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Title: Performing selves : distance and identification in the experimental performance work of Imitating the Dog (ITD), Desperate Optimists and Insomniac Productions
Author: Booth, Alice Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2688 0157
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis counters the common postmodern privileging of distance over identification within artistic practice. After Brecht, identification in the theatre has predominantly been imagined as a conservative operation that always aligns us with the status quo. These theories could be described in Eve Sedgwick's terms as 'paranoid' practices that necessarily detest the objects they investigate. At the same time, as Sedgwick maintains, they assume a position of absolute knowledge (2003, p. 138). In other words, paranoid practices implicitly claim to reveal or expose underlying formations of brutality. I argue instead that itd's practice is not intent on denying identification, but rather holds distance and identification together. Our work recognises that identification is a necessary subjective practice, whilst also asking what is at stake in our specific investments and identifications. I maintain that itd's work gets close to its objects: it caresses their forms with love. At the same time, it always negotiates the place of distance, yet without disgust and without definite knowledge. Distance, in this thesis, is a place of engagement and contemplation: even of provisional judgement. Concomitantly, I argue that these very investments sustain us, give us a place to be in the world, whilst being the most productive form of giving and understanding.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available