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Between presence and absence: The pleasures and disciplines of a journey through performance

Robinson, Andrew (2000) Between presence and absence: The pleasures and disciplines of a journey through performance. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

This thesis is an exploration of a series of related elements that combine to form a personal ‘journey’ through performance. The aim of this exploration is to show, through a detailed examination of one journey (in relation to a broader reading of performance theory and practice) how interaction with the various ‘pleasures’ and ‘disciplines’ of performance constructs a subjective awareness that, in turn, forms the basis for a ‘recreation’ of performance. This ‘re-creation’ is shaped by the role that individuals play within the field of performance at any given time, ie: performer, director, audience, critic, theorist; as well as by their individual (material, embodied) specificity.

In order to show how this subjective positioning works as a positive force in the construction of performance(s) I have used my own subjective awareness as a constant point of reference throughout the process of research and representation that makes up this thesis. This reference to a subjective view point is justified through a philosophical argument that ‘objectivity’ is based on a manipulation of social and political structures designed to assign greater power to one perspective over another. This is not to say that one position, or practice, may not have a greater efficacy or importance, depending on the given context, but that the choices that are undertaken to arrive at a particular position can be seen to be shaped by an individual’s acceptance of particular ‘disciplines’ and ‘pleasures’ rather than by intrinsic value(s).

Throughout the thesis reference is made to a wide range of practitioners, from academic, theoretical, and performative backgrounds, as well as to my own practical performance work. Some of the major points of reference include: the writings of Zeami, Deleuze and Guattari, Antonin Artaud, Peggy Phelan, Herbert Blau, Diderot, Heidegger; as well as the performance practice of Cristina Castrillo, Zygmunt Molik, and Enrique Pardo. A great deal of my own performance work has been undertaken in collaboration with other practitioners and could not have been realised without the combination of their talents and energies. I have attempted to make sure, when presenting accounts of this work, that what I am relating is clearly my own interpretation of events and experiences.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: repository@murdoch.edu.au. Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Moody, David
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/52822
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