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Title: Performing migratory identity : practice-as-research on displacement and (be)longing
Author: Davis, Natasha
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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Drawing on autobiographical material related to the author of this thesis, Natasha Davis, and using her own performance practice within relevant artistic and theoretical contexts, the thesis focuses on practice-as-research (PaR) as a means of exploring questions around the trauma of displacement due to migration. It investigates how the creative work of a performance artist, who uses body and memory as critical performance tools, reveals the logic of exilic subjectivity and materiality, as well as the political status of performance as a medium dealing with this complex theme. It does this in three distinct stages. First, it provides brief autobiographical and historical background to the civil war in former Yugoslavia (in the 1990s), which centrally informs the performance works analysed here. Second, it sets up an initial encounter with the reader, Encounter One, in which Davis’ trilogy of works Rupture, Asphyxia and Suspended is examined, making use of practice-based research findings to identify useful methodologies such as repetitive returns to the source of trauma, placing the body out of balance and fragmentary composition. Third, in Encounter Two, a brief overview is provided of current PaR theory as it pertains to the project in question. The thesis then applies these combined findings from the trilogy and PaR theory to the new intermedial PaR project Internal Terrains, which represents in live and documented form half of the thesis overall, to generate new discourses around the trauma of displacement and notions of home and belonging. Starting the investigation with objects rather than the body of the performer, Encounter Two pays attention to methodologies applied in previous research and sources new tools useful in illuminating displacement as rooted both in loss and liberation. At the same time it explores ways that PaR can be written about, which includes investigating how practice can perform on the page. Examining the original impact of the trauma of migration through to the ways traumatic pasts can be put to rest, the thesis argues that one of the ways the latter can be achieved is through repetitive and structured returns to the past and through recognising and embracing a state of being ‘out of balance’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater