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Title: Regenerating the live : the archive as the genesis of a performance practice
Author: Dunne, Joseph
ISNI:       0000 0004 5372 3157
Awarding Body: University of Lincoln
Current Institution: University of Lincoln
Date of Award: 2015
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Live performance lacks the durability of art practices such as photography, film and painting, and so definitions of ‘live’ acts have traditionally been formulated in terms of ‘transience’ and ‘disappearance’. In this context the archive and archival documents are often described as the antithesis of performance’s ontology. An archive’s primary function is to preserve material for future, undetermined uses, whereas a live event is temporary and cannot endure as ‘itself’ outside of the temporal-spatial zone it unfolds in before an audience. Yet archival documents are intimately imbricated in the creation of live acts. This can be seen in all performance practices, from written plays in the dramatic theatre, to the assemblage of materials used in devised performance, to the ways sites are framed as sources of historical knowledge in performance reenactments. By examining the role documents play in performance practice I argue that archival materials have the potential to act as the genesis for live acts. The archive’s generative function makes performance a potential method of historical research, where documents can help engender an interactive reciprocity between spectators and the past. The archival mode of performance practice I advocate in this thesis requires spectators to become participants inside the performance sphere, just as historians participate in the writing of historical discourses in the archive. There are several practice-as-research components to my project. These include the Audience as Document events and two workshops. The primary practice-as-research event is a participatory site-specific performance Voices from the Village. The Olympic Village in Stratford, East London, is framed as a type of authoritative historical document that works as a meta-narrative of London’s past. The Olympic Legacy anchors the memories of East London’s residents to a time they are encouraged to re-live in their everyday lives. At the centre of contemporary urban regeneration projects is a firm conviction that the future can be built in the here-andnow. Participants are guided through the Village and by two tour guides who attempt to inculcate them into the Legacy Project – a new type of citizenry based upon the neoliberal hegemony. In the third part participants explore what would happen if the neighbouring Hackney Wick estate was ‘regenerated’ in the future. My practice 4 examines how documents in performance can act as interlocutors between a site’s past(s) and a participant’s ‘live’ experience. The enduring form of digital documents creates a manifold afterlife for performance on the Web, which is the home of an evolving network of people who connect to each other through their re-interpretation of the Olympic Legacy. I am arguing that the life of a performance does not end over a fixed duration, but is instead a dialogic process with a multitude of access points.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: W440 Theatre studies