Site-specific performance and the mechanics of becoming social

Fossey, Steve (2018) Site-specific performance and the mechanics of becoming social. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Site-specific performance and the mechanics of becoming social

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Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Item Status:Live Archive


This thesis offers a body of practice that includes video documentation of one to one performances, performance lectures, critical writings and first person reflective narratives that give new insights into the potential of site-specific performance art and social space. Key themes, questions and concerns across performance studies and the social sciences are explored through a practice as research trajectory. From performance studies Nick Kaye’s (2000) writing on site-specificity provides a point of departure for methods of making and writing about performance that I refer to as ‘mechanics’; the term mechanics is posited within a process of what is described in the thesis as ‘becoming social’ and articulates a sense of what social scientist Doreen Massey might describe as ‘throwntogetherness’ (Massey, 2005). Anthropologist Marc Augé’s (1995) concerns around the prevalence of non-place are challenged and interwoven with Massey’s optimistic calls for spatial rethinking to answer the key research question: how can becoming social be framed as a site-specific process when realised through particular performance mechanics? The thesis speaks broadly to this question whilst exploring subthemes, questions and concepts. The confessional potential of body language (Howells, 2011) is explored as personal histories are exchanged between strangers in an exploration of ‘autobiographical’ (Heddon, 2010) performance that encourages the materialisation of what psychologist Charles Fernyhough (2016) refers to as the voices within. Interrelationality, intimacy, proximity, place and social space are explored, with concepts of hosting, caretaking and hospitality mobilised in performance materials that are both positioned as experiments and research findings. These findings give new insights into performance art and offer a timely alternative way of becoming social that performs and practices space as a ‘simultaneity of stories-so-far’ (Massey, 2005: 9).

Keywords:Site-specific performance, Site-specific art, Social Spaces, interrelationality, becoming, place, Intimacy, proximity, Care, hospitality
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W800 Imaginative Writing
W Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts
ID Code:31242
Deposited On:09 Mar 2018 13:06

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