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Title: Performing Kongwu's (空無, Emptiness, Nothingness) attitude towards language, time, and self : responding to Nam June Paik, John Cage, and Marina Abramović
Author: Ho, I-Lien
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 4976
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2014
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Since 1950s, the concept of Kongwu (空無, Emptiness, Nothingness) has migrated into American-European experimental performances, including those of John Cage and Cage-influenced artists who developed Happenings, Fluxus, and intermedia practices. This research-through-practice investigates how the concept of kongwu, an intercultural synthesis of Chinese Daoism and Indian Buddhism, may shape the principles underlying performance making and how performance may, in turn, elucidate Kongwu way of making sense the world. The installation-performance, Poem without Language contemplates Kongwu’s distrust of language by undermining the communicative purpose of writing and responds to Nam June Paik’s approach to media language. The research practice, One Street, Three Persons, Different Narratives, and Different Memories responds to John Cage’s use of silence to revise time and measurement, and exposes the habit, how we experience the ‘present’ as accumulations of the past, and how we order experiences as a linear continuity, which we call ‘time’. My performance, … is Present suggests different definitions of the ‘meditative mind’ and ‘being-here-and-now’ and critiques the relationship between embodiment and identity in Marina Abramović’s construction of ‘suchness’. Three works offer one response to the poetics and politics of intercultural encounters in the context of Chan/Zen in intermedia performance. My research-through-practice sheds light on Kongwu way of experiencing, particularly Kongwu’s attitude towards language, time, and self.
Supervisor: Kaye, Nick Sponsor: University of Exeter
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: John Cage ; Nam June Paik ; Marina Abramovic ; Chan/Zen ; Daoism ; Buddhism ; spirituality ; Kongwu ; emptiness ; nothingness ; Performance as Research ; ?? ; intercultural performance ; intermedia