Livegraphy performance art, language, and the multiplicity of sense
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This thesis is constructed in three parts. Each one of them offers a reflection on the common ideas disseminated about Live Art, conceptual dance and postdramatic theatre, i.e. that these practices reject the notion of mimesis as it is supposed to represent reality, they reject text in favour of a phenomenological language and they produce a form of non-sense which should be translated into meaning. Each of these statements will be problematized. I will argue that Live Art is producing mimesis even if it works against representation and although its actions are performed for real. It does not represent reality, but neither does it present the Real. It is producing a version of the "Real", which is the definition of mimesis. I will then argue that if these practices create a phenomenological language, it relies on a form of writing that is being produced live by the work. Finally, I will propose that the non-sense constructed by this writing process should not be forced into a meaning, but should be read as a fluid linguistics, which in some instances will be concretely a linguistics of fluids. By this I intend to point out that the meaning of the constructed non-sense will never be fixed nor unique. The work only becomes meaningful because it remains permeable to meanings. These three steps all participate in the "undoing of meaning"; relying on a process involving destruction within construction to then allow reconstruction. Mimesis, logos and sense need to be taken apart before these concepts can be thought anew. It is the rigidity of the conventional systems of apprehension which has to become permeable to allow a fluid multiplicity of meanings. In conclusion I will draw some parallels between performance art and feminism in their appropriation of the concept of mimesis and their approach to language outside the structure of logos and I will suggest that the performances which explore and expose these concepts adopt a feminist philosophical strategy. 1 I chose to use this spelling closer to the French spelling of “non-sens”, which does not have in French the colloquial use it has in English and is more directly related to the philosophical concept. The hyphenated word better translates the idea of a reverse image of the word “sense”.
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