ and ‘the visual artist Sarasa’, the mutual interplay of this expression of experience, from the physical to psychical states is explored; the dancer through her movement in space aligns with the artist whose movement is captured on canvas. This experience of expression is beyond the architecture of ‘sensing’. It communicates to the observing entity, an integral vision from that ‘Self-space’, that transcends space, time and locality. This communication is ‘Rasa’. The spiritual, the aesthetic and theatrical significance converge. Philosophies are surpassed. Consciousness is transformed. The work is done.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Supervisor: Moody, David and Tampalini, Serge
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/30504
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