Bodies without bodies

Book chapter

Melrose, S. 2006. Bodies without bodies. in: Broadhurst, S. and Machon, J. (ed.) Performance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity Basingstoke Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1-12
Chapter titleBodies without bodies
AuthorsMelrose, S.

This chapter, which opens the collection of writing, asks how the term 'body' came to play so important a role in Performance Studies texts in the past decade, not least because the term 'the body', a saturated metaphor, can be found across the history of philosophy, where, on the basis of the time of its writing, what the term is understood to mean varies significantly. In arguing that from a practitioner perspective there is 'no such thing' as 'the body' (the term equally anonymises and deprofessionalises the work of named expert practitioners), the chapter also argues that the term as it used in writing about digital approaches to performance is a nonsense: 'the body', in digital performance contexts, is a surface-specific spatial construct which requires a particular investment (or investments) of time, if a user is to experience bodiness. 'The body', in the digital context, is a matter of hypotyposis - akin to no more than a 'vivid sketch'; it operates a performative trigger (or triggers), requiring extensive input (of body-knowledges) by a user if it is to achieve bodiness in a performance-meaningful sense. The chapter suggests that it is time that we said so.

Research GroupDance group
Theatre Arts group
Page range1-12
Book titlePerformance and Technology: Practices of Virtual Embodiment and Interactivity
EditorsBroadhurst, S. and Machon, J.
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Place of publicationBasingstoke
Publication dates
Print13 Oct 2006
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Dec 2008
Output statusPublished
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