Sunday, January 20, 2008

lecture by Doran George.

The body is dead, long live the body: Dances of trauma, failure and incoherence as corporeal possibility rather than content.

We live in an historical moment where “the body” is a contested phenomenon. Our human form achieves intelligibility through becoming known as a social subject, a process through which the body is implicated in terms of power and the self evident materiality of the universal body is already lost. To talk about “the body,” in the contemporary moment, as a universally recognizable and fixed entity has lost it’s meaning. Theory has attempted to define and redefine the terms of power by which a body is signified…male, female, gay, straight, black, white, working class, middle class.
But these clumsy linguistic terms erase the specificity of corporeality even as they attempt to access it in its socially and politically inscribed location. They are overdetermined rather than discerning in their differentiation of our human form. So what does this mean for the dancer, the artist whose primary medium is this thing, which we once knew of as "the body"? In this lecture I’m going to set out some of the performance methodologies that I’ve engaged in to access the body differently, and also talk about how performance practice can re-invest corporeality with some agency in debate that often renders it a passive object of investigation.

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