The Post-Apocalyptic Body Lens: An exploration of the perceptual re-imagination of the body through repetition
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It has been established that the artistic and compositional strategies used in performances stage a specific way of looking for the theatrical spectator (Bleeker 2011). Repetition is frequently seen in current performances and has been debated in recent academic articles as a powerful strategy impacting the spectator through its capacity to renew, reiterate and create space for re-thinking. This thesis explores the perceptual processes taking place in the particular case of repetition and proposes the conceptual lens of the post-apocalyptic body (PAB) as means to establish a specific vantage point onto extreme theatrical encounters in which the body physically renegotiates its boundaries. The PAB lens affords to see the employed strategies on stage in such performances as a way for the body to renew its state and potentiality through the alteration of the spectator’s perception. This makes the viewer a co-producer and, moreover, a co-imaginer of what the body could be beyond its state of limitations. Through analyzing the works of Pina Bausch and Jan Fabre, this thesis establishes the power of bodily repetition and exhaustion as a way to transgress the boundaries of corporeality and metamorphose the body image (Schilder 2013). While We Strive by Arno Schuitemaker and THE DOG DAYS ARE OVER by Jan Martens allow to explore the dramaturgical tool of repetition and to see how the PAB lens can be put to work. Using concepts from theatre, philosophy and narratology helped envisage new perspectives on the transformative processes the moving repeating body has on perception. The PAB allowed in this aspect to conceive the theatrical encounter as a metamorphosis of the image and potential of the body through the perceptual emancipation of the spectator and to expose the relevance and potency of repetition as artistic strategy.