After looking at the ways in which experiential participatory theatre opens up the potential for transformative moments of performance, I became interested in two things: first the language we use to talk about the transformative in performance and second, the way processes of transformation actually work and how the experiences we are able to generate in an artistic context map on to wider personal and sociopolitical change. This talk will discuss the practice based research I have been working on with choreographer Medie Megas over the past year and a half, which explores this on a formal level, through textual and movement based experiments with repetition and transformation. In our work we refer to these contrasting experiences of transformation as closed or open systems where the closed system of transformation moves between two well defined points and the open begins from a fixed point and works outwards from it. This model acts as a frame for the practical research tasks and processes during the research phase and more recently, the creative approach to improvisation and devising we have taken in making Transforming Me: a Bilingual Solo, Medie’s solo performance at the Mir Festival in November. In terms of theoretical framing, the practice we have done brings into question the focus in performance research on the notion of the transformative as a bounded moment. I draw on Griselda Pollock and Bracha Ettinger in this presentation to explore how the sharing of intense emotional experience, an ‘encounter’ within a liminal space can open up an enduring experience of trans-subjective transformation and how stasis, duration, repetition and latency form a part of that.
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